Who Will Perform Your HRIS Implementation is as Important as the Software You Select
Human Resource (HR) managers and staff go through a great amount of effort to find and select the Human Resources Information Systems (HRMS) that will best meet their needs. The problem is that they rarely apply enough effort into choosing who will implement the software. In any profession there are those with experience and those without, and there are those who are good at their jobs and those who are not. Unless you ask the right questions and demand information up front, you have no idea if the person installing your HR product has ever done so before or is qualified to handle your organization’s unique HR Information Systems requirements. It is extremely important that you put the same effort into picking who will handle the implementation that you applied to selecting your HRIS application.
Apply the following steps to make sure you receive the best HRIS implementation:
Find out exactly who will be doing the HRIS Implementation and what their background is.
How many installs have they done? I would not recommend using anyone who has not performed at least 10 HRIS implementations of your chosen HRIS. Sure they may be certified on your HR system and/or HR Payroll, but until they have performed a large number of installs they won’t be able to handle all the pitfalls and issues that inevitably arise. It’s also a good idea to ask for references about the individual who will be working on your HRIS implementation, just as you would ask for references about an HRIS software product before purchasing it.
Set your HRIS Implementation expectations
Now that you have verified that the HRIS implementation consultant and/or staff are qualified to handle the job, you need to make sure that both sides are in full agreement as to what is included in the scope of the project. Avoidable misunderstandings regarding expectations create cost overruns and can lead to poor implementations. Make sure everything is in writing, and when I say that everything should be in writing I specifically mean that you should be provided with a detailed list of project requirements and an estimated time of completion for each. Most companies will provide a low and high expected range (“two to three months”, for example).
HRIS implementation project cost versus hourly or daily.
HRIS Implementation projects are typically quoted either daily or by the project. Project costing has some advantages, because you know you most likely won’t go over the quoted amount unless needs arise that are outside of the project’s original scope. The disadvantage of project costing is that companies are going to charge you a higher rate since they have to quote the project on the high side. Daily or hourly quotes for consulting are fine, but make sure to get a detailed plan on the consulting time. In the past I have broken down hours according to each step in the implementation process: Half day for network installation, one day for code table setup, one day for benefits setup, etc.
Be prepared for your HRIS implementation!
In almost every case where a project I was on went over budget, the client was at the least partly to blame. I understand that this is a very strong statement and it was intended to be so. Before you begin the implementation, make sure all information and data the consulting staff will need is ready to go. There is nothing worse than a $150 an hour consultant doing nothing while waiting for data on benefits plans. This became such a problem at companies I worked for that we would not schedule an implementation until all needed data and information for the implementation was received. Also make sure that anyone the consultant or implementation team will work with is available during the process (IT staff especially - make sure they know when their services will be needed). If you have to close the department or limit the hours for accessing HR, do so. We sometimes did training on Saturdays to avoid interruptions; see if a similar arrangement is an option for your organization.
Stay on track.
As an HRIS system implementation is taking place the customers are learning more and more about the capabilities of their new HR Software. Make sure you don’t get off track with work that is outside the scope of the project. When I was working on a project and a client asked me about work outside of it, I would tell them that we needed to finish the core project first and then determine how much quoted time is left for other considerations. The most important thing is that you have the base system setup and your staff trained on the HR product; push off anything extra or “nice haves” until the basics are completed.
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 Solution research including: a Human Resource Software Selection Tool and a HR Software Blog.
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Be sure to also download our Detailed Free HRIS Buyers Guide which provides a detailed ten step approach to selecting HR Software.