Let's face it. You and me, we've all been deceived. The idea of having an intelligent company where the entire workforce, current and in the recruiting pipeline, can be managed with just a few clicks sounded too good.

As we've learned, reality only sometimes lives up to these expectations. Companies bought into this vision. Serious money has been spent on implementation projects and subscriptions. Yet, few have realized the full benefit of having a platform like SAP SuccessFactors (or Workday or Oracle).

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of these tools. I've been one of the loudest proponents of these contemporary HCM suites. And it's often not their fault that things went sideways. There's a considerable chunk of obligations the implementing company has to fulfill. That's the curse (and beauty) of standard cloud software: you need to get used to standards and bend towards these as much as necessary.

But don't worry, there are ways to improve the situation and make the most of these platforms. And your investment. A short overview.

HCM platforms are full of potential - just hardly ever realized

Human Capital Management (HCM) technology is a significant investment for any organization, as it has the potential to impact the business considerably.

However, according to Josh Bersin's latest reports, many companies still fail to fully realize the value of their HCM technology investments because they don't use the platforms to their full potential.

Every company has its rollout challenges, but we've seen a few common reasons why that happens.

First, even when investing in the entire suite with all the (limitless) features, companies too often limit themselves, and their employees, to using the full platform. It seems as if the limits are imposed not by the platform but by the company that is about to use it.

Secondly, hoping the entire workforce will discover the new platform by itself is idealistic. As an HR professional, you may be enthusiastic about new HCM technologies. Still, employees and their managers often have other priorities and might not be as focused on HR and HR tech.

Here are six tactics that help to overcome these challenges.

Involve your employees in the SuccessFactors rollout

This seems like an obvious tactic - and it is - but in real life, HCM implementation projects tend to miss this point the most.

One reason might be that it's too time-consuming to identify the correct user groups and involve them in the decision process. Another explanation I can think of is that change management does not get enough priority here.

Ultimately, HCM software is typically driven by (HR) IT departments, whose focus is on the tech stack.

The Bersin report highlights that the most successful companies must treat their HCM implementation more than a technology deployment. SuccessFactors, or any other HCM platform, is a strategic instrument that enables business transformation and creates a compelling employee experience.

For that to happen, employees and managers will have to be more involved in designing the employee experience, which in the end, they'll be the ones "consuming" it.

Break down the silos

The silos must finally fall.

HR, IT, business leaders, and employees must all sit at one table with a sense of equality. No matter where the project has its home.

A strong partnership between HR and IT is essential, as it enables the effective integration and use of HR data and systems.

There are different ways to bring people from various departments together. Agile has had its impact in doing so. But at the end of the day, it still needs people to make it happen. People with the appropriate skills and the right mindset. The first can be trained, the latter must be shifted.

Plan ahead but be adaptive with your transformation roadmap

HCM transformation is a holistic endeavor. The underlying technology is as important as the processes this tech will impact. Having clear goals and an adaptive roadmap is the way to go.

This may involve identifying and prioritizing key areas for improvement, developing a business case to justify the investment, and creating a project plan that outlines the necessary steps and resources.

A few weeks into the project, the phenomenon of the planning fallacy hits everyone like a ton of bricks. Nothing adds up anymore. This moment often becomes a test for the team's motivation.

We all understand the process of planning ahead. A group of people meets to discuss and give their estimates. A plan is born. Once the planning session is finished, everyone returns to their duties, possibly with congratulatory gestures and nods of approval.

And a sense of euphoria.

A few weeks into the project, the phenomenon of the planning fallacy hits everyone like a ton of bricks. Nothing adds up anymore. This moment often becomes a test for the team's motivation.

Therefore, for your and your team's sanity, build an adaptive plan that is flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen events or even Black Swans. Test your assumptions on every occasion. Build feedback loops in every step there is. The more you involve employees and the fewer silos you have (see previous points), the better your plan will be.

Communicate your HCM rollout over and over and over again

Effective communication is also critical for HCM transformation.

Stakeholders must know the outcomes and their roles and responsibilities in achieving them. Hence, having a communication plan that outlines this is non-negotiable.

Communication within the core project team is just part of the whole communication plan. But even here you'll notice that after reaching a certain level of team size (typically 50+) the communication style becomes one-to-many. The interactivity is lost. So is your ability to spot the small nuances that often, when untreated, can break the entire team's integrity.

How to spot the moment when communication becomes more of mass-scale endeavor?

When you start crafting your messages carefully and repeat them on and on and on. That's no longer a high-bandwidth conversation with short feedback loops.

That's a communication plan at work.

This happens quite often in multinational organizations, where you'll about to reach thousands or ten of thousands employees.

But even then, try to put some budget aside for informal communication. Organize sessions where people can freely talk about topics that matter to them. If you happen to be the program manager for a mass-scale HR IT transformation, don't treat your change management team merely as people responsible for sending out invitations. Promote them to your public relations professionals.

Form a governance body to make the HCM transformation happen

I could write an entire article on the importance of governance in HCM transformations (and maybe I will). But there are here for a reason.

The most important one is to ensure the success of the transformation.

Establishing a governance structure that provides oversight and support for the project is what makes your life as a program manager (or someone who is part of the implementation team) much easier.

This may include the creation of a steering committee or other governance bodies responsible for monitoring progress, making decisions, and addressing any issues or challenges that arise.

Running a transformation program becomes much smoother when governance is setup correctly. Equipped with the necessary know-how, network with the company, they not only track the progress but become an advisor that speeds up the decision making.

Train your workforce on the new HR platform

In addition to these considerations, organizations should also focus on building their workforce's necessary skills and capabilities to support the HCM transformation.

This may involve providing training and development opportunities and hiring and retaining top talent with the required expertise and experience.

Final notes on tackling talent challenges in the era of talent shortage

The importance of a Human Capital Management platform cannot be overstated as companies increasingly grapple with talent challenges.

These tools not only have the power to keep current employees satisfied and motivated, but also to locate and attract the right talent for your organization.

SAP SuccessFactors, Workday, Oracle, and other platforms have the potential to make this process a little more enjoyable.

However, it's essential to use these tools effectively. By following these six tactics, you can make progress towards this goal.