Online HR Software: Attributes of the Expert

Defining the in-house Expert

Whether you select online HR Software (commonly called 'cloud') or not, you should be aware of its advantages and disadvantages when compared to locally installed HR software applications. Keep in mind, the person you select to manage your HR Software is also key to the success of your implementation.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both platforms, the chart below highlights the key differences often discussed:


Local HR Software Online HR Software
Control over all systems No new infrastructure requirements
Corporate data is stored internally No software licensing costs
Need for additional IT staff Low IT requirements
High initial investment Low startup costs


A needs analysis is the place to start but typically the high-level needs boil down to security, access, IT support and existing HR systems expertise.  We have another article here, “What does, Determine your HRIS needs, mean?” that may help you as well.

First: Determine HR Software Systems Expertise (in house)

Unfortunately, according to a report on the HR Software Manager position, “only 15% of the largest businesses state they have an HR software expert managing their systems on a full-time basis.”

Presumably, this could mean that the rest of the 85% of those corporations have fully outsourced their HR Software management, but we believe that more often than not, it is simply a matter of not having a clearly defined role in HR for this responsibility. After a certain size, usually 1000 employees and up, you really need a specific individual managing your HR systems full-time. However, as the chart above shows, there are differences to managing web-based HR software vs a solution that is maintained in-house by your IT organization. Those differences should be considered when selecting the right person to manage your solution.

What the HR Software Manager does

At the core level, the HR Software Manager is responsible for management of your Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS/HR Software). According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

“This position is responsible for providing vision, leadership, planning, project coordination, and management for the development of a cost-effective HRMS while concurrently facilitating efficient operations to meet current and future business needs within the HR organization. [It is] Responsible for analyzing and directing all functional related activities within the scope of the Human Resources Management System. This position is accountable for ensuring continuity and successful delivery of functional services to users throughout the organization.”

HR Software Manager Tasks

The specific tasks for an HR Software Manager obviously relate to the specific business or industry sector you are in. But, you can narrow them down to a core set of duties:

  • Designs, builds, and installs HR software tables, codes, and security.
  • Tests and maintains efficacy, functionality, and security of software.
  • Develops systems to integrate various platforms, vendor programs, and technologies.
  • Troubleshoots, identifies, and fixes technology problems.
  • Assures quality, accuracy, and consistency of HR databases.
  • Develops and communicates technology strategy, needs, and deployment.
  • Shares real-time and scheduled reports to senior management and mid-management, as needed.
  • Leads projects on HR software implementation, upgrades, and training.
  • Researches and analyzes service agreements.

The Online HR Software Manager: A Vendor Manager, not a Politician

The major difference between an online HR Software manager and one that manages an in-house system is who they will interface with mostly, a vendor or internal IT. If using cloud services, the majority of the IT tasks are outsourced to the provider of your HR system(s). The role of vendor manager versus in-house politics is subtle but different enough in that you can threaten to 'leave' your provider, but obviously you can't 'just quit' your IT team. Outside of that, the ability to report, maintain and manage the system is nearly identical whether online or locally installed. So, picking someone with the right technical and strategic skills is key and could be the differentiator between a great vendor manager or an internal politician.

What the HR Software Manager Earns

According to, the median income for HR Software Managers in the U.S. is $102,061 ($109,109 with bonus). Twenty-five percent make up to $88,950, and 25% make between $116,000 and $130,000. The variation reflects differences in industry sectors and geographical regions as well as qualifications and experience.

Of those surveyed, 50% have bachelor’s degrees and 31% have master’s degrees.

Does Your Business Need One?

Every business over 1,000 employees has some sort of HR software that tracks employee data - sick and vacation days, time and attendance, payroll benefits and deductions, employee performance, and all other aspects of personnel management. However, when a company wants to move beyond tactics and use information for strategy, it becomes essential to have an HR software management expert. If moving to a new solution, the manager would handle the transition, integration, and future growth within the in-house information technology. But, most importantly, this person must be able to turn data into information.

By building reports, that correlate performance, salary, activity and a variety of additional internal metrics, they help identify great employees and their traits. This information is used to help find the next ‘great’ employee or the ‘A’ players you cannot afford to lose. As BambooHR quips, “When was the last time a spreadsheet sent you an anniversary reminder?” Meaning that no matter the use or technology you have implemented, you still need the right people and processes in place to help take advantage of the technology.

Just as important to the company is the ability for mid-management to have access to information that reviews their unit performance and enables them to tie it back to their employees, while executive management can monitor key assessments on labor force, labor burden, and talent management - in real time. The primary individual holding all of this together is the HR Software manager. They pull the pieces of all the technology and provide the information in a format that can be understood by each management level within the organization.

The Best advice

As soon as growth tells you that your desktop or your management and reporting needs cannot handle all you need in terms of payroll and human resources data management, it is time to start your shopping for what Sentric™ calls, “Streamlined solutions for emerging businesses with a vision towards growth.”  Getting the right solution in place is that first step, but selecting the right person to manage it is equally important. Ideally, that person is part of the selection process. So, no matter how you implement your software, online or local, make sure you take into account the individual managing the solution.

Additional Source