NUHS uses SAP to optimise HR, improve employee experience

NUHS uses SAP to optimise HR, improve employee experience
Priscilla Teo, NUHS Group Chief HR Officer

First health cluster to implement full-suite cloud-based HR system.

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Singapore's National University Health System (NUHS) is using enterprise application software provider SAP’s solutions to optimise human resources (HR) operations and improve the employee experience, and engagement through a mobile-enabled HR system.

It is the first health cluster in the country to implement a full-suite cloud-based HR solution and this has helped usher in significant digital transformation for the organisation.

NUHS Group Chief HR Officer Priscilla Teo told iTnews Asia: “We implemented the cloud solution with mobile app capability to streamline a lot of HR business operations and eliminate manual processes. Our 15,000 employees, across seven institutions, can access the system wherever and whenever needed, significantly increasing accessibility and convenience.”

This has been a big time saver as opposed to having to work on an intranet, said Teo, who is credited as being the first female HR leader to drive people transformation within Singapore Public Healthcare by championing organisational excellence with tech acceleration.

The solution has also improved employee experience with more self-service functionalities such as employee data, declaration forms, work-related and medical claims, as well as learning and development modules.

Two legacy systems

Before using SAP, NUHS inherited two HR systems that lacked support to move staff across institutions for transactions, Teo said.

The tech team had struggled to fully optimise the system for HR reporting or analysis without compromising the healthcare environment's statutory, union and security requirements.

It has also faced challenges in internet separation at the office network level.

NUHS’s digital HR transformation journey began in 2017 with the first step involving the convergence of the legacy HR systems to create a more agile model to meet the needs of the digital workforce. It decided to pivot and move into a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution to build an HRIS (human resources information system) technology.

NUHS implemented the human experience management suite, SAP SuccessFactors, consisting of modules such as employee central, learning, performance, succession, recruitment, onboarding and compensation.

“This also involved implementation of complex business rules and custom metadata frameworks (MDFs) to achieve unique requirements like full-time to part-time conversion,” Teo said.

For specific healthcare requirements on medical benefits and claims, additional extension modules were developed on the SAP Business Technology Platform with seamless integration to SuccessFactors.

She said that NUHS implemented SAP Identity Authentication Services with two-factor authentication (2FA) for secure login.  

“We also collaborated with integrated health information systems (IHiS), Singapore to establish a seamless and secure architecture involving SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI), SAP Cloud Connector, SAP Web Dispatcher and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) to the SAP Payroll system and other third-party systems such as rostering system,” she added.

Teo said she had to work a bit more on integrating the new system with the existing on-premise SAP payroll engine for accurate payroll processing, as the new system did not have one.

Improved decision-making

She added that their single HR database has also improved the decision-making experience through comprehensive HR analytics features offered by the system.

“It also supported employee value proposition and talent attraction with the introduction of the digital candidate experience during the hiring process.”

She pointed to key advantages of allowing more convenience to employees through mobile apps that can allow users to submit, view and edit personal details, eliminating manual efforts and reducing paper wastage.

Speaking on the implementation challenges, Teo said it was an “expensive” project that required thoughtful budgeting and support from the IT helpdesk to roll out onsite clinics for transition.

“Implementation is a continuous journey and it takes months of effort thereafter to continue its success. We are currently running over 74,000 workflows.”

She recommended that healthcare firms take up such transformation opportunities in terms of alignment of practices across different institutions with a focus on RoI (return on investment) in the longer term. NUHS has deployed several SAP modules to date and is looking towards a manpower planning module soon.

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