Global mobility programmes are pivotal to international businesses’ growth and success, but their management is increasing in complexity, as their scope widens.
Shorter lead times, liaising with multiple stakeholders with different priorities, and a requirement to contain costs while maintaining flexibility in the reward models are just some of the challenges faced by IHR teams.
So whilst the main objective remains to enable the business to move the right people into the right roles around the world, there is significant pressure on mobility professionals to free up time to deliver value-added solutions that demonstrate the significance of the global mobility function.
In this climate, the need for an efficient technology platform to manage mobility operations is becoming critical to the global growth plans of many international organisations.
Top 5 things to consider when choosing assignment management software
With an increased number of software solutions available in the market and with more functionality than ever before (all of which may appear equivalent at first sight), companies looking for assignment management software need to carefully assess their options in order to ensure they make the right decision.
There is a lot to think about – asking the right questions at the beginning of the process can make the difference between a successful investment with measurable efficiency gains and a potential waste of time, money and resources. So here is some food for thought:
1. How will the software work for you?
This is about having a clear picture of what really matters to your organisation. The general idea is that the system you invest in should make your life easier, but depending on how complex your needs are; on the scope of your mobility programme; on the size of your population and the number of stakeholders involved, some systems will be more suitable than others. Not all of the functionality on offer may be relevant to you, so will you have the flexibility to choose solely what you want to take? It is important to find the best fit for your requirements, especially when it comes to comparing an off-the-shelf solution with a more personalised one – as an example, can the tool cope with the intricacies of multiple policy rules?
2. Assessing the supplier
As obvious as this may sound, aside from the usual background checks on experience, history and governance, it’s important to ensure that you are fully comfortable with the supplier’s way of working – and rather than hearing just from them, it’s always a good idea to speak to a third party who has worked with them before. A good collaboration is key for the success of any implementation project, so: do you think you will work well together? Have you met the team who will be involved in your project? What added value do they bring to the project? Do they listen, can you bounce ideas off them?
3. Implementation, training and support
The implementation stage requires considerable commitment from both your organisation and the supplier – you will need clarity on the resources that you are able to dedicate to the project. This should enable your supplier to plan accordingly and confirm how they will support your team. All projects vary in their degree of complexity and, however accurate your initial list of requirements, it is unlikely to be absolutely final. Rather than accepting a standard answer regarding implementation timelines, ensure that your supplier has a full understanding of the scope of the project and is prepared to account for the fact that an initial specification may evolve. Make sure that you are given guidance on how the project will be managed and reassurance that your priorities are taken into consideration when planning potential phases. Also, think about how your team will familiarise themselves with the functionality - is in-house training included? And are you clear on what will happen once the system has gone live: will you continue to receive support and assistance?
4. Any hidden costs?
In order to avoid unbudgeted costs, you will need to ensure that you have complete clarity on what the fees quoted include. As an example, does the annual service charge cover support? Will you be able to run as many scenarios as needed without incurring extra costs? Will there be additional costs if improvements / updates to the software are rolled out? Will you need to assign extra resources to maintain specific company configuration, or will your supplier support you?
5. Transitioning and future-proofing
When a list of requirements is put together, transitioning from the old system (whether it be spreadsheets or another tool) to the new is something that is often overlooked, but it is actually key to the success of your project. Have you considered the best way to manage the transition phase based on your company culture? What level of support can the supplier offer in this sense? You may also want to look at things from a long-term perspective: given that software constantly evolves, you will need guarantees as to how your supplier intends to involve existing customers in future developments. A good supplier will not only seek to respond to existing and future customers’ needs, but also to anticipate them. They should be able to give you an indication of what is on their development roadmap, so that you can also gauge potential future benefits to your organisation.
Find out more
If you are considering different technology options for your assignment management, ECA’s free white paper ‘Choosing assignment management software’ will provide guidance and highlight best practice to help you make the right decision.
What is ECAEnterprise and what does it offer?
ECAEnterprise, the software service chosen by many of the world's multinational companies to run their mobility programmes, is an Assignment Management System that enables mobility teams to automate the most difficult manual activities and tasks across the assignment lifecycle, at the same time as promoting consistency and standardisation of policies and processes.
In its core calculator product, ECAEnterprise offers flexible frameworks to create salary and costing calculations for any assignment type, with a database to easily store, revisit and report on employees / assignment details and all calculations saved.
ECAEnterprise caters for all types of requirements: it can be purchased as an off-the-shelf product or built to a company’s specification, and it is modular in its delivery, so that only the relevant functionality is selected based on an organisation’s actual needs.
What ECAEnterprise can do for you:
- Save time and reduce errors
- Promote compliance
- Improve communication among stakeholders
- Ensure consistency of policy application
- Raise your profile in the business
- Give you full visibility on assignment populations
- Assignment management – ability to manage all assignment processes from initiation to completion, automation of administrative tasks, storing of assignment histories, management of employee profiles, histories and key dates
- Salaries and costings – ability to cost, calculate, revise, review and update assignment rewards for multiple policy types and remuneration approaches
- Dynamic workflow – ability to allow different levels of access to multiple stakeholders and to set up workflow processes to assigned owners, with target dates and dependencies
- Management reporting – ability to create clear, configurable, attractive reports on all assignments, providing at-a-glance statistics on populations and analysis of business operations, costs, timetables and traffic lanes
- Alerts and triggers - ability to create specific alerts and triggers to notify users when a particular trigger condition has been met (e.g. assignment coming towards its end date, work permit expiry etc.)
- Case management – ability to create ad-hoc notes and activities related to the day-to-day management of assignments and to publish, action, delegate and complete such activities
- Document management – ability to generate, store, access and upload key assignment related documents such as assignment contracts, customer specific forms (relocation service request, visa request and similar), assignment calculations and costings reports
- Batch processing – ability to run mass updates of assignment packages, typically for the purposes of periodic or salary reviews
- Interfaces with third parties – ability to pull and/or push data between systems through real-time, asynchronous WebServices; ability to create and upload data files to/from other systems