Friday, March 13, 2009

Before you Buy - Understand the HRIS Input Requirements

Have a Full Understanding of your HRIS Input Requirements Before You Purchase
A new Human Resource Information System (HRIS) can save you tremendous amounts of time and make you and your staff far more effective at your job, but it is important to understand work will be required to maintain the database and maximize results. It is extremely important before you have your company make an investment into an HRIS Systems that you have a complete understanding of exactly how much input will be required from you and your staff. Follow these steps to minimize the amount of data you have to manually input into your human resources application.
HRIS Setup Input
Before selecting HRIS Systems you need to have a complete understanding of what data will be imported into your system and where is that data coming from. You may have the data in Excel, a payroll system, or another HR product. Regardless how much data you have in another product, there will still be required input. Rarely will you have the capability of importing benefits data or history, so it’s important to understand that this data will have to be manually input the majority of the time. Any data that you can’t import, or that is not available in another system, will have to be manually input as well. I would recommend asking for an exact list of data fields that will be populated from other sources by the implementation team; make sure it is included in the contract and the scope of the engagement.
Use Human resource Software Interfaces Wherever Possible
Interfaces allow for data to be transferred from one system to another, but they are not real time and require some type of action to transfer the data. The advantage of an interface is that it can save tremendous amounts of time associated with manual entry. That saved time can mean the difference between a helpful product that your employees use and one that they abandon because it’s too cumbersome. If you are using one system for HR and a different product for payroll, make sure you have an interface for transferring data included in the scope of the project. It’s important to note that while this step will reduce your input requirements and time investment, it won’t eliminate them; there are numerous fields in an HR product that your payroll system may not offer, and they will have to be manually updated. Also remember that historical and benefits data are rarely included in Interfaces.
Maintaining the Database
To receive maximum benefits from your HR Payroll software, HRIS product, or other HRMS applications you should make sure that the data in that system is up to date and accurate.Interfaces and a good implementation can assist with this, but additional work is always required. For example, all of your code tables for job titles, department titles, and benefits codes will be created at setup, but there will eventually be additions and changes to this information. Whether you’re using an interface or an integrated system, input will be required from your end to maintain the database. Make sure you have a plan in place as to when data will be input and who will maintain it

HR Software Solutions Interfaces versus Integration

Expect to hear the terms interface and integration frequently during your search for a HR Software Solutions. Both refer to the interaction of two systems, but there are differences and it’s important that you understand them. An interface usually requires work on your part and data changes do not happen in real time. Integration, however, is automatic and requires no work on your end. Either provides the capability to eliminate time consuming, error-prone double entries, but because an integration generally means less work you should select systems that integrate whenever possible.

HR Software Solution Interfaces

Almost all business software applications on the market today should be able to create and accept some type of import or export file. This allows you to transfer data to and from numerous independent solutions.

Let’s say, for example, your company uses one product for payroll and another for all other Human Resource (HR) functions. Obviously you would not want to enter changes to employee data separately into the two systems; it’s a lot of extra work and literally doubles the chances of an error. An interface would provide the opportunity to take data from your Payroll product and download it to your HR system following each payroll run. Now here’s the catch: A file must be created or run from the payroll product, then downloaded to the HR Software solution either through a custom interface or some time of import utility. This might not take more than five minutes, but it’s still an extra step you would have to apply to keep your HR software solution up to date. Another important issue here is that your HR data is only as current as your last download. So if you are not frequently interfacing the data, you might find that the data in your HR software solution is often out of date.

Interfaces require extra work and will not be real time, but they are an important means of tying two systems together, eliminating repetitive double entry, and reducing manual entry errors. You will be probably be working with interfaces far more often than true integrated software applications. While an interface may not be the perfect solution, it does sometimes offer the easiest method of eliminating time consuming double entry.

HR Software Solution Integration

Integration is always the best-case scenario, but it’s rarely offered. An integrated HR software solution requires no work and changes happen in real time; the two systems share the same database, so you only have to add or update data once. If the two systems from our earlier example were integrated, a change made to payroll would show up automatically in your HR product (and vise versa). If you are going to want an integrated HRIS you will probably have to get all of your HR software products from the same company. Take a look at our products list, as we offer a number of systems that provide integrated HR Payroll Software solutions.

Stop Manually Entering the Same HR-Related Data in Various Systems

As I said before, almost any HR software solutions on the market is going to allow you to import and export data. So the capability is probably already there for you to eliminate time consuming, error-prone double entries. Solving the problem is usually just a matter of effort, expense, and a little time.