The Human Resources Department (role and mission) can play an essential role as a "business partner" when implementing new IT solutions. Individuals and their skills indeed lie at the core of any software implementation process, thus playing a key role in its success.
First of all, it is necessary to understand the stakes when choosing one solution over another. In particular, the consequences of a change in software for the human factor will have to be carefully considered, in order for the implementation to unfold smoothly. Moreover, the selected IT system will often have to meet heteroclite needs and the variety of solutions offered may be somewhat confusing.
The Human Resources Department itself may face significant needs in terms of management software. These needs mainly pertain to the 3 following fields of activity:
At present, a variety of ERPs meet the need for IT management systems of both the HR Department and of the company’s management as a whole. These tools include some big names, such as SAP R/3, PeopleSoft and HR Access, among others.
However, in order to choose the most suitable software, one will have to consider not only purely technical data but also cultural issues that relate to the human side of corporate management (management style, diversity of users, employees with a low level of IT skills, etc.).
The implementation of an IT system should thus ideally be conducted step by step and module after module, so as to maintain control over the process as a whole. The diverse preliminary steps (assessment of competing systems, setup…) should ideally be stretched over a period of maximum 6 months, while the operational steps (data acquisition, customization…) may be stretched over a longer time period.
Let us illustrate the main steps of a software selection process by using a concrete example:
Step 1: Definition of software selection criteria
Based on an analysis of your needs, you will be able to list up all the HR software's main assessment areas (example) that reflect your situation. For each of these areas, you will then have to determine relevant assessment criteria. This list can be long and there are no actual restrictions. However, be careful not to include criteria that only refer to special cases.
Step 2: Definition of each criterion’s measurement indicators
Each criterion should be measured in an independent manner, by using HR software assessment indicators (example) that can easily be employed and for which subjectivity does not play an important role. Also, you may want to avoid offering an uneven number of answer modalities; experience indeed shows that in such cases, people tend to choose the middle!
Step 3: Setting-up of a comparison table
At this stage, the diverse offers should be assessed in relation to the selected criteria. Here is the example of an HR software assessment table (example) used to compare 3 possible IT solutions. Such tables are useful at the end of the selection process, as they allow drawing a synthesis of the different solutions being assessed. In this example, solution A should be slightly preferred to solutions B and C.
Step 4: Definition of criteria weightings
Some criteria may however appear to be critical given your company’s environment or processes, or due to some aspects of its activities – such as teamwork, for instance. In this case, it may be advisable to sort out the criteria by order of importance, by using a weighting table for the selected assessment criteria (example). Please note that, in the present example, the most important thing is the benefit users get from the tool, while temporality only plays a minor role.
The synthesis table presented in Step 3 may now be updated by taking the weighting table into account. An updated HR software assessment table (example) may thus be obtained, that would incite us to slightly prefer solution B to solution A, in spite of its low level of availability.