The Proof for HRIS

(Article Summary)

Spurring your company to take the leap from basic record-keeping to a full-blown human resource information system can be an intimidating job, regardless of whether or not you've had experience with this type of system in the past. We all know that an HRIS is supposed to streamline processes and improve business efficiency – but sometimes it's hard to envision the future payoff when we're faced with the exhausting task of selecting, adopting, and learning an entirely new system that often feels like a foreign language. The bottom line is this: we've done our research. We know what a solid hr application is supposed to accomplish. Where is the evidence, however, that all of those promises of improvement are actually going to ring true?

Well, to answer that question – the evidence is here. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that there are real, genuine organizations out there which have effectively employed a human resource information system in order to solve a variety of standard management problems. The cases are different, but the results are the same: wise software implementation has helped companies large and small, obscure and world-famous, to enhance their Human Resource administration and performance. This article reviews a series of situations as addressed by the following eight companies: IBM Europe, Ameriprise Financial, Terasen Pipelines, Shaw’s Supermarkets, CS Stars LLC, IBM, WORKSource Inc., and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. Needless to say, this is just a small sampling of the differences an hr system has made; this type system has been a prominent “business partner” for an endless number of organizations.

The Benefits of Human Resource Software

Before we examine these companies' HRIS case examples, let's revisit the reasons why a flourishing HR information system is important. First and foremost, perhaps, is the fact that we live in a world of evolving technology; only the most up-to-date systems can possibly hope to contend with the rate at which organizations now process and accumulate information. When the concept of a Human Resource software system was originally pioneered by General Electric back in the 1950s, it was little more than a rudimentary means by which a company might convert manual record-keeping systems into computerized applications. Today, Human Resource software is responsible for far more than just “data storage” – it is a fluid method of sorting, filtering, and accessing information within human resources so that business operations can be managed with optimal efficiency.

The ways in which HR information systems can so dramatically improve efficiency are manifold. HR software can be applied to serve many tasks and purposes, including (but certainly not limited to!): 

Clerical applications

succession planning

applicant search expenditures

flexible-benefits administration

risk management

compliance with government regulations

training management

attendance reporting and analysis

training experiences

human resource planning

financial planning

accident reporting and prevention

turnover analysis

strategic planning


In recent years, HR Management Systems have become more important than ever, this time as an essential brick in the wall of a company's information security. The explosive popularity of computer and internet use which has characterized the past decade has, unfortunately, brought with it a surge in identity theft made easy as more and more companies go online with their employee information databases. A functional HR information system will successfully protect employee privacy by not only limiting access to the databases via password protection, but also ensuring that the only employee information on file is that which remains pertinent to the operations of the company.

HRIS in Action

Now that we've established the potential benefits of this type of technology, we can take a look at the human resource information system in action. The following eight company scenarios are only brief sketches, but they demonstrate a collection of ways in which HRIS has helped these organizations to deal with real issues related to human resources, data security, and information technology. Though by no means a comprehensive list, these examples will hopefully help to serve as a model for your own company's relationship with HR Management Systems.


IBM Europe
 - IBM Europe utilized an HRIS in order to connect their 340,000 global employees through revolutionary and engaging new company-oriented social media.


Ameriprise Financial
 - After suffering heavy customer data losses in 2005, Ameriprise Financial used an HRIS to implement new, fortified “layers of protection” to prevent any future repeats of such a devastating security breach.


Terasen Pipelines
 - When the relocation of their company headquarters prompted a rapid growth spurt, Terasen Pipelines upgraded to using an HR technology solution in order to keep more accurate and expedient human resource records.


Shaw's Supermarkets
 - With a diverse workforce made up of 70 percent part-time employees, consisting of students, senior citizens, second-job part-timers, and career part-timers, Shaw's Supermarkets needed an efficient system of management. Through the use of a Human Resource Information System, Shaw's was able to establish an employee self-service (ESS) solution which allowed employees to keep track of their own benefit information and options online.


CS Stars, LLC
 - In 2006, CS Stars, LLC failed to appropriately report a security breach which affected 540,000 New Yorkers; this mistake has cost the company over $60,000 in settlement. CS Stars has since agreed to implement improved security measures and this will be done with the help of a well-organized HRIS.


 - HRIS has saved IBM $1.2 million per year simply by mitigating the company's printing and mailing costs through the implementation of an online enrollment system. The online HR software system has been tremendously well-received by employees who can now research program information and access decision support tools from their own homes.


WORKSource Inc.
 - When 100 new employees were added suddenly to the payroll, a capable HR Management System provided WORKSource Inc. with the necessary tools, such as electronic paystub and timesheet software, in order to smoothly integrate the new employees into the existing system.


Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc.
 - By manipulating a streamlined and functional HR software system, Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. moved all of their benefit information online. TAMS has created a library of documents and forms on its Human Resources portal, including the benefits guide, which earned a 2004 Apex Award for publication excellence. TAMS also received the 2004 Electronic Benefit Communication award given by Business Insurance Magazine for outstanding achievement in communicating employee benefits programs over the Web.

For more details on these companies' success with HRIS, please view the original article.