Siemens strengthens its position as a global employer of choice

Maintaining strong talent management with integrated HR solutions from IBM and Workday
Global Business Services
8-minute read

Siemens Group is driving far-reaching digital transformation, and delivering cutting-edge products, solutions and services, in industries ranging from software development to energy and healthcare. A deep talent bench is crucial to support operational and customer-service excellence — and to realize its transformation vision.

The company knew that offering a high-quality HR experience would be crucial to achieve this goal. To shape smooth HR journeys and meet its talent objectives, Siemens engaged experts from IBM Services® to help rearchitect and streamline human capital management (HCM) activities for managers and employees alike.

Based on Workday Human Capital Management with Workday Absence Management, Workday Compensation and Workday Talent Management, the new cloud-based solution currently supports approximately 40,000 employees across 35 countries with core HCM capabilities — and will be extended to more than 100,000 employees globally within the next 24 months.

Looking ahead, Siemens is confident that, based on a Global Process Template, the Workday solutions will reduce HCM costs, enhance the HR experience for employees and managers and accelerate the group’s ongoing digital transformation.

Workday deployment now live for

35 of 95

Siemens countries

More than

40,000

employees can now access HR self-services

IBM Services has been an invaluable source of support to Siemens, and we look forward to working together to bring the benefits of Workday solutions to all our global employees.
Olaf Reichert
Senior IT Manager and Head of Development Services, Siemens AG

Identifying new talent imperatives

Since 1847, Siemens has grown into the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe, with business operations focused on industrial products, energy, healthcare, infrastructure and cities. The organization is always looking for innovative ways to better serve its global customers. To achieve this goal, Siemens set out a digital transformation strategy.

This strategy aims to enable long-term business growth and stronger profitability through a simplified corporate structure. As a result, the group separated Siemens AG, Siemens Healthineers AG and Siemens Energy AG into independent companies, which collaborate within a shared ecosystem of common interests and services.

Talent has been the engine of this ongoing transformation program. Olaf Reichert, Senior IT Manager and Head of Development Services at Siemens AG, explains: “In recent years, the variety of skills and competencies required across the group has grown substantially. For example, with the acquisition of the Mendix low-code platform, Siemens has broadened its solution portfolio and subsequently its domain and IT expertise.”

People doing Tai Chi outside in the city

Disparate HCM systems drive costs

Female coder with computer reflection in her glasses

In the past, countries relied on their own systems and processes for HCM, including day-to-day HR administration as well as capabilities such as payroll processing and talent management. Many of the core HCM systems in use globally were nearing end-of-support based upon the product roadmap, and Siemens recognized a valuable opportunity for a different approach.

“Previously, locations used on-premises infrastructure to run their own HCM systems,” continues Reichert. “As well as driving up our costs, this way of working significantly increased the complexity of support from the HR shared services as well as from the IT perspective. From the employee point of view, the old approach offered limited self-service capability, which could make it time-consuming to complete common HR journeys. To solve these challenges while enhancing the employee experience as well as to benefit from SaaS offerings, we decided to replace disparate global processes with unified, consistent standards.”

Siemens looked for solutions that would allow a common and accelerated rollout approach to HR management across all three Siemens companies, driven by HR and the Global Shared Services organization.

Searching for an integrated solution

To make its vision a reality, Siemens HR, Global Shared Services and the IT department issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a new HCM solution. After an in-depth evaluation process, the company determined that cloud-based Workday solutions — implemented by a team of industry and technology experts from IBM — were the best fit for its digital transformation target.

“Our RFP included both functional HR and IT criteria,” comments Reichert. “On the functional side, we were looking for a solution that would deliver frictionless journeys for common HR use cases — both for managers and for employees. On the IT side, we were targeting a solution that would simplify our management, maintenance and support requirements, freeing our Global Shared Services team to spend more time on value-added activities. Of all the solutions we considered, we were most impressed with Workday Human Capital Management. The combination of advanced HCM capabilities from Workday and IBM’s deep experience around similar large-scale HR projects convinced us that we could hit our goals for simple HR processes and lean IT service provisioning.”

A team collaborating
three coworkers looking at a tablet

Reichert continues: “We were keen to avoid the cost and complexity of manual integration work, so the fact that Workday offers a fully integrated suite of solutions, including Absence Management, Compensation and Talent Management — all delivered from the cloud — was very compelling. During the RFP, the Workday solution also far surpassed other vendors in terms of the user experience, which convinced us it was the optimal choice. Crucially, the close strategic relationship between a certified IBM workforce and Workday gave us the peace of mind from the beginning that our IBM project team had the know-how to make the best possible use of these new mobile capabilities — helping us to replace local paper processes as well as legacy HCM systems, increase flexibility and support global HR offerings.”

Selecting a proven partner

Early in the planning stage, Siemens defined its global rollout approach jointly with its businesses — Siemens AG, Siemens Healthineers AG and Siemens Energy AG — clustering the countries for regional rollouts. However, even this clustered approach required up to 10 separate Workday instances, creating approximately 30 parallel workstreams for the implementation. To help manage this complexity, reduce business risk and accelerate deployment, Siemens engaged expert support from IBM Services.

“IBM Services came to us highly recommended, and from the very beginning it was clear that IBM had the deep technology know-how and global project experience that would help us succeed,” recalls Reichert. “The fact that IBM uses Workday solutions itself — and implemented the solution internally using their own consultants and technical resources — reassured us that we were in safe hands.”

A person having a video conference
Worker at computer

Working with IBM Services, Siemens decided to begin the implementation of Workday Human Capital Management in its Southwestern Europe region. This full-suite deployment included apps for Absence Management, Compensation and Talent Management, as well as the integration with the existing legacy HR payroll system. For the rest of the world, the company elected to deploy Workday Talent Management first, and introduce the remaining solution components gradually on a country-by-country basis. In order to facilitate the rollout, Siemens used its existing instance of IBM Watson® technology to enrich HR processes with AI capabilities.

“Many of our global HCM systems are heavily customized, based on the specific legal and tax requirements of the local jurisdiction — particularly our legacy payroll solutions,” explains Reichert. “IBM helped us identify an opportunity to accelerate the deployment of the new solutions based on a Global Process template by clustering similar countries into a regional rollout, for example creating the ‘Southwestern Europe region.’ This recommendation from IBM as well as IBM’s global footprint proved extremely valuable, as it allowed us to avoid the significant complexity of attempting to redesign multiple country-specific processes at the same time.”

An innovative methodology

During the initial deployment of Workday Human Capital Management, IBM developed an innovative methodology to help streamline the rollout of the solutions to other global regions. Named the IBM Factory Method, the approach is driven by repeatable patterns and templates (such as the Global Process template), overlaid with robust governance frameworks and a standard approach for evaluating and approving country-specific change requests for the Workday solutions.

Reichert adds: “We are very impressed with the efficiencies we gain with the IBM Factory Method. By implementing best-practices approaches developed in collaboration with IBM Services, we will be able to replace legacy HCM systems around the world with Workday’s offerings significantly faster.”

Team collaborating at a conference table

Achieving a smooth deployment

coworkers looking at a computer

By following the IBM Factory Method, Siemens has successfully deployed Workday’s HR Admin and Talent Management processes in 35 countries across Europe and Asia Pacific. The company predicts that rollout will be completed within the next 24 months — well ahead of the end-of-life deadline for its current HCM systems. To allow Siemens to focus on core activities, the company engaged IBM® Application Management Services to deliver ongoing maintenance and support.

“This is a complex project involving 30 parallel workstreams, but IBM Services helped us cut through this complexity and achieve smooth deployment of our Workday solutions — including a big-bang implementation of Workday Talent Management across the entire global business,” comments Reichert. “IBM has enabled us to unlock synergies and cost-efficiencies for Workday across all three Siemens companies, and we are very impressed with the IBM team’s professionalism.”

The foundations for HR excellence

As it speeds ahead with deployment of the Workday solutions, Siemens is confident that global standardization for HR processes will unlock cost-efficiencies and enhance the employee experience.

“As we continue to move away from legacy HCM systems to the defined Global Process provided via the Workday cloud, we will create opportunities to decommission costly on-premises infrastructure,” says Reichert. “At the same time, harmonizing our global HR policies and processes will allow our Global Shared Services organization to deliver HCM capabilities to the global business more efficiently, and improve the support delivered to global business organizations.”

Most importantly, the new Workday solutions enabled by IBM empowers Siemens to strengthen its position as a global employer of choice — helping it to attract, retain and develop the talent it needs to transform Siemens into a digital company.

“Today, 40,000 Siemens employees across 35 countries can access self-service HR capabilities securely and conveniently right from their smartphone,” comments Reichert. “Top talent in the tech space increasingly expects employers to allow them to interact with HR quickly and seamlessly via the digital channels. We believe our project with IBM and Workday is playing an important role in helping us to satisfy this industry imperative.”

Man using digital tablet

Planning for the future

Two coworkers collaborating at a whiteboard

Siemens is already planning ways to build on its successes with Workday and IBM. The company is investigating the possibility of deploying Workday Prism to enable deeper analytics insights into global workforce, and Workday Cloud Platform to enrich the current Workday offering with further Siemens-specific HR functionality.

“One of our current objectives is to drive adoption of the Workday solutions and equip our personnel with the information they need to get maximum value from the platform,” adds Reichert. “In a previous engagement with IBM, Siemens created a virtual assistant for HR support powered by IBM Watson technology: CARL. We plan to use CARL to answer employee questions about Workday — all in natural language, and available 24x7.”

Based on its positive experiences with IBM Services, Siemens plans to continue its close collaboration. Reichert concludes: “If I had to give one piece of advice for a company embarking on a HCM transformation project, it would be to choose the right partner from the very beginning in order to ensure a timely, high-quality and cost-efficient implementation, deployment and operations. IBM Services has been an invaluable source of support to Siemens, and we look forward to working together to bring the benefits of Workday’s offering to all our global employees.”

Siemens Group logo

About Siemens Group

Headquartered in Munich, Germany, SiemensExternal Link is a technology company focused on industry, infrastructure, mobility and healthcare. Examples include resource-efficient factories, resilient supply chains, smarter buildings, intelligent grids and advanced transportation. Siemens Group employs around 293,000 people worldwide, generating around EUR 57 billion in annual revenue.

Solution components
Siemens Group logo

About Siemens Group

Headquartered in Munich, Germany, SiemensExternal Link is a technology company focused on industry, infrastructure, mobility and healthcare. Examples include resource-efficient factories, resilient supply chains, smarter buildings, intelligent grids and advanced transportation. Siemens Group employs around 293,000 people worldwide, generating around EUR 57 billion in annual revenue.

Solution components