Transforming Human Resources At Novartis: The Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

By Charles O'Reilly III, Irene Wang
2004 | Case No. HR22
In 2003, Norman Walker, head of HR at Novartis, received approval from the Management Board to implement a global HRIS system. Although Walker had made substantial progress in transforming the HR function, much of their efforts remained transactional and not strategic. If successful, the implementation of the HRIS would change the role and responsibilities of not only the HR organization but how it added value to the company. Since its formation in 1996, Dan Vasella, the CEO, had transformed the organization from one with slow moving functional silos into a high performance company. His goal was to make Novartis a “premier talent machine by 2005.” The new global HRIS was a key element in this transformation. It was clear to Walker that this was a major organizational change effort, not simply an IT implementation. The case describes the changes Walker had already made and poses a set of challenges that will need to be addressed in order to implement the new HRIS project.
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