HR System Selection and Implementation Part VI: Implementations

30 Oct

Now we get to one of the more surprising aspects of implementing HR software. You have just spent the past few weeks reviewing all of the various components of a piece of HR software. The entire time the salesperson and other associated vendor representatives have been touting how easy the system is to use and set up. Now you’re getting down to the details and they spring this on you.

“It will take 2-3 months to get the system up and running”.

“What?” you ask, “How can that be, you told me this was a really easy to use system and I assumed the implementation would be easy too?”

In their defense, the system they showed you was easy to use, but it was a mock site set up for that purpose. In all likelihood, when the system was created it was probably implementable in a week or two. As functionality and features were added, the system now requires an increased level of customization to meet each organizations individual needs. It’s sort of a catch 22, if you want a lot of features and functionality, you are going to be looking at a more complex system and require a lot more time and effort. If you want easy implementation, you may not get all the features you want.

Something else to know, implementations are so complex that most vendors outsource the design and implementation to a third party. That should give you a sense of how tough this is going to be.

My advice for the vendors is to design the system in micro-pieces that can be set up individually and then added together. Make it easy to set up (drag and drop) a review process or a candidate workflow by looking at each component of the process individually rather than at the macro level. With an easy workflow, documentation and wizards most experienced HR people should understand the options and be able to make the right selections.

Here’s my recommendation for HR people, before shopping for a system know what your processes and requirements look like. You may get lucky and find a system that was designed to do just that and you should be able to be up and running in a pretty short amount of time. If you go into your search not knowing what you want, you will spend a considerable amount of time designing your processes and implementing the system.

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