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    Entries in hris (6)


    Time to Stop Digging

    This is what was said in the Enterprise Systems planning meeting:

    We have to expand the ERP system footprint, get more business processes integrated, really 'use' the system, and maybe we will start to see the return on investment that we've been waiting for.

    This is what is closer to the truth:

    We've sunk about $5M into this, we are in upgrade, maintenance, and crappy UI hell, so we better figure out a way to make this seem worth it to the executives or we're all in trouble.

    The exact amount of the sunk cost in the installed system is not really the issue, it's more the fact that whatever the (large) investment was, many organizations are at the crossroads.

    They've implemented big ERP systems for core HR, maybe payroll, tossed in a bit of self-service, perhaps dabbled in workforce management, but more or less have not really leveraged the capabilities of the massive system.

    To the left, upgrade the ERP, get on the latest release (a daunting proposition for many), and try to take advantage of the new capabilities and features that are available (that will never be backported to your release from 2002), and upgrade the UI to something that looks relatively modern.

    To the right, scrapping the upgrade, patching the legacy ERP together for employee tracking, payrFlickr - AidanBrooksoll, and benefits and looking to a modern SaaS-based platform for more strategic functions like Performance Management, Succession Planning, and Learning and Development.

    Now there is even a third option, tossing the ERP entirely and moving to a SaaS HR system that will over all of those processes like Workday.

    Obviously there isn't a blanket one size fits all solution for organizations in this predicament, and I won't offer any sweeping recommendations, but I will say this:

    When you have dug yourself into a deep hole, it's probably time to stop digging.


    Small Business HRIS - a New Partnership

    Last week Zoho, a provider of a wide range of online productivity applications, (documents, wikis, CRM, projects, and many more) announced a new partnership with Vana Consulting, a Canadian consulting firm.

    The new solution branded as VanaHRM, is an on-demand HRIS built on the Zoho People platform and aimed at the small to medium sized market.

    One of the issues that I had seen during some limited testing of Zoho People was that it definitely required some technical skills to configure for an organization's unique needs.  In my opinion most small HR staffs would not have been all that comfortable or capable to really 'dig in' and leverage Zoho People's flexibility to develop and configure a solution that would support organizational specific business requirements.

    This is why the partnership between Zoho, the developer of the platform, and Vana, a Human Resources consultancy makes sense.  Vana seems to have simplified and organized the Zoho People solution  and packaged it in a form that is more understandable and accessible to the market.

    The VanaHRM solution supports the full range of Human Resources processes (employee tracking, talent profiles, performance management, recruiting, benefits tracking, self-service and more).

    A sample screen from VanaHRM is below:


    Pricing for the VanaHRM solution starts at $19/month for up to 10 employees and then increases with the number of employees; an organization of 100 employees is prices at $199/month for example.  Curiously, the prices listed at the Vana site are the same that are published on the Zoho People site.

    For small business in need of an automated HRIS solution, particularly those under 100 employees, VanaHRM is definitely worth a look.  It is a solution with the capability to handle almost all HR-related processes (save Payroll), is highly configurable, and reasonably simple to use.

    I would love to hear from anyone out there using VanaHRM or Zoho People in their organizations and have them share some of their experiences.


    Guest Post - Head in the Cloud? The move to On-demand

    NOTE : This Guest Post is from Denis Tournesac, Executive Vice-President OnDemand at NorthgateArinso, a global provider of HR software and service.

    In the article, Denis examines the impact of the economic climate on HR’s technology.Denis Tournesac


    The global economic downturn has brought about interesting times for the HR team. We only need to open a newspaper to see stories of job cuts, recruitment freezes and absent bonuses. Employees are worried about the future and the fate of their company, which doesn’t lead to a happy working environment. All this leaves HR dealing with staff cuts, while managing the needs of those people left behind.

    When CEOs are looking to cut overheads, justifying the HR team’s time and resources is more important than ever. Reporting is crucial and technology can have an important role to play in helping the HR team operate as efficiently as possible.

    However, at a time when budgets are stretched, how can HR choose between the myriad of technology delivery models on offer? The average HR manager wants a global view of HR, as well as in-depth local knowledge and expertise that’s not bogged down in admin. But is it possible to have your cake and eat it too?

    Sign of the times

    The recession brings with it fewer opportunities for extensive capital expenditure. The initial layout for a big software project can be huge and updating existing systems is seen as a ‘non-urgent’ task that can wait until more secure financial times.

    As a result, now is a good time for managers to be looking at alternative models of software delivery, including software delivered ‘on demand’, which can be well suited to recessionary times.

    Monthly bills rather than a large initial payout are an attractive proposition for the finance team. OnDemand HR applications are rapidly maturing with multi-tenant systems that leverage scale and the increased acceptance of standardized approaches to HR processes. This combination, in conjunction with faster employee adoption thanks to improved user interfaces, mean that HR managers should be taking a serious look at the OnDemand delivery model to support administrative and value-adding HR processes.

    Going on demand

    OnDemand technology is nothing new. It comes under several different names – cloud computing, utility computing, software as a service – but all have the same basic attributes. Thanks to companies like salesforce.com, it has already proved it can work for applications like CRM and marketing. However, there’s no reason why HR shouldn’t enjoy the same benefits.

    Users are much more demanding of workplace technology than they were a few years ago. As a result, it’s no longer acceptable to go into work the next day and use non-integrated technology and information that is locked away in non-connected systems. Most HR professionals aren’t IT experts, and don’t expect to be bogged down in complex procedures. A good OnDemand system has got to have a good user interface to be successful.

    We also expect applications to ‘just work’ – it should be clear how to access information, and how to save and store details. An intuitive system rather than one that requires detailed training is no longer a nice to have, it’s crucial to the success of any IT system used by non-IT people.

    Weighing it up

    However, it’s important to remember that when it comes to HR support, one size certainly doesn’t fit all. The benefits of an OnDemand system are clear, but a business considering an investment should be careful to look at all available HR service delivery models, and weigh up the right choice for them. Technology has evolved to such a state that OnDemand solutions can seamlessly co-exist with systems which have been in place for years, creating a promising hybrid environment.

    A factor to consider when implementing IT to support HR is what it’s actually going to be used for. It’s often assumed that IT will support the processes and admin that so often weigh the HR team down. Traditionally, the biggest benefits for HR have been felt when admin like absence requests, tax forms and employee information have been automated.

    This is still the case, but HR directors also need to look at how integrated systems can support the more strategic part of HR. As we’ve already said, talent management is very important to the business during recession, and there’s no reason why this can’t be supported with the right IT platform.

    A good example of managing talent adequately can be found in succession planning. Over the next five years, the post-war ‘baby boomer’ generation will retire, and unless companies are prepared, they’ll take with them a huge amount of knowledge and experience. The ‘knowledge crunch’ when baby boomers retire could well hit businesses just as they’re recovering from the recession, and managers need to be preparing whoever will take the place of these managers.

    Having it all?

    Just because the economy is in a bad way doesn’t mean investment in new solutions to improve efficiency should stop. In fact, it’s more important than ever for reporting to be transparent, in order to improve talent management and competence management processes.

    Ultimately, the Company only talks in numbers, and if they can see the direct financial results of the work HR is putting in, the team can justify its role a lot more easily.

    The HR director looking to do this should carefully weigh up all the options available. OnDemand technology can help manage costs, and is more easily scalable than some other delivery models. However, different models suit different companies, and OnPremise software has moved a long way from the expensive dinosaur it once was, to become an integral part of hybrid landscapes. What is important is that when the right system is up and running, it helps prove HR’s value to the rest of the business at a time when the team is needed more than ever.


    Employee Transfers in 1920 - Look familiar?

    Back in the day, forms like these were the 'technology' and mechanism behind a standard Human Resources process of effecting an employee transfer.

    Or as this form indicates, an 'employe' transfer. Thanks to my friend Nicole from RemoteRevolution for finding out that the 'old' spelling variant was largely out of favor by the mid-1920s.

    The form, which was from the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad, provides a nice glimpse back into the old days in HR, when simple employee transactions like transfers were processed on paper forms, and required several individuals to handle and sign the forms.

    Wow, hard to remember a time when simple transactions had to be done manually, on paper, over and over again. Easy to mess those up, and HR staffs now have more time for 'strategic' activities.

    What's that?

    Your organization hasn't automated and streamlined these processes yet? You are still processing employee transfers just like the railroad did in the 1920s?

    I hope at least you have updated the spelling on the form to 'employee'.


    Another Small Business HRIS - Human Services HQ

    After my post on HRIS for the small business ran last week, I thought I might be

    contacted by a vendor or two who I omitted, as the market for these solutions is so crowded.  Sure enough I did receive a few comments, and I wanted to highlight one of the vendors, Human Services HQ.

    Human Services HQ is positioned as an online HR database that provides easy access to your employee records, relieves paperwork headaches, and reduces employee management costs for small businesses. There are three main functions, employee record keeping, tracking of employee training, and document storage for things like manuals, handbooks, and forms.  

    The service is deployed in the SaaS mode, and is priced on a monthly basis ranging from $24/mo for up to 15 employees, to $399/mo for up to 900 employees, but the solution seems to be most applicable to very small organizations, say less than 100 employees. All paid plans include a 30-day free trial.

    Human Services HQ might be a good option for a very small business that wants to stop tracking employee data on spreadsheets or on PC-based databases, and also wants some flexibility to store important HR documents in the same tool.

    Thanks to Human Services HQ for reaching out and making me aware of your solution.