Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
02 Feb 2015

HRIS: delivering the promise

02 Feb 2015 • by Changeboard Team

Research summary

Technological innovation marches on at a breathless pace, promising opportunities for business transformation, improved productivity and sustainable competitive advantage. New HR Information Systems (HRIS) promise to set the HR department free from the shackles of clunky old systems, offering a chance to redefine HR process and even re-evaluate of the way HR delivers value to the business.

Even smaller organisations, previously limited in their options, now have the opportunity of implementing cutting edge technology to automate and simplify HR at a lower cost.

Change Associates has conducted a research study to cut through the hype to get to the reality of what’s on offer, and to demonstrate the key areas on which HR should focus to maximise the benefits of an HRIS implementation.

Cash and time investment in HRIS can be significant and the research supports HR in building a compelling business case and a comprehensive plan to realise the anticipated benefits.

Our report combines desk research, expert knowledge and insight from HR professionals with first-hand experience to present a realistic and pragmatic approach to selecting and implementing a new HRIS.

Key findings

HR should focus on four key areas to maximise the benefits of an HRIS:

  1. User experience – involving the user at all stages of any new approach
  2. Social media – embracing social technologies as part of any new approach
  3. Single view – it is imperative to have consistent, accurate data in one place
  4. Analytics – vital to embed in order to put people data into the hands of those who need insight to make decisions.

Implementing HRIS for business success

  • Any new system needs to be designed and implemented with the long term in mind, supporting future ambitions and avoiding lock in and inflexibility. This means resisting customisation, which can lead to difficulty with support and upgrades. Instead HR leaders are advised to use a configurable system. For most organisations this means a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) model will be a serious consideration.
  • Choosing the right vendor partner is essential. The vendor should value the partnership and be prepared to commit to the full realisation of expected benefits. In evaluating vendors, it is important to take up references and to visit businesses that have experienced working with them.
  • Success comes as a result of careful planning and good execution. Organisations need to be honest about gaps in capability and bring in external experts where necessary. 
  • A clear business case is vital as it will clarify what is needed from the system and can be used as the core specification for early discussions with potential vendors.
  • The change process needs to be managed. Those involved in the introduction of new systems and processes need to be aware of the impact this can have on people. Training and support should be provided to help employees engage with the new approach and systems. A communications strategy should be developed to explain the benefits and keep stakeholders informed.
  • Finally, an HRIS that is well specified, fit for purpose and delivered well can be truly transformational for a business – and for the reputation of the HR function.

Read part one of Change Associates' research here and see the full report here.