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Workday HR system aids Direct Line divestment from RBS

Matthew Finnegan | March 25, 2013
16,000 staff placed on new HR system following RBS separation

Direct Line Group has completed the separation of its IT systems from those of RBS using cloud software from Workday, and has simultaneously driven down the cost of the HR function at the insurance group.

Following the government bailout of RBS, the bank agreed to sell off its Direct Line insurance division, with the divestment creating a tight deadline to move 16,000 staff onto a new HR system to ensure that an IPO could go ahead.

With RBS previously responsible for two thirds of the insurance division's HR, Mark Martin, HR Director, Direct Line Group, had only a few months to ensure that new core systems were in place.

"We had to make a change, we had to separate, and we had prove that we were able to run as a separate organisation," he said.

"It was a whole suite, we were able to replace everything. It was like a greenfield site for an organisation the size of Direct Line Group, which is a rare thing. You don't usually get to build an HR function from scratch and get the support to invest in the system of your choice."

The main priority was to ensure that staff on new contracts were able to be paid when systems went live last June. This meant putting Workday in place as the core HR system, alongside Ceridian for payroll.

"We had to change our terms and conditions, all our contracts, and we had to build the capability within the HR function such as rewards and tax, as well as implement seven new systems. The heart of that was Workday as our core system."

Implementing Workday meant moving on from the Peoplesoft system used for RBS' HR. Martin said that he considered a number of other options before deciding on Workday's cloud software. This meant looking at SAP's SuccessFactors as an alternative SaaS system, as well as considering Oracle Fusion.

"We looked at a number of choices as well as the Workday one," he said. "The absolute priority for us was to move to a SaaS system. That was key. We chose Workday ahead of SuccessFactors, they were the two front runners in end."

Since going live in June 2012, Martin said that the Workday implementation has been successful, with the cloud-based system offering benefits over traditional software.

"It is doing exactly what it said it would do. That is one of the things with a cloud service: that is the system," he said.

"I have used all of the legacy systems in different businesses, SAP and SAP HR and Oracle and Peoplesoft and so forth. The difference here is that you don't actually have, for example, a Peoplesoft system, you have your own particular bespoke version of that system.


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