SDL turns to Sage Business Cloud People for global HR needs

Sage People provides SDL unity across geographically diverse workforce


SDL implemented Sage’s solution as part of a major transformation programme to consolidate five businesses into one. They had to have a single, global HR system for this rapid expansion. A speedy approach to implementation and modular build functionality were crucial. With Sage Business Cloud People, SDL built a solution to suit their own transformation timeline and existing technology. The Sage Business Cloud People system makes the HR team more productive and provides management intelligence beyond headcount reporting.


NB: Transcript makes reference to powerpoint slides on screen.
Speaker: Roddy Temperley, Global Head of HR

We have 3,200 employees, 70 offices, 38 countries, 400 partners, 1,500 enterprise customers. That’s
a complex organization. So if we go back to Jan 2013, five siloed businesses each led by a chief executive with their own management team, their own systems, and their own processes. 12 months later we have completely transformed that into one business. Still two customer-facing divisions – so there’s a language division and then there’s the content and analytics business. We have one development and operations organization, one global marketing, one global finance, one global HR. So that was a huge chunk of transformation to do in a very, very short time.

I’m rolling out performance management, so one performance management process using Sage People [Sage Business Cloud People] which is great because it puts power behind the system. I’ve just done the executive talent review, again using the Sage People [Sage Business Cloud People] functionality. It should also say recruitment (on the slide) as we also plan to roll out global recruitment in the summer and a little bit further on our track is our global on-boarding.

Speaker: Paul Harris, Business Applications Director
We wanted to be able to roll out a system quickly. To do that we believe we should take on a SaaS solution, one that was very modular that would allow us to switch on the elements of functionality that we wanted, that we could support that we had processes for. And we began to scour the market for those. We spoke to analysts. We spoke to Gartner & Forrester, we began to do our own research. And quite quickly we came up with a number of vendors, I won’t name them all but you’re probably familiar with the key vendors out there. Sage People [Sage] was one of the one’s that stood out as well. We went through a process of traditional requirements gathering, user scenario building, demos with all the different vendors. And one of the things that really stood out about Sage People [Sage Business Cloud People] was it ticked all the boxes with SAAS, it was modular, for us it was also familiar technology. We’re big users of Salesforce, we’ve got a team in-house that uses Salesforce.

Most of the vendors were saying, ‘you need to engage with us for about 18 months. We normally do a professional services implementation of about 200 days for a worldwide organization’. And Sage People [Sage] came and said ‘well if you’ve got the data we can switch it on in a week. You probably want to test it. You probably want to familiarize your HR teams. You should be up and running in a couple of months.’ And that was true. I am very pleased to say that within three months we were live. We had HR on board for about a month before that and I now have one HR person managing the HR system instead of 11.

Roddy Temperley
For me it was all about underpinning that massive transformation so when you’re going from five businesses to one. When you bringing together all those disparate offices, and companies, and you’re creating a culture. So start with the numbers so I started with getting my reporting right. So I have very fast and swift headcount reporting, so that’s the first thing you get. But then you can have the discussion around what’s the performance management system going to look like. Well this is what Sage People [Sage Business Cloud People] can deliver to us. We have this system it has all the blocks that you need. Our language services business is actually quite sophisticated in terms of its performance management. They use lots of 360 feedback and skills and competencies assessment and I could say that’s fine, that’s all there. And then for my content analytics, you can keep it simple. Yes you can set objectives. Have discussions. Review objectives. Simple as that.

So I can meet a sophisticated audience and a more vanilla approach and serve the whole business.
So that’s what we did in 2013 and I used Sage People [Sage Business Cloud People] to enable me to have discussions beyond headcount reporting. Around what sort of process and systems do we want to manage our business. So that the SDL transformation story and we’re keeping at it now.