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MetroPCS calls on ServiceNow to automate HR case management

The ServiceNow system helped MetroPCS fill a gap in its Workday human capital management software and move away from an insecure email-based process.

On his first day of work, a new employee is warmly greeted by an HR manager, signs all the necessary paperwork, gets shown to his desk, and...

There's no computer on it. Or, if there is, it doesn't have the right software for the employee to begin work. Sound familiar?

Situations like these used to plague cellular service provider MetroPCS before the company implemented software from ServiceNow to aid with HR case management.

"In IT, you have multiple areas you are required to set up to onboard a new employee, [and it's] now automated as opposed to people shuffling around tickets," said Nicole Tate, application delivery and support manager at MetroPCS. "So once the desktop equipment is delivered, the application team gets a ticket to install the software."

Our HR people were transaction processers and paperwork pushers as opposed to governance, policy and process experts.

Kevin Broadway, MetroPCS chief information officer

ServiceNow, a Software as a Service application, was first implemented in the IT department in January 2012, Tate said. HR was the first business unit to be brought onto the system three months later, and the platform is now used across the enterprise.

However, ServiceNow wasn't the automatic pick in the HR department. "We were up against potentially building a custom app in SharePoint, and those are expensive to develop, and the support model is a little challenging," Tate said. "So we directed [HR] over to ServiceNow because we felt we could better service them from rapid implementation to scalability of the features if we put them on the platform."

Since the system has been in use in the HR department, visibility in HR case management has vastly increased, among other benefits, Tate said.

HR case management capabilities not included in Workday HCM

MetroPCS' HR department first got a technology boost to move away from manual processes when the Richardson, Texas-based company implemented Workday's human capital management (HCM) software. "Our HR people were transaction processers and paperwork pushers as opposed to governance, policy and process experts," said Kevin Broadway, Metro PCS' chief information officer. "Workday was a transformational application for our HR function."

But despite its advantages, the system was lacking an important capability.

"One of the gaps we had with Workday was HR case management," Tate said. "So you have complaints [like], 'My benefits aren't correct' or 'My vacation time isn't showing up correctly.' Where does that all go?"

Instead of being handled in Workday, these requests were instead directed to a generic email account, which wasn't an ideal fix. "It wasn't secure; there wasn't a lot of transparency into who's working on [an issue] or when it got resolved, [and] there weren't defined metrics," Tate said. In addition, users would send multiple requests about the same issue if they didn't hear back, which caused confusion.

It took a month to launch HR on the ServiceNow platform -- two weeks of business process mapping and configuration, and two weeks of change management. While the implementation was smooth, Tate said some kinks had to be worked out after the system went live.

"I'd say the number one challenge for us was just defining what our process was," she said. "I think people made the assumption that everybody knew how to do incident management or HR ticketing, but that [wasn't] the case."

For instance, different people interpreted ticket statuses differently. While one person might put a ticket on hold because a user was not responding, another would do the same to signify she hadn't had a chance to work on it yet. This was remedied by putting together a policies and procedures guide, Tate said, which was a collaborative effort between IT and HR.

In the future, Tate said MetroPCS would like to integrate ServiceNow with Workday so the former system could automatically initiate action in the latter once a case has been resolved, such as a disciplinary measure or compensation adjustment. In addition, because MetroPCS was acquired by T-Mobile earlier this year, Tate said her team is also focused on bringing their new parent company onto the platform.

Automated HR case management boosts visibility, aids collaborative problem resolution

With the email account being a thing of the past, Tate and Broadway said several aspects of the HR case management process have improved. The lifecycle of each ticket is now much more visible, which reduces confusion about who's handling what, and when. ServiceNow also allows multiple people to be invited to help resolve a problem -- such as a representative from legal in the case of a sexual harassment complaint -- and creates a clearer document trail than a scattered collection of emails.

And the metrics HR users can track in the system are a far cry from the limited data that could be reaped from the email system.

"We created dashboards for our VP level, our management level and our individual contributor level, so they can start to see trends and get ahead of the game," Tate said. "This time of year is benefits time, [so] you can staff appropriately for when the barrage of benefits questions come in."

But as with any new system implementation, Broadway warned IT managers to be mindful about users' capacity for change.

"You can react faster than the business can absorb," he said. "You have to be conservative about the pace [you] set."

Emma Snider is the associate editor for SearchFinancialApplications. Follow her on Twitter @emmajs24 and the site @SearchFinApps.

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