Q We are about to go to market for a new HR Information System. Currently, we use a variety of Excel/Access databases, supported by hardcopy files to hold our personnel information. We want to record and manage all this data in one integrated system. What should we take into account in looking for a new system that will do this and what can we do to make data input and migration to the new system as easy as possible?
A. One of the most important aspects is the level
of integration offered within the solution being
reviewed. In other words, is there the ability to
record the data once and for this information to then
be immediately available to other related modules
within the solution?
For example, once an applicant record is generated
within the Recruitment Module; can this information
be directly available for HR to conduct a skills match
analysis across both applicant and existing employee
data as part of a workforce profiling exercise?
Second, the solution should have available, as a
standard, user-defined fields and/or the tools to allow
the organisation to customise the database for the
purposes of capturing specific data over and above the
standard core master file data. This will allow the
solution to cater for existing and future data
requirements. How easy are these tools to use? Are the
customisations maintained and supported, following
any future upgrades?
Finally, does the solution offer built-in reporting
capabilities that allow for the extraction of real time
data in a variety of easily accessible formats? This is
where the value of one integrated solution is realised –
the ease of analysing cross-module data in a consistent
and controlled manner.
There are activities an organisation can do to ensure
the data input and migration process to the new system
is achieved as smoothly as possible. These include:
• Assigning someone the task of co-ordinating the
data migration process. This is to ensure a consistent
approach to the data migration process, as well as
acting as a conduit for the investigation and
rectification of data integrity issues.
• Data cleansing exercise. Data held in existing systems
may need to be audited to ensure it is complete and
accurate. This may involve the organisation
conducting a formal request to all of its employees to
review and supply updated personal information.
When it comes to data and systems, remember the
old saying “Rubbish in – Rubbish out”!
• Grouping similar data sets together (eg Salary,
Position) and migrate these data sets one at a time.
This ensures errors can be rectified in isolation.
• Furthermore, the organisation needs to ascertain
whether there is a need to migrate historical data in
addition to the current data. This decision can be
determined by a number of factors:
• The integrity of this data in terms of accuracy,
missing values etc
• The complexity of the mapping task to convert old
codes to new.
• The volume of data to be migrated and its impact
on server performance
• Future availability of the legacy system for historical
By Justin Corcoran, business development manager, Frontier Software. Tel: (02) 9956 7598, Web: www.frontiersoftware.com