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States Update Decades-Old Human Capital Management Systems

From benefits and payroll to performance management and policy, government HCM systems must be up to the task of tracking, monitoring and consolidating personnel data in a digital world.

close up of a person's hand entering numbers into a calculator
Human capital management (HCM) system software is a suite of technologies that helps employers manage employees’ needs. For government, these systems do that and more, including handling employee benefits, attendance and talent management throughout an employee’s tenure with the organization.


Georgia’s enterprise resource planning system, PeopleSoft HCM and Finance, was implemented in 1998 and supports over 100 organizations, according to Gerlda Hines, the state’s accounting officer.

Currently, this system is hosted on-premise with servers in a state data center. It supports human capital management functions associated with human resources, like promotions, demotions and transfers, along with monitoring employee benefits, payroll, time and attendance, and labor distribution. Other uses include talent management, which involves recruiting, performance management and learning management across state organizations.

We continue to find areas that need harmonization in order to capitalize on the efficiencies of a modern system.
However, after 25 years, Georgia’s system needs some upgrades to enable new capabilities.

“Over the years, the system has been highly customized in several key areas, limiting the ability to leverage new features and functionality available in newer software releases,” Hines said in an email.

Other issues include not having enough qualified employees to support the aging technology, resulting in the system becoming more difficult and costly to maintain. Georgia is now looking to replace it with a cloud-based solution. The cost of replacing this system isn’t yet known, but Hines estimates the replacement will be complete by 2025.

“With a modern, cloud-based ERP system, Georgia hopes to transition to a single integrated platform to minimize third-party and duplicated services across the enterprise,” she said. “A more modern, robust system would improve service levels by automating manual processes, enhance user functionality, leverage industry best standards to ensure information security, enhance reporting and analytics, and reduce and eliminate paper-based processes.”


Updating Oklahoma’s HCM system became imperative after the state’s previous 16-plus-year-old platform had not been updated for about half its lifespan.

As a result, Oklahoma’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) launched its new Workday@OK system in August 2022.

According to an OMES spokesperson, one of the biggest drivers for the update besides its age was the onset of COVID-19, which forced the state to improve its ability to perform HR functions with newly remote and hybrid workforces. Most of the cost associated with the upgrade was around licensing, implementation, staff augmentation, backfill and training.

“The full implementation of the Workday@OK system spanned a full two years,” said Liz Brandon, director of Workday Operations at OMES, via email.

At the same time, Brandon added, “we began work that is still ongoing to harmonize business processes among state agencies that would feed into the Workday@OK system. Now that we are live, we are focused on providing assistance and further training to our partner agencies and are excited about all the efficiencies this will bring the state.”

But that work to consolidate business practices among Oklahoma’s 118 executive branch agencies is not without its challenges.

“We continue to find areas that need harmonization in order to capitalize on the efficiencies of a modern system,” the OMES spokesperson said via email, adding that training needs are significant, which is to be expected for such a large project.

With that in mind, the state’s short- term goals include stabilizing the system to ensure all agencies can carry out their duties smoothly, developing a contractor and vendor management process, and integrating with other state systems.'


North Carolina’s SAP infrastructure, the core of its HCM applications, was released in 2005. The state then launched its enterprise resource planning central component (ECC) in 2008.

By 2016, it was decided that no additional functional HR enhancements would be made to ECC applications except for certain elements such as the system’s user interface, security and regulatory mandates by SAP.

As a result, “the system’s condition is increasingly out of date with respect to core HR functionalities,” according to Chryste Hofer, CIO of North Carolina’s Office of State Human Resources (OSHR).

To address this, Hofer said in an email to GovTech, the state will tackle HCM modernization in conjunction with a general update to its ERP system. “The intent is to explore options for the whole human capital management suite, excluding payroll.”

This new option would include all functionality supported by the state’s current HCM system, including employee and manager self-services, workforce management, EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) administration, position description management, organizational charting, talent management, including learning and performance, grievance management, safety and incident management, and benefits administration. Ideally the system will ultimately integrate payroll. Hofer said OSHR plans to roll out the HR modules in phases.

OSHR issued a request for information (RFI) in 2019 and has continued evaluating products, recommending a cloud-based solution. The agency requested funding in the annual state budget process since 2021, but while it was included in the governor’s proposed 2022 budget, it was not part of the state’s final appropriations act. OSHR says they will continue to work to secure the funding and implement the system in the next three to five years.

This story from our March 2023 magazine is part of a larger look at modernizing state systems. Click here to read the rest of the feature.
Katya Diaz is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.