activities. “We’ve been able to clean up our records and streamline the whole process,” says Papa.
In the past, a standalone master employee program maintained personnel records and sent updates to any CSX application that needed the information, which ranged from HR
applications to plant security systems. An ongoing challenge for
CSX was the additional tracking required for outside contractors,
retirees, and spouses receiving benefits from deceased former
employees, plus regular full-time
employees. In the past, CSX relied
on custom codes to distinguish
each of these groups. Contractors
received a Z at the start of their
employee ID, for example.
But when everybody is
lumped in the system as an
employee, a coding error might
mean that a spouse or contractor begins receiving checks
from the payroll system. “With the person model, there is
no opportunity for somebody to get paid or get benefits that
they’re not supposed to get,” says Michele Hellstern, director of human resources information systems and workforce
analytics at CSX.
With the new PeopleSoft implementation, software executives can also readily create reports about any group in the
personnel database to see how many full-time employees
and contractors are working in a particular department, for
example, without facing the onerous task of writing custom
queries using unique codes. In a time of staff volatility the
new system also enables CSX to use the same employee IDs
“The time had come to retire the
old system. . . . The upgrade laid
the foundation for migrating off
—Tony Papa, Director of Applications Development, CSX
to track an employee throughout his or her career with the
company, even in the common instance that someone begins
as a contractor but is eventually hired as a full-timer. “We can
look back to track all of their training and certifications over
the years,” Hellstern adds.
Eventually, the person model will help CSX create a Web
service that feeds employee information to all the other appli-
cations that now maintain separate records. “Our vision is to
create a portal for managers and
employees that all connects back
to PeopleSoft,” Hellstern says.
That single source of truth
would support improvements
in two areas critical to HR managers at CSX: talent management and succession planning.
Facing a wave of retirements
in the next few years, executives at CSX need new tools to
track the skills available in the workforce and identify where
investments must be made for training and recruitment.
CSX’s HR department has created a plan to rotate younger
managers into a variety of new positions to round out their
understanding of CSX’s operations and acquire skills to fill
vacancies as they open up. CSX is also re-evaluating its compensation program, which relies heavily on manual processing of compensation plans and incentive bonuses. These
activities may eventually be managed by PeopleSoft
eCompensation Manager Desktop, which would eliminate
another custom application and the hard-to-maintain customizations that come with it.
With Modernization Comes Housecleaning
CSX used its Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise
upgrade project as an opportunity
to consolidate and modernize the
underlying infrastructure. This included
virtualizing the servers that would run
the new PeopleSoft software, and the
benefits of virtualization appeared early
in the modernization process. A fleet
of virtual servers meant that CSX could
quickly set up and reallocate test bed
servers and storage resources to run
scores of test scripts.
“We felt there could never be too
much testing. We ran dry run after dry
run—testing, fixing, and retesting,”
says Tony Papa, director of applica-
tions development at CSX. When a
module passed its tests, the IT teams
ran the scripts once more to get their
timing down for the weekend when the
actual upgrade occurred. “This was
crucial so that everybody knew what
tasks had to be run before, during, and
after the upgrade,” he adds.