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True e-hr - ìstill a pipe dreamî - 11/2001

HR departments dogged by administrative backlogs

Continued reliance on paper-based processing means that true e-HR is ìstill a pipe dreamî for the vast majority of HR departments, according to a new report from leading business process solutions providers, eiStream.

ìIn Search of the Digital Back Office: Is the UK Ready for the e-Economy?î reveals that, on average, only 15% of administrative processing in HR departments is done using entirely electronic systems, compared with twice as much (30%) in customer service and finance departments.

As a result of this under-investment in administrative technology, HR departments are more than twice as likely to be dogged by backlogs as other administratively intensive departments, and are commensurately much worse placed to operate ìat Internet speedî. The survey reveals that over half (52%) of the HR departments have an administrative backlog, compared with only a fifth of finance and customer service departments. Within local government, 63% of HR departments report backlogs.

eiStream, which rebranded from Eastman Software last month, surveyed 200 UK organisations with large-scale administrative operations. Pritesh Kotecha, director eiStream UK and Ireland, commented: ìe-HR may be the talk of the HR town but, judging from the results of this survey it seems it is still a pipe dream. HR departments are suffering from relative under-investment in the automation of their administrative processes. A recent survey by the Hay Group revealed that 93% of HR departments plan to web-enable their human resources, but true e-HR, just like true electronic commerce, cannot be achieved without back office automation.î

Only 17% of HR departments have installed imaging and workflow - the two core technologies required for automation of administrative processes and which, according to the survey, typically deliver time savings of 41%. By comparison, imaging and workflow are used in 25% of customer service and accounts departments.

There is, however, widespread recognition within HR departments of the benefits that automating their administrative processes would bring. 93% of those respondents whose departments are still using paper-based systems say that part or all of their work could be done electronically and all of them believe that the introduction of imaging and workflow technology would improve their departmentís efficiency.

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