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Hitachi transforms HR function for Gowling WLG with Oracle HCM Cloud

Gowling WLG







Lack of employee engagement, No global view of HR data, with limited ability to implement company-wide processes, Limited capability to provide real-time analytics to decision-makers.



Intuitive user interface providing access to data and actions pertinent to roles, Platform housing all HR data allows Gowling WLG to manage and monitor processes across the globe, Different levels of access to secured reports and dashboards, based on management level.


  • Scalable HR solution that can grow and evolve with Gowling WLG
  • Single global source of truth for HR data and processes
  • Real-time international access to operational and strategic HR analytics


  • International law firm with 1400+ legal professionals
  • Operates in 17 offices around the world
  • Grown through acquisition

This international law firm formed when the Canadian firm Gowlings combined with the UK firm of Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. Now, Gowling WLG’s 1400+ legal professionals are located in 17 offices around the world. Although the combined law firm is relatively new, its roots trace back to the 18th century.

Hitachi brought subject matter expertise and prior client experience, including deployments. The blend of Hitachi’s onshore and offshore capabilities with Gowling WLG’s resources was an incredibly successful model.

– Chris Oglethorpe, Global HR Director, Gowling WLG

Today, Gowling WLG serves clients across multiple sectors: energy, financial services, life sciences, natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and technology. The law firm works to build strong relationships with clients, and fosters an internal culture that values people and teams.

Business Challenge

As a result of growth through mergers and acquisitions, the HR system used by Gowling WLG only covered a fraction of the organisation’s personnel and did not support all the desired human capital management (HCM) processes globally. Offices outside of the UK did not have access to all HR systems and processes.

To fill these gaps, numerous tasks were performed manually. Because data was not held centrally, the firm could not analyse information cohesively, resulting in a lack of management insights. There was limited real-time access into workforce data, and global people information was unavailable to management.

Requirements put into place by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) created additional challenges for the firm. Personally identifiable information (PII) was difficult to keep current and synchronised. Gowling WLG needed one global information repository for employee data, which would allow the firm to adopt globally consistent processes and maintain GDPR compliance across its multiple locations.


Hitachi Vantara was selected to implement a series of Oracle HCM Cloud modules, creating a single system on a unified platform that would increase HR’s capability to offer a modern service, reduce manual processing, provide real-time visibility and access to data, and leverage analytics to deliver management insights. Hitachi stood apart because of its approach to delivering cloud HCM, extensive experience, and the strength of its references.

“When partnering on such an important project, I place trust in the provider’s expertise and ability to guide us through the project and overcome any obstacles that arise,” said Chris Oglethorpe, Global HR Director for Gowling WLG. “We undertook comprehensive due diligence, and after speaking to other clients, we decided upon Hitachi.”

Work began with a series of workshops that captured client requirements. The project was organised into two phases, with a single project manager coordinating work and resources across both organisations. Phase one included Global Human Resources, Absence Management, Benefits Administration and Learning Management functionality. The team created a suite of reports and dashboards, and established 14 bi-directional integrations, where people data was exchanged between Oracle HCM Cloud and other third-party systems. Work was completed in seven months and rolled out for 1400 employees across six countries.

Phase two enhanced phase one functionality with the addition of Taleo Recruitment and On-Boarding, Talent Management and Workforce Compensation. “The key to completing an extensive amount of work within fairly aggressive timelines was our ‘One Team’ approach, where we blended Hitachi onshore and offshore resources with Gowling WLG’s subject matter experts to form a single global delivery team,” said Arpit Rajani, former Director and Oracle Delivery Lead, Hitachi.

The team used Hitachi proprietary tools to lower risk, accelerate benefit realisation and reduce costs with a predictable, templated approach. The Hitachi Requirements Traceability Matrix captured and tracked client requirements through design, development, testing and post-implementation. A fit gap approach to design was applied, resulting in standard processes and functionality being adopted globally.

Value Delivered

Transformed HR function
Gowling WLG now uses an HR system that is easily accessible, faster and more intuitive. Manual processes and the use of spreadsheets are significantly reduced, increasing efficiency and accuracy. The new system provides a consistent approach for HR processes globally. Employees access and manage their own information, completing tasks such as benefits selection, training enrollment or absence requests. This is enabling the HR function to focus on providing a value-added service to the wider business.

One accurate data source

HR processes are managed from one system, which accesses data from a single reference source containing accurate and complete workforce information across locations and countries. Information required by the wider business, or for contracts and bids, can be extracted easily via the suite of reports and dashboards. Oracle HCM Cloud allows Gowling WLG to maintain compliance with privacy regulations that can differ by country.

Insights from analytics
Managers, Senior Managers, Practice Leads and Partners at Gowling WLG now have role-specific, actionable insights via dashboards and analytics that provide real-time information on employees and operations.


As a professional services law firm, Gowling WLG’s most valuable asset is its people. Modernising the firm’s people management platform across the globe provides a far more efficient and effective service from HR. Gowling WLG can now deliver comprehensive, up-to-date information at the touch of a button from a scalable, cloud-based solution that will grow and evolve with the firm.

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