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Open Enrollment Goes Online With SAP Employee Self-Service

Posted on: October 12th, 2011 by Al Ling

Continuing their partnership aimed at launching more self-service functionality for University employees, the offices of Human Resources (HR) and Information Technology (IT) launched “Open Enrollment 2012: The Online Version” on October 1, 2011. This new service allows employees to make changes to their benefits plans through myOleMiss for the entire month of October.

In the past, Open Enrollment took place within a single week in October. Employees wanting to make changes to their benefit plans had to visit the Human Resources office during that week and meet individually with representatives from the various benefit providers to adjust their selections. This could be a time consuming process, especially if several employees wanted to meet with the same representative. Now employees can make their selections 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the enrollment period.

ESS Open Enrollment Menu

Open Enrollment is part of the SAP Employee Self-Service (ESS) application for the myOleMiss portal. However, from a technical standpoint, Open Enrollment differs greatly from the other ESS applications launched within the past year. The two ESS applications that allow an employee to change address or bank details have customized Web interfaces developed within IT using SAP’s Web Dynpro ABAP development tool. However, these applications still use the delivered ESS framework for updating employee data within the SAP.

For ESS Open Enrollment, the decision was made early on in the project to use as much of SAP’s ‘out of the box’ functionality as technically possible. This decision was made due to the complexity of the benefits enrollment process in general.

However, a good amount of customization did take place in an effort to make the application fit better within UM’s environment, and SAP provided tools to make the customizing effort as straightforward as possible. For example, the Homepage Framework within the SAP ERP system, allows for both subtle changes to ‘out of the box’ ESS functionality as well as for the addition of new screen elements. An example of the latter is the “Instructions for Open Enrollment” section of the Open Enrollment landing page, which was created using the tools provided by this framework.

While the Homepage Framework provided a great start in terms of customizing the application to meet the needs and expectations of HR, there still remained some elements of the user interface that required changes, but were not accessible via this framework. Some research on the SAP Community Network (SCN) by Pooja Saxena, Systems Analyst III (IT), led to the adoption of a customization technique within the myOleMiss development portal that allowed for unnecessary fields to be hidden, selected fields to be marked as required, field labels to be renamed, and more help text to be added to assist users during the enrollment process. The end result is a minimally customized application that provides a great service to University employees.

Since its launch on October 1st, the feedback from employees has been positive. Pamela Johnson, Assistant Director of Benefits and Compensation in the Office of Human Resources, shares in the excitement about the launch of ESS Open Enrollment. “The University is excited about using SAP’s Employee Self-Service module for the implementation of Online Open Enrollment. Administratively, the online system will streamline the enrollment process, enable the University to extend the Open Enrollment period, and hold employees accountable for benefit elections. Human Resources staff, in conjunction with Information Technology personnel, decided to use the benefits self-service module with minimal customization. The end result is a system that is easy to navigate and meets the University’s Open Enrollment needs.”

For more information about ESS Open Enrollment, please visit the HR Open Enrollment website. ESS Open Enrollment will be available through October 31, 2011.

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