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Case Study

How Sysomos Built a Scalable Source of Truth for Employee Data

  • Industry
    Technology
  • Location
    Toronto, ON + International Offices
  • Size
    200 Employees

About Sysomos

Sysomos is a social media monitoring and analytics solution that empowers brands and agencies to take action on data-driven insights and drive customer engagement.

  • Serves 1,200+ customers
  • Workforce skews Millennial
  • Largest departments include Customer Success, Sales, and Engineering
Meet Omer and Marty

Omer Aziz, Senior VP of Human Resources

Omer’s educational and professional journey began in engineering—until he had an opportunity to work on a project with the HR department. He realized he had stumbled upon a “highly unusual, but really interesting combination” of skills that he would pursue in the years to come. Since then, he’s gone back and forth between roles in engineering and HR, but has focused primarily on HR for the last six years, working for high-tech telecommunications companies. He joined Sysomos in the summer of 2015.

Marty Brown, Director of Human Resources

In college, Marty studied a range of topics including marketing, HR, and anthropology. His first internship led him to a career in HR, and he’s worn a variety of hats: HR Analytics Advisor, Program Manager, Business Partner, and HR Operations Manager. Marty was drawn to Sysomos because of the company’s focus on big data and analytics—plus he was excited about the opportunity to take on a role with broad responsibilities. “I love that every day is a little different, and I constantly have my hands in something else.”

Challenges

“I was spending nearly half my workday manipulating this spreadsheet and praying I didn’t make too many mistakes.”

When Omer started at Sysomos, they had no HRIS in place. All employee data was managed in an Excel spreadsheet that was maintained by him and a few others. His primary goal when he came on board was to make that spreadsheet as robust as possible. However, even when he’d gotten the spreadsheet into peak condition, he found that pulling data and deriving insights was still a manual, time-intensive, and error-prone process. “You know that guy in high school who had a Honda Civic and souped it all up? And to him, that car was like a Porsche, but in the grand scheme of things, it was really just a junky car? That’s how I think of our spreadsheet.”

Sysomos' wishlist:

+ Low-Cost Yet Robust HRIS

When Omer interviewed at Sysomos, he asked his CEO “What’s the one thing you want me to accomplish in my first year?” The answer? “I want you to build a foundation.” Omer knew the cornerstone of that foundation would be an HRIS, but he needed to find a platform that would meet their needs without breaking the bank.

+ Single Source for Employee Data

The CEO of Sysomos came from Microsoft and is very numbers-oriented. He asked data-based questions often and didn’t like when the answers weren’t accurate. Omer spent about 40% of his day trying to manipulate the company spreadsheet to find answers.

+ A Scalable Solution

When the company announced plans to quadruple in size within two years, Omer knew there was no way the spreadsheet would continue to work long-term. “The idea of maintaining records for that many people, when I was already struggling to do it with 150, told me it was time to invest in an HRIS.”

The Evaluation

The search for an HRIS that was not too big, not too small, but just right.

Workday was Omer’s first thought when searching for an HRIS. “I was invited to a Workday conference, and it was there that I realized they are really geared towards enterprise clients. We would be way out of our league, price range, and frankly our desire with a platform like that.”

On the flip side, platforms like Bamboo seemed too small. He remembers thinking, “We’re the type of company that just falls through the cracks between these big enterprise providers and these rinky-dink ‘Excel-on-steroids’ providers.” It seemed to him that there were only two extremes, and neither felt like the right fit.

And then, a cold call from Jackie Brown, a Namely Account Executive, changed everything.

Through his conversations with Jackie, Omer was sold on Namely. He loved the cloud-based architecture—and the price tag that fit within his budget. “I didn’t like the idea of paying to maintain or upgrade my system in order to access new features. With cloud-based software, I knew I’d automatically get any improvements.”

Bring your HRIS into the cloud. Schedule a demo to see what Namely can do for you.

When it came to getting his CFO on board, Omer pointed to the broken data flow between HR and Finance. Given the low cost, Omer pitched Namely as “a low-risk solution with the potential to significantly improve our data flow,” and the CFO was sold.

Better data was critical in getting the CEO to sign off, too. Omer told him he knew an HRIS would be crucial for building the foundation of HR at Sysomos. He’d done his research and was confident that Namely was the best solution. It wasn’t long before the CEO gave his approval, and Sysomos officially became a Namely client.

Solution

The ROI of Using Namely

Omer’s vision for how Namely would help HR scale quickly become a reality. Here’s what most excites the Sysomos team.

“Not only does Namely save us tons of time and manual effort, but it also enables us to achieve things that were virtually impossible with our old system.”

BONUS: Using Data to Predict Company Trends

Inspired by the first-place “Namely Predict” project that came to light during the Namely’s third annual Hackathon, Omer set out to use Namely data and analytics to predict which employees were at risk of attrition. He pulled a report based on three criteria, employees who 1) Had not experienced a title change in the last year, 2) Had not received a raise in the last year, and 3) were high-performers during those quarters.

He gave that list to the CEO and they worked together to devise proactive salary recommendations for these “at-risk” employees who had performed well but hadn’t been recognized for it. As fate would have it, one of the employees on that list approached his VP soon after, asking to talk about his salary, and thanks to the report, the VP was fully prepared for the conversation. “This wouldn’t have been possible with the old spreadsheet, but took a mere 10 minutes in Namely.”

Advice

“The tool is flexible enough to allow us to do things in the system even if it isn’t the functionality it was meant for.”

Considering Namely? Here’s Omer and Marty’s Advice.

First things first, educate yourself. When Marty joined Sysomos, one of his primary responsibilities was implementing Namely. He began by poking around in the system and was impressed by the possibilities. “The platform is really customizable, and the power to make those changes was in my hands, so it was important to make sure I really knew what I was doing.” After working closely with his Support Consultant and attending training sessions, he was ready to take the reins.

Marty and Omer don’t take the tools at face-value. They take pride in using Namely creatively, to solve an even wider range of business problems. For example, Marty recently launched employee handbook acknowledgement using the Performance module. They stress that these out-of-the-box solutions only add to the benefits of Namely.

Lastly, they recommend that Namely clients utilize the service offerings. “We’ve been on calls with the Product Team giving them ideas and feedback, and we’ve done the same through engaging with Backstage Pass [Namely’s client community]. Namely’s receptivity to feedback makes it so clear that they care about the client first. I always know there’s something being cooked up behind the scenes that’s going to make us happy. That’s the kind of service provider you want.”

Sysomos is one of the 1,000+ companies that use Namely to streamline their HR, payroll, benefits and time management needs.

Ready to see how Namely can be the source of truth for your company’s HR data? Request your demo today.

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