Get the right people on board when navigating HRMS waters

Automated human resources management systems (HRMS) provide cost savings and increased operation efficiency. However, finding the ideal set of applications for your organization and getting the executive backing for the purchase is not always easy.

It’s best to start by getting the right combination of users and decision makers to buy into the selection process, advice software and HR issues specialists advise.

“Selecting a new HR solution requires input from stakeholders and sponsorship from the various business units and leaders,” according to Morgan Chmara, research analyst for Info-Tech Research Group of London, Ont.

By consulting these key individuals, Chmara said, the purchaser can identify the “needs and wants” of the firm and develop a better vision of the new system.

She said the selection team members can include:

CEO or board level executive – Sponsorship and commitment at this level represents financial backing and leadership input.

Senior management — This should include members from Finance, HR and IT.

Line Management – Individuals who will be involved or be affected by the project. For example, managers in charge of the administrative side of hiring, budget headcount performance tracking and payroll.

HR administration – These are people who will be using the HR solution regularly.

Employees – Non- HR people who will be the actual users of the HR system.

Whether the organization is a small five-person shop or a company in excess of 500 full time employees, research is critical, says Debbie McGrath, CEO for online hiring firm HR.Com.

“Once you’ve identified your needs, research will help you trim down choices from the dizzying options available in the market,” she said.

McGrath suggest searching online for the tools, asking current users about their experiences, reading market research materials, consulting software specialists, joining peer networks or inviting vendors to do presentations.

According to Info-Tech, HR systems fall into three major groups: niche products, pure-play and suites solutions.

Niche solutions, focus on one aspect of HR management such as payroll, recruitment or time and labour management. Pure-play products provide full-service functionality and modularized HR systems. Suite solutions are larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems where the HR functionality is a module of a bigger application.

Typical features and functions now available in HR solutions include: succession planning; performance management; career development, training and development; recruitment and applicant tracking; compensation administration, payroll processing; benefits administration; leave processing; reporting; time recording; and grievance and industrial relations management.

Immediate and ongoing costs of an HR system include software licences, staff training and adjusting business processes. With this in mind, the selection team must also consider the ideal solution delivery method, said Chmara.

The traditional on-premise delivery model involves the licensing and local deployment and maintenance of the software. The IT staff training, customization, infrastructure preparation required by this model makes for a longer implementation run.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is becoming an increasingly adopted delivery model in the mid-market space. Most HR systems vendors rent out their applications and host the software via Internet. This model allows organizations to defer and save on HR hardware and software costs.

Enterprises are also moving most HR functions to the Web. The employee self service (ESS) model allows workers and managers to govern their HR information and handle many job-related tasks such as applications for re-imbursement, updates to personal information and access to company information.

ESS software products are available as stand-alone products or as a component of a larger application.

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