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Steinhoff International HR reporting: A multifaceted but simple approach

Carina Shaw

When one works with Steinhoff International to understand some of their challenges in the reporting space, there are few surprises. The root causes of data and associated reporting challenges are usually easily identifiable and, especially in the case of large corporates, often historic.

The impact, however, can be enormously frustrating for those who manage the people side of the business and cannot afford to spend their valuable time sorting through masses of irregular, unreliable and often conflicting data to find a single version of the truth.

That said, while accurate data is obviously core to reporting, it is not the only consideration. Reporting needs to be looked at from multiple angles. This includes the processes and systems used to gather and consolidate data and the system used to report on that data once it has been consolidated and sanitised. All of these factors came into play when the Steinhoff solution was designed.

The primary challenge centred on the requirement for centralised HR reporting

Operating off a decentralised model, each Steinhoff division runs as a separate entity, with their own systems and processes in place to support their specific business. While in the HR space, core data is generated by one of two payroll systems, limited rules and processes were in place to manage how data required for reporting purposes is captured and processed. There was also little understanding across divisions about:

  • What data was available; and

  • How reliable it was.

And there was no easy way to consolidate and interpret what was there. A multi-faceted approach was required to address this.

The first step in the process was to obtain data from each division to understand data availability and analyse the quality of that data. “This initial step was critical in terms of defining the overall data solution”, says Werner Merbold, managing director of a[s]g Performance Solutions, who has driven the project and the data analysis for the project. Ninety-one data files were received and had to be collated, consolidated and analysed.  

Based on this analysis and an understanding of business priorities, together with best practice, dashboards and reports using existing data were designed and implemented. As part of this process, the existing payroll service provider was commissioned to write scripts so that data can be drawn from each existing system in an automated and consistent manner on a monthly basis, which also reduces manual process associated with data gathering. In addition, rules and standards for data capture have been defined and processes put in place to manage this going forward.

Another key output was the generation of exception reports to assist in data clean-up exercises, as well as the creation of a data repository which becomes home to the files generated at divisional level and the source of data for dashboards and reports. This solution enables all core data and data clean-ups to remain at source level. However, the use of rules built into the data repository ensures sanitised accurate data is used at a reporting level.

And this is just phase 1! As more data rules are put into place and the quality of data improves, more reports and dashboards can be generated. The building blocks are now in place and HR reporting, as a core requirement for any people strategy, can start taking its rightful place in this leading organisation.

 Author: Carina Shaw is the CEO of ASG Performance Solutions, an information technology consulting firm that provides impactful business solutions with particular focus in the Business intelligence and Human Capital sphere. She has a BA Information Science degree from the University of Pretoria. Her experience ranges from management consulting, change management, overseeing delivery of software projects and business management in general.