Many business software companies offer sales, consulting and training services for their HRIS systems or combined Payroll HRIS systems through other independent companies, called business partners or value added resellers, AKA VAR’s. The question addressed with this article is are you better off to work directly with the vendor or working with one of their partners? The answer, just like most things, depends.
I might come across as a little biased with this article since I have actually worked as an HR Information Systems (HRIS) system business partner for ten years but I will try my best to be objective. Realize that with all of the advantages I point out for working with both, it all depends on how skilled the vendor is versus how skilled the VAR is. This determination you will need to make based on replies from references and the number of years of experience the Payroll software system VAR has.
Benefits of working with a Payroll HRIS system VAR
• Localized Payroll HRIS system support and services
• Payroll HRIS system VAR may offer multiple products
• The Payroll HRIS system partner may, in fact, have more experience than the vendor offers
• Payroll HRIS system VAR may offer add on products or services not offered by vendor
Localized Payroll HRIS system support and services is one of the reasons Payroll HRIS system vendors work with business partners. The advantages from local support for the customer are obvious. I have, for example, a couple of clients located within a thirty minute drive from my house. With the ability to link into someone’s computer or provide training over the web, there are many services that had to be provided onsite that can now be offered over the web. There are, however, still times when there is no substitute for someone actually arriving on-site to address your issues. Over the years, I found that for whatever reason I discover far more while on-site than working remotely. Thus, I believe I offer clients improved service by being onsite. The additional obvious benefit of localized support is that when on-site training or services are required, the cost of travel is likely far less than working directly with the vendor unless they are located in your vicinity.
Many Payroll HRIS system VAR’s now offer multiple products. The advantage during the sales cycle becomes that s the VAR’s ability to determine your needs and make a recommendation of which Employee Management Software vendor or Employee tracking Software vendor provides the closest match to your needs.
As I stated before, Payroll HRIS system VAR’s or Business Partners are independent business that sell and support other HRIS systems. Many times these partners have been in business for a longer time than most, if not all, of the employees working directly for the vendor. We offer one product by a VAR on this site. Dresser and Associates has been working with the Sage Abra HRIS product for over twenty years. Obviously, the experience they have obtained with that system is going to be superior to that of anyone working directly for that Payroll HRIS vendor. Those that work directly for the vendor may have been fired, promoted, or left the company. HRIS system technical support departments or consulting staffs typically have some of the highest turnover rates in a software company.
The last benefit I would like to mention when working with a partner is that often times they are more familiar with other third party products or may have created their own to enhance the Payroll HRIS system vendor’s application. For example, my company created several custom interfaces for specific industries we worked with. The vendors did not offer the same.
Questions to ask before working with a Payroll HRIS system VAR
• How long have they been in business with the HRIS system you are considering?
• How many HRIS implementations has the vendor performed and exactly how many has the individual who will be setting up your system performed?
These two questions determine the “depends” caveat I referred to earlier. If the Payroll HRIS system VAR has just started working with this software company, you might want to consider working directly with the HRIS vendor. If they are brand new to the HRIS system, they may be certified but unless they have a number of implementations under their belt, they won’t be as skilled as someone working directly for the vendor who may have greater experience. Don’t automatically assume the consultant employed by the vendor is going to be experienced; everyone has to perform their first install. Just don’t let the first one be you. Ask questions about the actual person who will perform your implementation to make sure. If they just became a VAR for the payroll HRIS application, they may or may not end up still working for that HRIS vendor a year down the road. So the benefit of localized support may be tossed out the window. When it comes to implementing any software application, but especially Payroll HRIS systems, experience is the greatest teacher. In short, make your decision primarily based on who, of the HRIS vendor and the VAR, has the most experience.
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About the Author
Clay Scroggin has worked in the Human Resource and Payroll Software Industry for more than fifteen years. During that time Clay and those who have worked for him, have sold and implemented hundreds of HR professionals with their HR software needs. In 2007 Clay began working on Comparehris.com, a site dedicated to assisting HR professionals with their search, selection, implementation and use of HR systems. The site contains several tools to assist HR professionals with their HR software research including: a HRIS and HRMS Software Selection Tool and a HR software technology forum.
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