Q: How do you know when it is time to change your HRIS?

by 08 Sep 2010

Q: How do you know when it is time to change your HRIS?

A: I don’t think there is any dispute that all good things eventually come to an end, or at least require some maintenance to continue delivering a benefit.

Technology is no different. In fact the times we face questioning the effectiveness and relevance of a solution, are probably coming around a lot quicker than ever before.

The trick is knowing when it’s time to change. This can sometimes be difficult, compounded by a tendency to hold on to legacy technology just a little too long. In the absence of effort, your solution will slowly drift away from your business goals, strategies and tactics.

Eventually what was a solution, is now a problem. Hopefully your vendor will be proactive and offer you better, faster and, even more cost effective ways of handling your processes, but what if your vendor is silent, what are the signals of an ailing HRIS?

The reality is your existing system was designed and implemented for a set of business needs identified some time ago. Whenever your business model, structure and processes change, your HRIS needs to be evaluated against your current requirements.

The first step is to refer back to the original proposal and detailed statement of work. Look at your requirements definition and vendor responses. This will outline what was important back then, and whether it reflects the current structure and reporting requirements. Also look at the number of change requests that have been submitted since initial roll out. Are you continually seeking work arounds, tweaks and enhancements to accommodate these changes?

Another sign is the increasing prevalence of Excel. Has this ubiquitous piece of software crept back into your processes and now is slowly rising as the dominant solution? Are you and your mangers writing spreadsheets to make up for non-existent functionality and reports?

The elimination of paper is one of the key benefits of an HRIS. When your system no longer meets your needs, you will find that paper is slowly introduced back into your processes. This is a clear signal that your automated processes are seeking manual ‘work arounds’. In a similar vein, you find that emails carrying HR data are slowly replacing the workflow and embedded business rule function, if indeed it exists.

You might find yourself continually questioning the accuracy of data and speed of the system. Perhaps your interface resembles a gaming console with bright lights, bells and whistles, but not very useable. Sometimes it could be as simple as new technology with a faster, cheaper and more intuitive solution offering a compelling business case for change.

Finally, the success of any solution will depend on the relationship with the vendor. This becomes more critical and obvious during post implementation support. If your vendor is making you jump through hoops just to get basic support, takes steps to address it. Often this can be easily rectified, but if you find yourself reaching for the service level contract, that’s probably not a good sign.

On a more positive note, if you have identified any of these signals, there is no need to despair. The HRIS market is constantly evolving. New technology, innovation, and market pressure all come together to challenge the old and, redefine more efficient and effective HR processes. Accurate information, delivered to the right people, in a timely and cost effective manner is the promise of an HRIS. When that promise is kept, the result is a well run enterprise, if that promise is broken, it might be time to change.

Ari Kopoulos, national sales and marketing manager, EmployeeConnect