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
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
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
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
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