Most of our competitors claim that providing new employees with the tools they need is part of the onboarding function.  Really?  It seems to me that providing employees with the tools they need is a permanent part of the employer-employee relationship, in other words an employee lifecycle process.  Do managers only requisition a desk and computer and network access when the new employee is being brought on board?  What if company policy requires employees to be on board 60 days before they are given a company credit card?  What if, 3 years after they join the company, they need a new computer?  What if, 5 years after they join the company, they get a promotion and now need network and systems access they didn’t need before?  Materials requisitioning–as it’s most properly called–should truly be implemented as an employee lifecycle process.

Really good systems (okay, shameless self promotion here) take it a step further.  Some materials are critical to an employee’s effectiveness, and hence should be provided to the employee on day 1, like a desk.  It’s quite possible that it takes longer to procure a desk than it does to hire the employee, so what’s a manager to do if they can’t request the new employee’s desk until the new employee is actually onboarding?  Instead of asking their new employee to work on the floor (a bit o’ hyperpole) the manager is going to rely on whatever other methods, outside of their onboarding system’s requisitioning features, including paper and pen, that need to be employed to requisition the desk.  So what good is the onboarding system in this case?

Materials requisitioning – a system that allows managers to submit a formal request for materials for their employees and themselves – should not only be an employee lifecycle product, it should begin before the employee is hired, as early as the establishment of the position.  Doesn’t it make sense to allow managers to requisition an office and desk as soon as the position has been identified?  Certain items obviously can’t be requisitioned until the person is identified: email account, company credit card, security badge.  That’s fine, only allow a request of those items until the employee has been identified; but this implies the system is smart enough to recognize such a condition, which brings up my next point.

Requisitioning materials for an employee is more than gathering information and a form from the manager and sending it to someone to fulfill.  Well, it might be that simple, and I’d call that a “simple notification” request, but most requests are more involved than that.  Even a desk might need to involve purchasing, receiving, facilities, and asset management people.  Imagine the processes associated with procuring a BlackBerry or access to the company’s payroll system (what level of access? is access approved? do we integrate with identity management? network provisioning?).  Real and flexible workflow – full Business Process Management – is not only desirable, but seemingly necessary.  When a manager submits a request, that request launches (instantiates) a process, and that process may in turn launch additional processes (BlackBerry request begets email and phone service requests, AP access request begets background testing, etc.)

Staff Service Request (aka SSR) is our product for materials requisitioning.  It meets all of the above objectives, and furthermore provides a great SOA-style integration platform for integration with all those systems (IT provisioning, finance, facilities, background testing, purchasing, etc.).  With SSR not only can we provide full employee life cycle requisitioning, we can perfect the process and eliminate all of the data re-entry throughout the process.  And managers can request stuff the moment they know they’ll have a new employee, so on their first day they aren’t sitting on the floor filling out their new hire paperwork.

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