1. Clear Business Outcome
Before you embark on your HR technology journey, be clear what strategic business outcome you want to achieve. Improving reporting or allowing employees to book holidays is an operational outcome. The business outcome needs to be measurable and compelling enough to make it easy for Stakeholders to invest.
2. Focus on the Business Processes
Spend some time looking at how the existing business processes operate. For many organisations, this can be enlightening, often identifying improvements not requiring new technology. If you are going to design new processes make sure you have an appreciation of existing system capabilities to prevent you over engineering them. Work with potential suppliers during the evaluation phase to understand what business processes come out of the box, are configured or need to be customised.
3. Cloud or In house
Understand the different ways of hosting the software and the implications of each. Consider the difference between a private or shared cloud and if considering in house how your internal IT infrastructure delivers security, reliability and availability.
4. Integrated or Stand Alone
Several HR Technology providers also offer business applications such as Payroll and Finance. Consider the impact of selecting a system with all your software requirements designed to work together, compared to a set of different systems which either need to talk together or involves dual data entry. Some suppliers have grown their software portfolio through acquisition so understand how these acquired solutions work together.
5. Configure or Customise
Understand the differences between configuring and customising a system and how each supplier uses these terms differently. Consider whether the configuration can be carried out by a trained Systems Administrator or you need to rely on the Supplier. Understand the impact on upgrades and work with the supplier to establish what is involved in upgrading a configured or customised system.
6. Implementation tasks
Don’t be fooled into thinking you just switch on a system, enter your data and off you go. Ensure you have a clear understanding of the implementation with a detailed breakdown of tasks to be performed by all parties. Understand what assumptions have been made and identify whether the timescales are realistic when considering your own constraints. A supplier will have assumed a cost for a set implementation time, if you can’t work to the given schedule, understand the impact this will have on the cost of the project. Make sure your team understand what is required of them and by when and if necessary backfill to maintain the focus on the project. Create a data migration plan and start cleansing your data at the earliest opportunity possible.
Create a set of system tests based on business scenarios which you can use to test the system and to ensure it works as expected. Do this for all users and especially for Managers and Employees. Allocate a set time for testing in the project plan. This requires concentrated effort so don’t try to fit this in around your day to day activity.
8. Due diligence
References are a vital part of due diligence and should focus on the broad customer experience rather than just the software. Key questions should include, how did the implementation experience match your expectations, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? Due diligence should also cover a full assessment of information security policies and procedures and a supplier financial appraisal.
9. Change Management
Don’t under estimate the importance of managing change, consider creating a communications plan and involve a wider audience outside HR into your project. Consider asking a group of business representatives to participate in software testing.
10. Cost of Ownership
The cost of the system will have many components which can be complex to understand. Be clear to ask the supplier for a breakdown of each cost item including any future costs that you may not be aware of and any optional costs charged. Its often the charges you are not told of that you need to be aware of. Consider the impact of 1.) increasing and decreasing users 2.) the amount of internal resource to support and test the system 3.) new releases 4.) carrying out security testing such as penetration tests.
About People & Technologies Limited
People & Technologies help organisations make better decisions and improve the way HR Technology projects are delivered. With over 30 years experience in the HR Technology sector, John Brownhill, has a wealth of knowledge and experience and primarily works with medium and large sized employers across the commercial and public sector.