I’m sitting on a plane (delayed of course for 4 hours) thinking about the people around me. I have the fabulous exit row seat on the A319 where there is no seat in front of me. The guy in the middle next to me is great. He’s not a talker, he’s slim, does not intrude on my space at all, and basically minds his own business and his own space. (My policy on planes is that the guy in the middle seat gets both armrests unless s/he happens to be rude, in which case any “nice” policies go out the window.) The guy sort of in front of me has decided that since there is no seat in front of me, that he will use my foot space as his trash bin. He’s basically been dropping his garbage literally on top of my feet for the last couple hours. I basically kick it back at him at which point he turns around and gives me a nasty glare. I don’t know why, but I really like order. Things should go in their appropriate place. When things go elsewhere where they don’t belong, problems seem to start.
For some reason, this has be thinking about systems of record and why this is such a hard thing to implement well. There seem to be lots of battles around system of record. Should your employee address reside in your HR or payroll system? Assuming they are actually different systems, some people will argue that all core employee indicative data resides in the HR system as the primary and gets interfaced to payroll and everywhere else. In general however, if the address is not current in the HR system, the ramifications are relatively minor. In the payroll system, local taxes can go awry, garnishments are not paid or are calculated incorrectly, and year end tax statement go to the wrong place. Then there is the never ending argument that comes from Payroll departments. HR just does not care as much about these things. Let’s say things are still entered manually (god forbid). HR departments might sit on an address change for a while, but Payroll departments are all over it.
I also think about competencies. Do competencies belong with job data in core HR? or do they sit better with all the talent stuff in a talent system? Wait, wait, you have multiple talent systems? Which talent system? Are the competencies designated with the job analysis? And do we care where the competencies are designed if they are only utilized at the talent process level?
It really comes down to data governance (do we hate data governance yet? We should, but we don’t because not enough of us are doing it well yet). I was recently speaking to an organization who decided that the global employee addresses were owned by the legal department in the organization. They decided it was not HR or Payroll simply because there were enough compliance issues from global safe harbors to payroll compliance and data privacy that it could only be owned by legal. In turn, it would then be legal’s right to decide where the system of record would be. When it comes down to competencies, who owns this thing? Is it compensation? More often than not it’s talent, but this is indeed one of those data elements that get defined in such a cross functional way that it’s hard to navigate the waters.
The hope is that with the continued evolution of real time API’s and middleware, integration of data elements keeps getting easier and the conflicts that arise due to systems of record ease.