South Africa's third largest mobile communications operator, has moved its
human capital management (HCM) systems into the cloud, using the Oracle
Customer to Cloud (C2C) programme and the implementation expertise of
Britehouse Oracle is the only
certified Oracle cloud provider in Africa.
Cell C uses its HCM systems to
recruit and retain people who exemplify and help it sustain its market position
as ‘the provider of possibilities'. The company's HCM platforms, particularly
performance management, are therefore of strategic importance in enabling the
company to maintain its competitive edge. Equally important is its learning
solution, which, along with enabling employees to keep abreast of the latest
thinking in the mobile communications sector, enables Cell C to contribute to
the country's transformation by transferring knowledge to and building capacity
among young South Africans.
However, Cell C's performance
management and learning solutions had to be decommissioned because of
escalating outsourced resourcing costs and monthly licence costs made onerous
by the rand-dollar exchange rate.
The company's IT division
suggested moving from a capex to an opex operating model, by replacing the
on-premises solutions with equivalents contained within Oracle's C2C programme.
Oracle would provide credits for the on-premises versions that would cover the
cost of moving the relevant HCM activities to its cloud.
In a 12-month, phased, low risk
approach, Britehouse Oracle deployed Cell C's HCM to the cloud, using the first
several weeks of the implementation period to introduce Cell C executives to
the cloud's commoditisation of processes.
Cell C executive head of
enterprise systems, Carol Wright-Rogers, says the business expected its
existing solutions would simply be copied to the cloud.
"It took time to adjust to
the fact that the cloud is quite prescriptive to process. It standardises and
simplifies everything. It's all about accelerated delivery. Retaining our ‘as
is' state would have negated that. Until we got that, Britehouse Oracle kept
asking us what we wanted done and we kept asking how it would be done.
"But, as soon as the
business saw just how quickly they were getting their desired functionality
from the cloud, they accepted that it was up to Britehouse Oracle to ensure
that what we wanted was delivered and focused instead on delineating our
Tanya Langbein, Britehouse Oracle
Cloud Executive and account owner for the Cell C project, says many customers
find the public cloud's aggressive speed to deployment challenging.
"Customers have always wanted more speed in implementations than is
realistically possible with on-premises solutions.
"But they're taken aback by
the fact that the cloud delivers faster than they can prepare for. They have to
work at pace with us – and they have to do more change management than they are
"The cloud also means
relinquishing one's attachment to having unique processes, as though the
processes define the company. The generic nature of public cloud methodologies
is what provides the agility every modern company needs.
"Once executives realise
that the simplicity of the cloud gives momentum to innovation in their
business, they can't get enough of it."
Putting its HCM systems in the
cloud will save Cell C four times the cost of the same functionality being run
"Just as importantly, the
cloud project has created unity and commitment among our employees,"
Wright-Rogers says. "We now have what I call social HR. Because the cloud
platform feels like social media to employees, they're using it and
collaborating with one another on a daily basis. They're no longer treating our
HR initiatives as administrative ‘stuff' and getting involved with it only
every few months when they absolutely have to meet key performance