Tech Talk: Steps to Choosing a Software Solution

Often referred to as Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) or Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), HRM software is designed to streamline and automate a company’s Human Capital Management (HCM) through one central database. Some of the top drivers that trigger employers to look at new HR Information Systems are:

  • Aging software – many companies have systems that are five to seven years old.
  • The need for mobile readiness – according to Pew Research, nearly one-in-five American adults use only their smartphone to access the internet. This means that employee-facing HRIS components like time recording, need to be mobile-friendly. Mobile capable software becomes even more important in organizations that allow employees to work remotely.
  • Too many systems – companies today can have several different HR-related applications, payroll, talent management, benefits, to name a few. Often they don’t integrate well, or at all, which can cause inefficiencies by duplicating work or by creating workflow gaps.
  • Talent management – talent management is a challenge, and talent management software is ever-evolving. For example, recruiting software has been one of the first HR systems to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into the process, and recruiters have been the earliest adopters.

If you are in the market for a new software system, or didn’t know until now that you should be, there are a few steps you can take for a successful purchase.

  • Complete a self-assessment and internal needs analysis. Look at the pain points with your current system; what does your system do that you hate? What is missing? Other data points – do you want a single solution system (one system that does all) or multiple integrated systems. What reporting capabilities do you need? What kind of training and support do you want from a provider?
  • Use the data from the needs analysis to create a list of requirements you have and, if it is helpful, rank the list base on organizational impact. Then, from that, create a list of non-negotiables you will take to providers. Make this list before you ever contact a salesperson as it can help you avoid any bells and whistles they will throw in that you don’t want or need.
  • Identify potential vendors to contact. You can do this through internet searches, reviewing analysts’ reports, reading trade publications, attending trade shows, or asking peers for recommendations. Narrow your list down to no more than five vendors to contact. You can always add to that list as you go through the process.
  • When you talk to each vendor’s salespeople, ask for a live demonstration. Invite all the people in your organization who will use the software; each group will bring their perspective. Once you have seen the demo, ask the vendor for access to a demo site for a couple of weeks (or more if you can get it). Ask all the potential users to go on to the demo, use the software as they would need it, and to do everything they can. The idea here is to see if there are operations you need that the system won’t support.
  • Narrow your list down further, make a request for proposal (RFP) from your preferred vendors and start negotiating. Keep in mind your budget, your timeframe, and your training and support needs.

Looking at new HR systems can seem daunting, but if you can break it down into steps, it is manageable. The drivers for implementing a new system are also business needs, and outdated systems can be a drag on your bottom line. Inefficiencies, outdated technology, and a lack of mobile capability can be costly, both financially in wasted time and productivity, and in human capital where candidates and employees will seek work at more technologically savvy companies. Employers Council can help with this process; call us with your HRIS purchasing questions.