Designing for a Global Enterprise for 50,000 (or 5,000 or 500)

Designing for a Global Enterprise for 50,000 (or 5,000 or 500)Posted by Zahava Kahan on October 26, 2011

Today at Workday Rising 2011, I’m co-presenting with colleagues from Thomson Reuters and Workday about the global/local design for Thomson Reuters’ HR Transformation for 55,000 employees in 100 countries. We’ll cover the importance of thoughtful global design, the value of socialization, pitfalls to avoid and new leading practices. If your company happens to be contemplating or in the midst of a similar effort, I’d be happy to share the details of our presentation with you. But even if your efforts to implement new technologies or new ways of working are smaller in scale, many of the same practices and lessons apply. For example, creating (and living by) business process design principles:

Think globally first, locally as needed. Our team focused on keeping our designs global and then adding local (country) variations as needed. Even if your “world” encompasses one country or even one state, the same practice of standardizing on a universal process applies. So does the practice of allowing local variances only when driven by location-specific legal and regulatory requirements — not just to accommodate “business as usual” or because “it’s how we’ve always done things.”

Decide what you will and won’t tackle. To control scope creep, our team defined up front what the project would and would not address. For example, as part of business process design, we would define accountabilities to show which group handles what activities throughout the process. But any staffing changes that might be warranted from the new structure were outside the project’s scope.

Appoint champions. Having insiders who promote and support the change initiative is critical. Ideally, these people are:

  • Key influencers from each business unit or function who can help those impacted understand the project’s goals
  • Great communicators who can share information out and gather input to bring back to the project team
  • Knowledgeable about the company and well-connected to others in it

Remember the basics. Above all, our team kept in mind these essentials:

  • New ways of working don’t just happen. Collaboration and education are key to making change “stick.”
  • Everyone looks at change from their own perspective. People needed to know “What’s in it for me.”
  • The volume of decisions can be overwhelming. Establishing clear ownership up front is essential.

These practices helped our team’s Workday HR implementation succeed. What tips can you share that have worked for you?


Zahava Kahan Zahava Kahan is a senior manager in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice.Her consulting experience has primarily focused in the area of global Human Resources business design powered by technology, solution architecture and system implementations and service delivery.

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