When a company has a global workforce, ensuring staff are managed in a consistent way can be difficult to pull off.

One company wrestling with this problem is Expro Group, an oilfield servicing company that employs more than 5,000 people in 50 countries worldwide.

Expro uses SuccessFactors, SAP’s cloud-based HR suite, to help standardise the way it manages its fast-growing workforce.

The company is adding more staff at a rapid pace and said it needs to ensure it is treating new recruits in the same way in every location across the world.

“From the Gulf of Mexico to Africa it’s not easy to make sure everyone is working to the same standard,” said Martin Ogden, CIO of Expro Group.

The company is using SuccessFactors to ensure a standardised approach to onboarding, the process of adding staff to the company’s identity and access management system.

Ogden said SuccessFactors is providing data for and automatically populating Microsoft Active Directory, the service that authenticates and authorises user permissions inside Windows domains.

“That enables us to drive workflows based on that data for all of our Windows systems,” Ogden said.

“Traditionally we had to maintain a list of user names in an independent system, which fundamentally was somebody just typing in some names. What we’re planning to do now is to take that data direct out of HR so all our workflows are constantly updated and correct.”

Ogden said that Expro is moving from sharing data between siloed systems using “rudimentary” means, such as intermittent data dumps, to looking to use software such as Dell Boomi to integrate on-premise and cloud applications.

Whenever tasked with deploying a new computer system Ogden said his starting point is to ask whether there is a cloud-based service that can carry this task out, followed by a hosted third-party service and then an on-premise system.

However Ogden said that didn’t mean Expro always chose cloud-based services, as sometimes there would be commercial or technical drawbacks that pushed them toward an alternative.