SAP Canada to work on Next Generation Human Resources

"It's an honour to be honest"

SAP Canada to work on Next Generation Human Resources

When SAP Canada was tapped by the federal government to update its pay system, Kevin Spencer,  Country Manager for SAP SuccessFactors, says the government calls it “next generation” for a reason.

“I think theyre look to not only fix the issues to get people paid on time and accurately but also provide the HR platform to move into the future,” he says, noting SAP will be looking to alleviate some of the well-publicized pay and HR issues the federal government has with its existing Phoenix Pay System.

“It’s an honour to be honest, to be put in this position to really help the federal government fix some of the issues and take it into the next generation — we are super excited to get to work.”

The Treasury Board Secretariat announced that it had selected SAP from a shortlist of three firms to work with the Government of Canada on a pilot to test a potential HR and pay solution against the real complexities of the governments HR and pay requirements.”

Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government, called the announcement “an important milestone towards building an efficient next generation solution” that better meets the diverse needs of federal employees across Canada.

Spencer says he feels good about the expertise and experience SAP has in the area of HR and pay around the world, and brought to the table over the lengthy selection process.

“We have a lot of clients already in Ottawa, and seven of the top ten cities in Canada are on our platform,” he says. “If you look at all of these cases we’ve been able to already deliver in the public sector in Canada and around the world, as well as looping in Accenture and Deloitte as key partners around the delivery of this — we make a really strong team.”

A series of “Next Gen” User Expos were held as part of the decision process where government workers were able to test some of the systems in the running, and gave feedback on the ease of use for common tasks such as downloading pay stubs, requesting vacation time or entering temporary pay changes.

Spencer — who notes SAP has been working with the federal government on this initiative and in other areas for some time now — says the opportunity is exciting, but also a great responsibility. He says the focus is primarily on the people and getting them paid properly.

“When you look at the human toll that the current pay system with the federal government is taking on the public servants — we’ve really just got to fix it. We want to get to work as quickly as possible and work through this with the proper sense of urgency.”

Since its roll-out in 2016, Phoenix Pay system has been plagued by payment issues. In 2018, the federal government announced it would work towards replacing the existing system and in 2019 named three companies — SAP, Ceridian and Workday — that would compete to replace it. In March of 2020, the government landed on SAP.

While the end-point details still need to be firmed up, Spencer expects more will become clear in the next little while. The government will be convening a meeting with SAP in the coming weeks “where they will start scoping out what’s next and the details of the first phase,” Spencer says, adding the government has been “a great partner” as well. He reports they’ve been “looking at us in a very measured, detailed fashion and we feel great about the process so far.”

“At the kick-off of this project almost two years ago, the goal was to make the federal government an employer of choice,” Spencer says, adding that obviously paying your people on time and accurately would be one of the foundational elements but “outside of that and into the future” there will also be weight placed on developing “a delightful experience for our public servants, increasing engagement, beautiful software and unified processes.”

“All these things are going to be delivered as part of this project — but first and foremost we’ve got to get the people paid right.”

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