HR Software Solutions Interfaces versus Integration

Expect to hear the terms interface and integration frequently during your search for an HR software solution. Both refer to the interaction of two systems, but there are differences and it’s important you understand them. It's also important to understand what you will be tying to your HR solution. An interface usually requires work on your part and data changes do not happen in real time. Integration, however, is automatic and requires no work on your end. Either provides the capability to eliminate time consuming, error-prone double entries but because a software integration generally means less work, you should select systems that integrate whenever possible.

HR Software Interfaces

Almost all business software applications on the market today should be able to create and accept some type of import or export file. This allows you to transfer data to and from numerous independent solutions.

Let’s say, for example, your company uses one product for payroll and another for all other Human Resource (HR) functions. Obviously, you would not want to enter changes to employee data separately into two systems; it’s a lot of extra work and literally doubles the chances of an error. An interface would provide the opportunity to take data from your Payroll product and download it to your HR solution following each payroll run. Now here’s the catch: A file must be created or run from the payroll product, then downloaded to the HR software solution either through a custom interface or some type of import utility. This might not take more than five minutes, but it’s still an extra step you would have to apply to keep your HR and Payroll software solution up to date. Another important issue here is that your HR data is only as current as your last download. So if you are not frequently interfacing the data, you might find that the data in your HR application is often out of date.

Interfaces require extra work and will not be real time, but they are an important means of tying two systems together, eliminating repetitive double entry, and reducing manual entry errors. You will probably be working with interfaces far more often than true integrated software applications. While an interface may not be the perfect solution, it does sometimes offer the easiest method of eliminating time consuming double entry.

HR Software Integration

Integration is always the best-case scenario, but it’s rarely offered. An integrated Human Resource Management System requires no work and changes happen in real time; the two systems share the same database, so you only have to add or update data once. If the two systems, from our earlier example, were integrated, a change made to payroll would show up automatically in your HR product and vice versa. If you are going to want an integrated HRIS, you will probably have to get all of your HR products from the same company. Take a look at our products list as we offer a number of systems that provide integrated HR Payroll software solutions.

Stop Manually Entering the Same HR-Related Data into Various Systems

As I said before, almost any HR software solution on the market is going to allow you to import and export data. So the capability is probably already there for you to eliminate time consuming, error-prone double entries. Solving the problem is usually just a matter of effort, expense, and a little time.

About the Author

Clay Scroggin worked in the Human Resource and Payroll Software Industry for more than fifteen years. During that time, Clay and those who worked with him, assisted hundreds of HR professionals with their Human Resource software needs. In 2007, Clay began working on, a site dedicated to assisting HR professionals with their search, selection, implementation and use of HR systems. 

Additional Articles you may wish to read:

Be sure to download our Free HRIS Buyers Guide which provides a detailed ten step approach to selecting HR Software.