BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
By deploying Oracle human capital management software, a medical group in Colorado expects to sharply reduce its use of paper and time spent on data entry, consolidate benefit programs, and save $20,000 a year by automating part of payroll oversight.
The Colorado Permanente Medical Group's 1,100 physicians and estimated 120 non-physician administrators are all using the Oracle HCM Cloud human capital management software, said Jessica March, the HRIS manager for the group.
In September, the medical group went live on the human capital management software with core HR, benefits and employee and manager self-service, after about a five-month implementation. Recruitment was activated in December.
Payroll, time and labor, absence management, learning management, compensation and talent review are scheduled for the end of June, further cutting the paper flow.
"We've really reduced our paper processes and the time spent doing data entry," said March, who led a presentation on the medical group's Oracle system during Oracle HCM World outside Washington, D.C. "Our new hires and applicants are now responsible for doing their own data entry. Prior, we never had an external portal for our applicants, so recruiters had to do the data entry of their resumes and the applications.
"It's the same with our benefits teams. When we met with our future hires, they would fill out information on paper and then we would come back to the office and do all the data entry," she said.
"We've released a lot of time for our recruiters and our benefits administrators and employees. I know the same will go for payroll. In payroll, people will be able to do more concrete work instead of pushing numbers and data entry."
March said the recruitment features are turning out to be valuable.
"We log in as managers, open a requisition, we get appropriate approvals and then it hits recruitment right away and they post it," she said. "I posted a position a week ago Monday. By Thursday, I had 12 applicants' data in my email box. It really went very well."
Before using the human capital management software, the medical group ran an on-premises PeopleSoft system for 17 years. It decided to purchase Oracle HCM Cloud in January 2014 over another finalist, Workday.
"Oracle actually spent the time to prove to us they could process our payroll," March said. "Oracle spent time gathering our requirements. They built our requirements inside HCM, and then they proved to us that could process the special payroll that we use."
Human capital management software simplifies benefits
Oracle's HCM Cloud software also enabled the medical group to simplify its benefit programs and benefit plans. A benefit program is a group of benefits, such as medical, dental or life insurance.
In PeopleSoft, for example, the group had programs for full-time and part-time employees, administrators and physicians. Another program was for retirees.
With the new cloud system, the number of benefit programs dropped from 17 to three. The number of benefit plans fell from 93 to 32. This decrease occurred because the eligibility profiles in Oracle HCM Cloud provided the group more flexibility in assigning employees to benefit plans.
"Now we have one regular benefited program for everybody who is actively attached to benefits," March said. "The flexibility and the calculations behind the scenes allowed us to eliminate the number of programs and the number of plans."
The group processed open enrollment for health and other plans over three weeks in October using the software. It was difficult for some physicians because they needed to learn a new system, she said.
"It was kind of a mixed bag. We got good feedback -- 'Oh, this is really nice' -- but we also got the, 'I can't believe you are telling me I have to use a new system for my benefit orientations.' It wasn't necessarily the system. It had nothing to do with the actual Oracle HCM."
Payroll department will cash in
Colorado Permanente expects the Oracle human capital management software to save the payroll department 12 hours every two-week pay period.
Currently, payroll workers must manually correct mistakes made by certain employees who, for example, might charge time to an incorrect location or department.
HRIS has built a costing table in Oracle HCM Cloud to manage the so-called recharges. If employees charge to an option that does not fit in the table, then they are automatically informed of the error and they need to correct it.
She estimated the change will save the medical group $20,000 a year in time spent correcting the recharging errors.
During implementation of core HR, March said a difficult aspect involved developing job titles and codes to match those titles. She used Microsoft Excel to help complete that task, which included separating titles across medical specialties and sub-specialties.
With the codes, the organization, for example, can determine turnover in a medical sub-specialty.
"It was a fabulous exercise in really trying to figure how you want to be able to use this future system to the best of its capability. You really need to understand the data you are pushing into the system. It may not work the way you think it should work."
March said the medical group began using Drivestream as an implementation partner in April 2014 and is very pleased. "They are very engaged in our project. They are definitely hard workers. We had some late nights and some long weekends at some points."
She said the Oracle HCM software also integrated well with outside systems, such as a portal for members to view physician data.
"That was a lot of work," she said. "We had to build our integrations over, our custom integrations."
Other integrations, including ADP for filing taxes, still are not live. Oracle HCM Cloud offers an ADP integration, so that does not need to be built from scratch.
As one lesson learned during implementation, she recommended that HR leaders map out what they want to gain from a system. "Provide process flows and documentation on all your current processes and make sure you know them before you start working on implementing this new system," she said.
"You don't want to tackle something way late in the game. Lay out your cards for your system implementer and make sure that they are aware so that way you can backtrack and fix something later."
March also said it is critical to understand the data in your system. In hindsight, she said, she could have saved a lot of time by reducing the amount of data -- 30,000 rows -- that was imported into the Oracle HCM Cloud system.
"I wanted to accommodate our pension team and our benefits team to make sure they had to just go to one place to get the information. Boy, that was a lot of work."
She said she maybe should have advocated buying Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) and then moved into that system some of the data that might not be needed right away. The medical group still might purchase OBIEE, she said.
Learn more about Oracle HCM Cloud
Understand the Oracle cloud HR strategy
See what's in Oracle HCM Cloud 8