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Monday, November 2, 2009

Strategic Structure Alignment

Found the following post interesting from Grey Sparling solutions blog.

Strategic Structure Alignment... pretty important sounding term (that probably doesn't tell you that much). It's something that probably every customer struggles with, but doesn't realize what it is.

Strategic Structure Alignment is all about making sure that the important organizational constructs are aligned across different applications and domains. In 90% of the circumstances, this is looking at how the HR responsibility structure maps to roles that people play in other systems. Throughout my years of experience with PeopleSoft applications, I've had many discussions with PeopleSoft customers about how the department chartfield in financials can be aligned with the HR employee structure (in fact, one of the remaining baby bells has a whole system dedicated to this, and we've put in enhancements to tree manager to help them handle distributed nature of this structure alignment).

There are other areas, however, where this can be applied:

  1. Row/Role level security in reporting
  2. Sarbanes Oxley compliance delegation
  3. Responsibility definition in front-line applications (such as call center and sales force automation

Basically, any place where the official reporting structure is needed to be used to drive use and functionality in an application. This is different from a knowledge network, which was discussed by Bob Stambaugh at the Northern California RUG on friday.

So, how do you align strategic structures? There are several approaches:

  1. Create one MASTER structure that gets replicated to other systems. This is the approach that the baby bell took. All information was maintained in the HR org tree, and then the tree was replicated to the other database for use in reporting. They, then made sure that the chartfield used by the tree had the appropriate values for the tree to link to (which could be a challenge). Another limitation is that you must put entries in the HR org tree that don't have any HR function in order to use them in financials.
  2. Another option is to replicate the departments in HR to financials, but not the hierarchy itself. This allows a financial organization structure to exist that does not have to exactly match the HR one (but ensures that all departments are represented financially).
  3. A third option is to synchronize the maintenance of trees between the two applications using ERI. In other words, as the user is making changes to the org tree in HR, he can drill into the appropriate tree in Financials and determine how that should be reflected there.

Because of the new requirements of Sarbanes Oxley, it is my suggestion that customers do a combination of the three approaches above. This is because the HR responsibility hierarchy will be the key to ensuring Sarbanes Oxley compliance. A good example is managing expense accounts. If you can drill down the HR responsibility hierarchy to see which people are responsibile for how much of that expense, it provides accountability and visibility into the accuracy of the financials. To accomplish this, one merely needs to provide a means for linking the HR org structure to the department chartfield in financials and drilling in nVision into a drilldown layout that uses tree nPlosion to the HR org tree.

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