Stuck with a 20- to 30-year-old legacy payroll system that may or may not have been Y2K compliant and a mish-mash of various human resourcesreporting systems, Amcore Financial decided to skip the testing and move straight to a new HR management system.
"Rather than spend all the money to test and upgrade for Y2K compliance, we thought, 'Now is a good time to replace our system,'" said Steve Hudgin, vice president and human resources operations manager for Rockford, Ill.-based Amcore, with banking assets of $4.3 billion.
Amcore needed a system that, in addition to handling company-wide payroll, could store company-wide HR data. Human resources management was decentralized at the time, with reps in 80 locations throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.
"We had various payroll practices in all the different offices and we wanted to bring together all that functionality in one place and standardize procedures," Hudgin explained.
Amcore settled on Windows NT-compatible Human Resources Management System (HRMS) v7.51 from PeopleSoft, and hired Revere Group, a Chicago-based e-business consulting firm and PeopleSoft Global Alliance Partner, to help implement the system.
A joint Amcore-Revere team was formed in January 1999, with Hudgin assuming the lead role after the design phase was completed. The team included experts from both organizations on payroll, benefits, compensation and employment, plus employees from IT and accounting.
One of the biggest challenges in converting from Amcore's old payroll-only system to the new PeopleSoft system was determining the location of all relevant information, and then bringing it all together in one place.
"The biggest challenge was just where all the data was going to come from and how clean it was going to show up," said Hudgin.
To house the new system, Amcore purchased a new Oracle database server and a new application server. It also upgraded its workstations.
"We had minimum specs for workstations, and at that time about half of the workstations weren't there yet," Hudgin said.
In the year-and-a-half since the system went live, the number of human resources representatives that need to access the system has been trimmed to 35, all of them centrally located in Rockford. Amcore also enjoys quicker and easier access to information from its subsidiaries.
"If someone needs a list of all our regional vice presidents or our tellers, I can pull that together in a matter of minutes versus weeks with our old systems," said Hudgin.
All payroll processing, from inputting data to printing checks, is now done in-house. The system tracks all employee data, including salary, promotions and base benefit plans.
Recently, Amcore added PeopleSoft's training administration module, enabling it to track employee training.
Hudgin himself provides most of the functional support-updating codes, keeping the database clean, and making tax updates and whatever fixes come from PeopleSoft. An Amcore database administrator handles the Oracle side, maintaining and backing up the databases.
Aside from the ease and efficiency of reporting, the biggest benefit is standardization, Hudgin said. "Everybody has to work on the same system now, and everybody's doing it the same way. We can define a process and the whole company does it, instead of having different rules for different places."
The next step, which is at least a year away, is to integrate and leverage the Internet.
"We've started to push ahead on the Internet and e-business, but right now we want to work on maximizing our efficiencies, cross-training employees and getting stronger with the system before we go further," said Hudgin.
Institution: Amcore Financial
Assets: $4.3 billion
Business Challenge: To upgrade and standardize human resource and payroll systems.
Solution: PeopleSoft's HRMS v7.51
Key Quote: "The biggest challenge was just where all the data was going to come from and how clean it was going to show up." - Steve Hudgin, vice president and HR operations manager