Groundbreaking HR solution earns BT Group unique SAP Innovation Award honor

BT Group has never forgotten its beginnings as a company ensuring that everyone in the UK could have access to a new invention called the telegraph.

Finally, a farmer in the Midlands could communicate with his cousin in Brighton, and a dock worker in Sunderland was able to receive the latest news from Westminster.

In the age of apps and smartphones, BT Group is still an organization using the latest innovations to change the world – building a strong technological foundation for clients to modernize and simplify.

But in the early part of this decade, the company’s human resources (HR) systems were not aligning with BT Group’s mission as a digital and technology leader.

The Group was dependent on a complex HR technology architecture driving inconsistent, manual processes – forcing HR teams to engage in time-consuming tasks like completing Word and Excel documents, emails, and phoning colleagues. Team information could only be obtained through monthly reports provided by HR business partners.

The legacy technologies that had once worked so well were complicated, inflexible, and expensive to update and maintain. This meant that a truly digital-led colleague experience couldn’t be delivered, impacting the Group’s ability to attract and retain the best talent.  HR teams were left with little time to provide value-added services and partner with their business functions to drive a strategic talent agenda.

For the HR team, these shortcomings hurt BT Group as a company. After all, it strove to attract and retain top talent while protecting national infrastructure and changing the world by investing in things like drone super-highways – and helping customers reduce their global carbon footprint.

To continue to meet the demands of its very diverse businesses, the Group was going to have to create a single, integrated digital platform to complete all HR lifecycle activities – at any time, on any device.

A global digital experience

Founded in 1846 as the Electric Telegraph Company, BT Group is the world’s oldest communications company.

It remains a centerpiece of British culture, operating 80 percent of the UK’s communications infrastructure and employing 100,000 workers – in addition to more than 30,000 contingent employees.

Despite BT Group’s many milestones, the My HR platform for HR services would be “one of the most complex HR technology transformations” the organization experienced, said Nick Hawkes, the company’s HR Technology Director.

To drive process simplification and system standardization, BT Group would partner with Accenture, a Dublin-based professional services company specializing in information technology and consulting.

Both companies already had a long history with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software leader SAP.

As a result, BT Group could integrate its existing SAP technologies with SAP SuccessFactors Human Capital Management (HCM) for assistance in HR and payroll, talent and sales performance management, and analytics and workforce planning, among other areas. 

HR teams would be able to access the platform for assistance in anything along the HR lifecycle, from colleague selection to onboarding to career development and learning.

Software as a Service (SaaS) technology would be used to deliver applications over the internet and further provide the kind of compelling digital colleague experience at the global scale that BT Group required.

Connected to the future

The deployment of the My HR platform in September 2022 was transformative.

Instantly, 30 legacy systems were decommissioned, while 200 HR processes were streamlined and standardized to fewer than 90, enabling HR managers, teams, and colleagues to use the solution intuitively, efficiently, and flexibly. 

For example, managers can now complete changes within minutes, as opposed to being dependent on lengthy phone calls to the HR Services team.

Instead of the five-day wait for Service Level Agreements (SLAs), HR reports are generated immediately through self-service access to the system, delivering insight and information to inform decision-making for line managers and HR partners.

And the cloud technology has saved the company more than a million productivity hours annually, freeing up employees to engage in activities that continue to move BT Group forward.

“We are changing the way HR gets done,” said Elaine Bergin, BT Group’s Director of Colleague Experience, “by putting our colleagues in the driving seat – whether for lifecycle moments or navigating their career.”

10th anniversary superstar winner of the SAP Innovation Awards

For creating the definitive digital colleague experience, BT Group received a distinct honor, being designated the “10thAnniversary Superstar” winner at the decade-old SAP Innovation Awards in 2023. 

The annual ceremony singles out organizations using SAP technologies to transform industries as well as society. You can read more about what BT Group accomplished to earn this top honor in their pitch deck.

Digital Transformation