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December 5, 2011

Rentokil to manage 66,000 staff via the cloud with Workday

Aims for single version of the truth with SaaS HR system

By Jason Stamper

London-headquartered Rentokil Initial announced it has selected software as a service offering, Workday, to manage its 66,000 staff around the world via the cloud.

Speaking to CBR, Fergal Harkin, group HR operations director at Rentokil Initial, said the firm has not had a single HR system across its business until now, having grown up partly through a series of acquisitions.

"We’ve never integrated our systems before, so we have a fragmented portfolio of small and medium-sized businesses," Harkin said. "But now that Rentokil has grown up to be a $2.5bn [per annum] revenue company with 66,000 employees across over 50 countries, we’re looking to standardise processes across businesses."

Workday has been chosen as Rentokil’s global human resources (HR) system of record. The selection of Workday is part of a strategic plan, Programme Olympic, which is a company-wide effort to increase efficiency in its administrative and operational processes.

As part of this programme, Workday will help Rentokil Initial to optimise its workforce, according to the firm. Harkin said Workday will give it a single source of actionable information about its workforce, accessible in the Workday cloud.

In addition, Harkin explained that Workday’s business process framework will enable Rentokil to configure its business processes to meet the specific needs of each of its businesses in different geographies, without the need for custom coding.

Rentokil was already comfortable with software as a service model, Harkin said, already using Google Apps for example, for its email, intranet, and collaboration toolset, Ariba as its main procurement tool and Cornerstone OnDemand for global online learning.

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One of the brains behind Workday is Dave Duffield, co-founder of PeopleSoft and now co-CEO and chief customer advocate at Workday. Commenting on the news, he said: "With 66,000 employees in more than 50 countries and a diverse offering of services, Rentokil Initial is the definition of a global company. Workday is excited to play a role in Rentokil Initial’s initiatives to increase efficiencies throughout its company."

Harkin said that different divisions would adopt the offering along different timescales depending on other projects they might have on the go, but that all businesses will adopt it. The company is already running proof of concepts in what Harkin called ‘phase one’ of the rollout.

Harkin said it is difficult to calculate the specific savings that may flow from the adoption of Workday, but that standardised, automated and streamlined processes and real-time reporting will help it better control its single biggest cost – in a lot of its businesses over 70% of its costs are payroll costs.

As for how much training staff will need in the new system, Harkin said, "Workday will tell you it’s just like Amazon or eBay, you just log on and away you go – you don’t need any training. I wouldn’t quite say it’s that easy to use but it’s not dissimilar to online banking."

"Once you’ve worked through your online transactions for the first time it’s pretty intuitive after that. We are investing in training activity and training resources in our implementation," Harkin added.

Related: In Depth: Aviva rolls out SaaS HR

Related: Duffield’s Workday challenges SAP and Oracle with SaaS ERP

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