Smoothing out the implementation process

by 04 Aug 2009

Q What are the elements and considerations to ensure a successful HR technology implementation?

A. HR technology is critical to the success of the modern enterprise, but only if the solution delivers the benefits the business re quires. To ensure success, many elements need to be considered – such as how the so lution will integrate into the business and how the business can best use the technology. When poorly planned, technology imple mentations can cause ongoing issues, be costly to manage and make users unhappy.

Planning essential

Project planning includes, at a minimum: the vision; the project team, including the execu tive sponsor; project plan, project budget; roll out plan; issue resolution process; issue log; and change management request process, as well as the decision-making process. Be sure to include decision-making criteria. Don’t just use cost as the currency for decisions. You should also include a meeting schedule for project kick-off meeting, project scope review and project plan. Holding regular project meet ings ensures effective communication and possibly the key to overall success. For a good methodology on project management have a look at PRINCE2.

I will assume you have selected an HR provider who will offer a scoping phase and map your processes and requirements to the solution, delivering a detailed statement of work. This will serve as the blueprint of the solution and the acceptance test document. This is a very important step and one you must insist on with any provider of business process technology. Make sure you dedicate enough resources to looking at the existing workflow processes and consider process re-engi neering. Keep in mind, what works on paper might not always work online and always look for opportunities to improve and contribute to the evolution of your business.

Transferring data to the new HRIS is an other element that needs to be handled care fully. The existing data may be either on paper or Excel or in another system. The best op tion is to allow the vendor to handle the data load using a standard import routine or inte gration, validating, and then allowing you to check the data.

Training

Most people don’t like change, especially if the change calls for the acquisition of new skills by the employee. This is where training comes in. Perform a training needs analysis so you can understand your users and their needs. Be aware of culture and behaviours within individuals and groups. Break training up into administrators’, managers’ and employees’ sessions supported by training materials and a training environment. Develop an ongoing commitment to change management, com municating the benefits of the strategy be cause any project involving automation could be interpreted as job losses.

Testing

Finally we come to testing. This is perhaps the most intense phase of the implementation and your last opportunity to identify and resolve issues before going live. Develop a test plan with test scripts and identify a group of testers across all levels of the business. Perform tests on the configuration, integration, interfaces, workflows and reports.

A final note to consider is how sophisti cated your HR process is. If your processes are relatively undefined, and there is mini mal transactional efficiency, then you might serve the business best by opting for a “vanil la” best practice implementation, with mini mal enhancements. You still get the benefit of automation without the added headache of scoping, testing, and enhancements to processes you are not familiar with, and more chance of a successful outcome.

By Ari Kopoulos national sales & marketing manager, EmployeeConnect. Email: ari@employeeconnect.com