The Five Criteria
Criterion No. 1: Scalable infrastructure to meet current and future needs To ensure the longevity of the HRMS, organizations must look for a solution that is capable of meeting the current and future needs of HR, while reducing the involvement of the IT department. The HRMS needs to be scalable and highly flexible so that, once IT deploys the system, HR can use it to support the needs of its existing employees and extend the system to include new employees as the company grows (either organically, or through mergers and acquisitions). The solution must also enable HR to include future benefits plans and/or business processes. The HRMS should also be capable of supporting multiple language profiles so that all users in all locations can leverage a single, global HRMS platform. This is needed to achieve an accurate picture of the company's HR goals and objectives--on a global scale--without having to seek additional IT support.The HRMS should also have the ability to support various HR and compliance-related reporting needs, including Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Military/Veterans (VETS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), and Wages and Filings (W-2 and 1099). To ensure the long-term success of the system, IT teams should look for a solution that combines data from multiple systems, has built-in report writer features, offers native language and SQL query capabilities (to ensure easy access by any level of user), and supports unlimited security profiles capable of defining the fields, tasks and actions that are permitted by each user. In doing so, HR professionals can easily add fields and tables to reflect the changing business and data needs of the organization, securely locate and disseminate information to appropriate and authorized stakeholders, generate sophisticated reports that comply with internal and external regulations, and provide sophisticated HR-related metrics and data to senior managers for decision making and goal alignment. Criterion No. 3: Workload automation to organize tasks and improve processes To support today's "do more with less" work ethos, it is also important to look for an HRMS that supports what is commonly known among IT departments as "workload automation." Long recognized by the technical staff for its ability to seamlessly incorporate event-driven activity with calendar and scheduling functions, workload automation allows HR teams to organize daily tasks, prioritize work and improve their process efficiencies. Leveraging automatic, user-defined "triggers", HR teams can set up e-mail-based alerts, notifications and reports that allow them to focus on more strategic tasks, improve communications, and respond faster to employee requests and organizational changes. Criterion No. 4: Tight integration and import/export to reduce redundancies and improve accuracy Some other important HRMS considerations that are especially important to IT folks involve the tight integration of, and turnkey interfaces to, other HR-related systems. These include single sign-on, e-mail server integration, active directory, LDAP, third-party payroll services, benefit carriers or other internal legacy systems, and the ability to import data from other source systems. This is particularly important as HR professionals strive to create a central point of access capable of streamlining their HR processes. The system should also enable them to eliminate redundant data entry functions, increase data integrity (by having the ability to import historical data from outdated legacy systems) and, more importantly, provide additional analysis and reporting to other team members as needed. Lastly, organizations should consider an HRMS that is capable of easily exporting HR-related data to other software utilities such as Word, Excel, etc. In doing so, HR teams can provide additional analysis and reporting across the organization using existing systems and popular formats without the need for additional IT involvement. With improvements in architecture, and with the proliferation of Web 2.0, traditional imports and exports can be reduced to Web service requests that allow the posting and exchange of information to become seamless and automatic. This kind of advance allows the manager and employee to manage data without worrying about the administrative task of running an import or an export to manage the integration of systems. Criterion No. 5: Advanced workflow to ease use and promote self-service The final (and perhaps the most important) HRMS consideration involves the system's advanced workflow functionality. Leveraging user-configurable menus and role-based forms, HR teams can automate time-intensive and multi-step or multi-person processes such as life change events (name change, new dependant, etc.), new-hire activity, terminations and training. As a result, HR professionals will enhance their productivity, reduce their training and administrative expenses, ensure faster and more accurate transaction processing, and lower the cost of collecting and delivering HR-related services throughout the enterprise. IT and HR departments alike should look for a solution that is capable of being deployed online, with Employee Self-Service (ESS) and Manager Self-Service (MSS) portals. This will help to encourage easy and secure access among employees, document company procedures and workflow, and ensure compliance with mandates such as Sarbanes-Oxley. By selecting an HRMS that supports advanced workflow capabilities, HR and IT groups can optimize and extend the technology platform to drive bottom-line efficiencies and profitability. Put simply, if an organization is to build and sustain a high-performing and satisfied work force, then a fruitful relationship between HR and IT must exist. So, instead of thinking in terms of "Mars versus Venus," IT and HR professionals should keep these five easy requirements in mind, using them as a means to openly communicate their goals, objectives and system requirements. By giving proper consideration to the people, processes and technology in both your IT and HR departments, you and your organization will be well on your way to a long-lasting, satisfying marriage of HRMS equals who are working together to meet a mutually satisfying goal. Shafiq Lokhandwala is president and CEO at NuView Systems. An electronics and communication engineer, Shafiq started a successful software company in India at age 23. He developed and sold travel agent software and financial accounting packages, which gave him an early entrepreneurial start. On arriving in the United States, he joined Five Technology, NJ as a product design engineer and helped to support and design the HRIS written in Revelation. After five years of HR design experience in the United States, he founded NuView Systems in April 1994. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Criterion No. 2: Strong reporting and query capability to ensure compliance to internal and external requirements