Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is a leading-edge nuclear technology and services company providing services to utilities worldwide. Over 4,000 highly skilled employees enthusiastically deliver a range of nuclear services: from R&D support, construction management, design and engineering to specialized technology, waste management and decommissioning in support of CANDU reactor products. AECL can be found on the Internet at: www.aecl.ca
Whitecap Canada was selected by AECL for this project based on their unique and deep understanding of the discipline and systems related to Human Resource Management.
At the onset of this project, AECL was utilizing an existing Manager’s Desktop application for salary administration, which required the use of Excel spreadsheets and involved complicated, multi-step processes for the retrieval of employee information from the company’s PeopleSoft HR/Payroll system, none of which could be performed outside the office. As a result, the process of salary administration by managers was inconvenient, time-consuming and inefficient, and AECL made the decision to replace its current Manager’s Desktop application with a new and redesigned salary administration and human resource management application in order to satisfy the following business objectives:
- Improved efficiency of the salary administration process;
- The elimination of the need for cumbersome and unruly Excel spreadsheets in order to perform salary administration;
- The provision controlled web based access to the application within AECL’s network and from offsite locations;
- The streamlining of managers’ ability to obtain employee information (basic, personal, leave & attendance, education, etc.)
Another key challenge in this development was that the newly designed Manager’s Self-Service (MSS) application needed to be ready for production within less than 6 months after the onset of the project in order to satisfy the requirements for all salary cycles.
Whitecap worked with co-operatively with Compensation and Benefits stakeholders and ITS systems development personnel at AECL to identify opportunities for improvement in order to develop a new Manager’s Self-Service (MSS) application to provide managers with a controlled web-based access to employee information, via access to back-end systems where data was otherwise not in a web-presentable format, as well as a salary administration module.
With strong participation, Whitecap developed an e-Business Plan and Strategy Document and executed the design and development of the AECL MSS application as follows:
- Designed a highly intuitive web-based system that enables AECL managers to access employee information and manage the salary review process that provides solid performance during peak times, such as salary review, and manages concurrent access to the same branch of the hierarchy tree.
- Designed a new creative look and feel for the system web user interfaces according to AECL standards for colours and corporate logos.
- Created interfaces to back-end systems (i.e. PeopleSoft HR/Payroll) and an intuitive access module with drill-down and roll-up on the organization hierarchy to provide managers with up-to-date personnel and job/department information including:
- Service dates;
- Job details;
- Employee training information (via a hyperlink to OnTrack Online);
- Leave data, including attendance/leave management;
- Personal information.
- Design and development of a fully web-based, integrated salary administration module that allows managers to input, calculate, manage, summarize and report against salary planning information.
- Development of an automated data load process to load data from Excel (holding PeopleSoft data) into the salary-planning tool and upload back to PeopleSoft after the salary administration has been completed.
- Implementation of single sign-on authentication to the application, and secure, personalized access to employee data from within AECL’s network and from offsite locations via VPN, iPass or the Terminal server.
- Design and implementation of an audit trail to capture actual change details, change dates and ownership of system changes.
- Design and development of a Benefits & Compensation administration module, enabling the management and administration of benefits and compensation changes, such as increases and performance ratings for all salary grades and cut-off dates for the salary review process, among others.
The new MSS system was successfully developed and implemented to production for July of 2006, and AECL reports improved efficiency of salary and benefits administration, as well as improvements to accessibility of employee information.
Key benefits of the application include:
- Intuitive automation of the salary administration process and elimination of unruly Excel spreadsheets.
- Centralized access to HR/Payroll system data, some of which was otherwise inaccessible in a presentable format from the back-end PeopleSoft system.
- Increased accessibility of the web-based system as compared to the original desktop application. The system can now be accessed via any workstation on the AECL internal LAN, as well as externally via the VPN, iPass and Terminal Server, resulting in increased flexibility to usage requirements.
- Automated auditing of system changes to enable rollback functionality in the event of an error.
For the web-based application the development methodology was based largely on Whitecap’s e-RAD (e-Business Requirements Analysis & Design) process, which led to the development and documentation of a Strategic e-Business Implementation Plan (SeBIP) via a series of face-to-face interviews between Whitecap’s project manager and solutions architects and key stakeholders at AECL. Whitecap utilized an iterative approach to the creative design of the new web pages, ensuring AECL’s involvement in the design process, as well as their complete satisfaction with the pages.
Design, development and coding of the MSS application were performed at Whitecap’s offices, including the definition of PeopleSoft database queries and connectivity to the HR/Payroll system, the design and build of a supporting database for the application, and the programming, unit testing and system testing of MSS application pages and reports.
Whitecap also participated in the transitioning of the MSS application to production, including the deployment of the application to the AECL pre-production environment, application load testing, AECL integration and system testing, application deployment to the AECL environment and AECL Beta User Acceptance Testing. Whitecap also provided post-deployment support and knowledge transfer to the AECL IT team in the form of training sessions.