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Four Seasons deploys Workday cloud HR for 42,000 staff

Matthew Finnegan | Oct. 20, 2015
Luxury hotel chain replaces 50 disparate HR software tools used worldwide

"Then as we started to drill down into Workday we started top realise that our 90-day and one-year turnover was quite a bit higher than what we had thought our average was - it was astonishingly high.

"By looking at Workday and being able to drill down into some of the reasons why people were leaving, with access to that real time information, we were able to flex some of our programmes to lower that voluntary turnover. And of course with that turnover comes an extreme cost. So the pay back for having the system was really beneficial."

Four Seasons: Data migration project

Speed of deployment of the cloud software was key to Four Seasons. But while the project was carried in less than a year, there were certain hurdles in replacing its legacy HR estate.

"The biggest challenge was that the data was in far worse shape than we thought," said Peterman.

"Having so many disparate systems and no true data standards, the migration of the data was quite challenging."

With the roll out of employee and manager self service, there was also a requirement to provide training to staff.

"We had to up-skill them in terms of understanding newer technologies. So the change management piece was fairly big, particularly since we have a very decentralised workforce and varying levels of computer skills," he said.

"That was a big challenge for us. But it wouldn't have been unique to Workday, it would have been a challenge with any system we would have implemented."

Four Seasons: Cloud strategy

The Workday rollout is part of a wider 'cloud-first' strategy in place at the hotel chain which is also being driven by CIO Marco Trecroce.

Although Trecroce had not arrived when the Workday project kicked off, the business had already been open to moving to the cloud.

"The cloud was still very new [when Workday was first implemented]," said Peterman. "It was somewhat of an easier sell [to the wider business] because nobody had formed an opinion of it yet.

"At that time we didn't have a CIO, but when our new CIO started as we were starting to sign the contract, he supported the cloud very heavily. This put everybody at ease that the cloud was the right way to go."

Going forward, the company plans to continue to move its on-premise applications into the public cloud, where relevant, with one example being the Four Seasons career website.

"Most of our systems are starting to move to the cloud - our email servers just moved to the cloud in the last year or two," he said.

"Then we have a variety of other systems that, as we purchase them, we always look at cloud first."

Source: Computerworld UK 


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