The Power of HR Request: An interview with Steve Page

“Never underestimate the power of HR Request, Steve once said.” Who’s Steve? You might ask.

Well, we had previously shared a story about the work we did with SoftwareONE. Steve Page was part of that journey. So let us introduce Steve.

Steve Page is an HR professional that has 20+ years of experience with HR technology. Taleo, BrassRing, Oracle, Microsoft, SuccessFactors and Workday are just a few examples of the tools he has helped implement and has experience with through the years.

Recently, in his role as Global HCM Program & HR Digitalization Lead at SoftwareONE, he came in contact with FourVision’s Web App – HR Request. It left such an impression on him that he was willing to give us his thoughts about it in this interview. We can’t be thankful enough, so let’s get into it.

Can you give us a small introduction about yourself?

Sure! My name is Steve Page, I’m a Senior HR Director with 20+ years of experience. I started my career in recruitment and applicant tracking system (ATS) implementations. I’ve worked with tools such as Taleo, BrassRing and IBM Kenexa as well as various others like SAP SuccessFactors, Workday and some smaller, simplified, younger versions of Microsoft Dynamics and PeopleSoft when they first came out as well.

Personally, I started as a recruiter, then as a Change Manager, before I became an HR Director, but throughout my career I have always focused on digitalization in HR. I’ve been involved in technology implementations for over 20 years.

How did you get involved with FourVision?

When I joined SoftwareONE back in 2019. I was hired as their Global HRIS Program Lead and FourVision was already the selected partner to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 HR.

Not long after I joined, management saw an opportunity for me to get more involved with the wider needs of HR Digitalization. So, the project became more heavily involved with FourVision and the relationship grew from there.

FourVision’s Web App HR Request was not a part of SoftwareONE’s implementation project in the beginning. Right?

Correct. When the app was presented to us in 2020, we had already requested all the budgets requirements at the back end of the previous year, and because there was a licensing model around the HR request app, we had to request a new budget. We eventually got that authorized. But then the finance team came in with a question: if we just give authority to the HR team to make changes at will, do we need it? Our answer, regretfully I must say, was no. But in hindsight we did!

Why was that?

To be honest we just didn’t realize the value of it at that particular time and we didn’t realize what we would be missing at that time. Over the next year, virtually every data input problem we had would have been resolved by HR request.

How so?

I’ll give you an example: we launched D365 leave and absence functionality. Microsoft had purchased and embedded an app from FourVision, but had made it a little more complex. Therefore, instead of two clicks, it was ten clicks to get something done. Rather than looking in one place, you’d looked in three places just to collect the data.

It was nicer and more functional, but Leonardo da Vinci once said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, and if you are trying to expand something, make it more complicated, you are making it more difficult for people to accept it.

This is also what we found when we launched employee and manager self-service. The employees went in and used it once or twice, but the majority didn’t use it again. Then, the managers looked at it and said “I can’t work it out. Why can’t HR still do it?”

HR Request would have solved that problem because it just simplifies everything. Do you need to hire or fire someone? Do you need to give them an increase? Just click the button, it pulls the data through, you insert the conditions and then everything else is distributed. And it’s that piece, that simplicity that we underestimated. I think that when people saw it, the thought in their minds was “This is too simple to be valuable.”

People sometimes think they want a Ferrari when actually all they want to do is to go to the shops. HR Request simplifies the process and gives employees, managers and HR what they need.

Would you say that simplicity is the key feature of HR Request?

Yes, but not exclusively. I think the simplicity of it would, without a doubt, reduce data input errors, which from an HR perspective is essential.

It also creates speed of information flow from employees. It sits on the cloud or on their mobile phones. So, if they are going to make a change of address in there, it’s just a few clicks away. The process flow is organized in such a way that the right people get alerted. If you are moving Department or Division or something is changing about your contract, the employee can make an alert, if you set it up that way, or the manager can do it very simply.

So, depending on who opens up the app, you get the trigger with all the processes in it, and I think that’s the bit that I like about it so much. It has done all the thinking for you.

Don’t get me wrong, you have to do the groundwork of course. You have to program it properly, but even that’s pretty simple. The app does a lot of the heavy lifting for a lot of these HR systems. And then it just does it with ease! I simply, totally and utterly regret not including HR request in 2020. I think it would have saved us an enormous amount of time.

Do you think HR request is so powerful that it could be useful for bigger platforms you worked with?

We need to understand that those platforms are more mature. So on the basis of being more mature, they’ve already solved a lot of the problems that they perceived to be there. But again, they are always trying to offer something better. And what I found through all these years, is that better seems to mean more complicated to a lot of these platforms.

It should be more simplistic. If a manager wants to hire someone, they need to press a button that says ‘Hire’. If they need to terminate someone, they need to press a button that says ‘Terminate’. It’s that simple.

HR Request would be valuable in all the platforms that I have worked with because it distributes and pulls information through, but it also sends it to where you want it to go, not only into the system you’re working with, but also into IT or Administrative outlets.

You can do that on Workday or SuccessFactors, but it’s much harder to change the process because it’s integral to the entire system.

What HR request does is it lifts it above the system, you can make changes and drops it back in. It is so simplistic, tailored and disconnected from the main system, that you can just pull it out and put it back in as you need to. It’s basically ‘plug and play’ and it’s just beautiful.

We guess it is safe to say that you recommend it?

I’ve done a few references for FourVision and for Microsoft Dynamics on this and the one thing I have always said at the end of the conversation is: “if you decide to go for this system, you need to add HR Request”.

Trust me, I went through the “pain”. If I went back two years I would have implemented this from day one, because now I understand what it could have saved me in time and effort and in preparing the tool for rollout.

So this is my advice to people, “If you are going to implement Microsoft Dynamics, you need to get this app alongside with it, because it’s going to save time, money and solve so many problems for you”.

Alright Steve, thank you for taking the time! Any final notes?

I just want to make something clear: I have no interest in selling FourVision (laughs). I have a great relationship with you guys and we also had our clashes as any business relationship does at times. But I’ve looked at the market, I’ve looked at the competition, I’ve looked at other people producing this sort of stuff, and you can generate a similar sort of thing using things like Microsoft forms or flow but is just nowhere near as simple.

You can use this tool with a little bit of help, a little bit of knowledge, a little bit of awareness and someone within your HR team can manage it. Whereas with other tools you have to bring in experts and you start losing control of the process.

However, and this is probably one of the issues for selling it, it is so simple that I don’t think that companies like Workday, Oracle and even probably Microsoft look to implement it.

These software companies are looking for something that dances and people get easily impressed by that. Therefore, something as simple as HR Request is almost of no interest.

I’ll go back to the statement I made earlier, “Its simplicity goes against the grain of perceived value. It might be seen as too simple to be worth anything”. And it’s that bit I think a lot of these companies are stumbling against. They don’t realize that, actually, it’s the simplicity of it, the intuitiveness of it that we’re all screaming for.

It doesn’t need to sing and dance. It just needs to work.


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