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HRIS Software - Can you Implement it yourself?

When you review the cost of HRIS software, you will quickly notice that a large percentage of the cost of the software is made up in implementation, training, and consulting costs. I have been asked perhaps a hundred times over the years if a company could implement the Employee Management Software themselves. Just like anything, it depends.

• The size of the company for which you are setting up HRIS software – If you work for an organization with less than a few hundred employees, it is not completely out of the question for you to implement the Employee Tracking software yourself as long as you are provided adequate resources, training to do so, and have the time to commit to the project. The trickiest parts of setting up HRIS software are going to be the import of data, benefits setup, interfacing with other systems, and report writing. It may be that you are able to install the system, setup all code tables (with the exception of benefits), setup users, and import the employees yourself and then have an HRIS implementation expert assist you on what you have trouble with. The advantage is you will be far more knowledgeable about the HRIS software after having tried to implement it yourself. The disadvantage is that you may waste an excessive amount of time only to find that you don’t have the resources or time to successfully implement the HR application on your own.

• The complexity and ease of use of the HRIS software – I have worked with and reviewed a number of HR software applications and on the difficult to setup items I mentioned above, they vary greatly. I have seen systems where the benefits setup, employee import capabilities, or report writing were so easy to use that without question an end user of a smaller company could setup the HR application themselves. Then, I have seen other HR solutions where I would never expect the end user, without significant training, to be able to accomplish the same. If you are to consider implementing the system yourself, it is important during your evaluation of systems to review the system setup ease of use and capabilities.

• Does the HRIS software include Payroll – Setting up HR software is one thing; setting up payroll is altogether different. If the project is for a company with more than 50 employees, I would highly recommend utilizing an HRM software implementation expert to assist with the setup. There is simply too much that can go wrong from a poor HR Payroll software implementation to risk it.

• HRIS System Experience – If you have worked with the exact same or similar HR Software system you plan to implement, again, it is not out of the question that you would be able to implement the system yourself.

• Why you don’t want to self implement HRIS software – In fifteen years, I have not seen an overstaffed, underworked HR department. I have seen projects fail even with an HR software implementation expert involved because the HR staff did not have the time to commit to the project. What I laid out above are exceptions and maybes but overall, I can’t in good faith recommend that anyone, without plenty of available time, not utilize the time saving resources of having an expert implement your HR software solution. Even if you are able to setup the basic system, it is highly unlikely that you would do so in such a manner to take full advantage of the capabilities available.

The advantage of trying is if you succeed, you save company and department funds and in the end, you are far more knowledgeable with regard to the HRIS. The disadvantage is a tremendous amount of time and resources may be wasted only to finally determine that an implementation expert is needed or the project is scrapped all together. 

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