Benefits Administration System Selection – A strategy for tomorrow.

July 23, 2014


Yes, it is time. You are ready to look for a new Benefits Administration system. You are ready for the vendor demonstrations. You have been giving a lot of thought to the new features your system should have. You are excited that this may be the opportunity to finally get that Health and Wellness initiative off the ground.

With the path to choosing a new Benefits Administration system comes a lot of press around the (ACA) Affordable Care Act. Where ever you sit on this topic, take the ACA as an opportunity to rethink your healthcare benefits strategy. Yes, you need to ensure that the new system will provide the reporting you require and yes, HRMS vendors are taking many different approaches in fulfilling these requirements BUT what the new system provides in tangible benefits to your corporation and its strategy is where it will become a big winner (or loser, but let’s not go there!).

Take the time to review the value of employee self-service, especially during open enrollment and how a well-designed portal will improve the workflow for your HR Team. Review the ease of enrollment for your employees at work or at home discussing options with their family. Look for the quick wins like being able to keep your company employee policies up to date and in one location where everyone can access them. Enjoy the cool videos you can add to improve communications and engage your teams. These are all important.

Then take a step back and look at your workforce, what will they be looking for tomorrow? What will help attract and retain those high performers? How can a defined contribution plan with a private exchange bring value at a manageable cost? Allowing employees to tailor their benefits to what matters most to them will bring value to both sides of this equation, the employee and the corporate strategy.

The number of features to consider in a benefits administration system number in the hundreds as do the number of vendors vying for your business. Benefits administration deals with sensitive employee information that needs to be safeguarded by the proper application design and security. Focus on your corporate goals and let HRchitect help you realize the cost benefit through thorough analysis and vendor selection, change management through to implementation including carrier set up and open enrollment support. Let’s talk about what is important in your benefits administration today and even more important what is important to your strategy in the future.


Cheryl Tyson 2Cheryl Tyson

Senior Implementation Consultant



You are a rock star and it’s just a project

July 18, 2014

Awesome guitar player jumps with passion in studio


You are a rock star. You are the “go to” HR/Talent Acquisition Professional for your organization. You are THE girl or boy Friday. You are the favorite, you hardly ever make mistakes, you work hard and aggressively invite opportunities to grow and challenge yourself. Great job!

So when your manager walks into your office and sits down, the excitement builds. What accolades will I be receiving? What crisis will I avert, reqs will I magically fill, location’s moral will I turn around with the wave of my rock star wand? Instead, fantastic news! The HRIS/ATS you have been complaining about is finally to be replaced, enterprise wide. YOU have been so instrumental in pointing out the weaknesses  of your current system, or lack thereof, that you get to manage the entire project. It’s the opportunity you have been waiting for, and your manager knows you are going to do a great job

Your manager continues on, rattling off all those buzz words you used when you were trying to influence the executive team this was a needed change; efficiencies, optimization, end user adoption, cost containment, even the dreaded headcount reduction. Unfortunately you now can no longer hear anything he/she is saying. What you can hear is your heart beat banging like Poe’s telltale heart, and what you feel is the sweat rolling down your back.  The eminent evaporation of this same sweat gives you a chill which luckily snaps you out of your daze just in time to flash a pinched smile and thank your manager so much for the opportunity and ensure them that, as always, they will not be disappointed. Been here? Then read on and know you are not alone.

There are a few lessons I have learned as  “non-project manager” along the way which I know can save face and sanity:


  • Ensure there is a very clear scope. What is supposed to be achieved in this project? What is not supposed to be achieved? Why are you doing it? How do we measure that we are done? These are the most important questions you can ask as you can repeatedly come back to those answers to gut check what you are spending time on.
  • Agree on a realist target completion date and fight for it. Remember a project is temporary, but your job (hopefully) is not. Get it done, get your props and get back to your “normal” job. Factor time zones, vacations and potentially international cultures in. Summers are a hard time to get anything done for instance as are the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Pad your dates to cover all this potential and always push to stay ahead, not “on time”.
  • Who are the resources and how does the responsibility break down? This is vital because you are NOT responsible for doing everything but you ARE responsible for making sure it gets done. In addition ensure you have a clear escalation point for each resource. Hopefully you won’t need it.
  • Don’t keep it a secret if a resource is not performing or the project is at risk. It is your job to keep your eye on resource and risk, but you may not be in a position to manage those elements. Maintain weekly documentation and share it with management. Keep in mind that just like you, your resources have other responsibilities and may need assistance in managing project priorities. Maybe a quick call is all that is needed to realign your teams efforts.


In the end, keep in mind that some projects fail and not due to the efforts, or lack thereof, of the PM. You cannot control every element of your environment or organization. Plan for mistakes and have a mitigation plan in place for those items that you know have a high likelihood of impacting success.

Remember, you are a rock star and it’s just a project.

Elissa MontoyaElissa Montoya
Senior Consultant, Implementation Services



Premise-based vs Saas – Your HCM system has left the building

July 14, 2014


“Build it and they will come” is an age old speculative phrase that has been thrown around when attempting to justify new retail centers, sports venues, business complexes and more.   However that same philosophy of “build” is on the wane as it relates to today’s business systems, and more specifically HCM solutions.

I have had the opportunity to visit with several HR and Project leaders over the past several months who have been confronted with the question of build versus buy as it relates to the upgrade of their existing HCM platform. Of course the actual thought here is to decide between a premise-based solution, or a SaaS (Software as a Service) model. SaaS is becoming synonymous with cloud based or hosted solutions.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with one of my HRchitect colleagues on a client scoping call. This particular client is in the market for a new HCM solution and had only envisioned a premise based solution.   Why? Because their history has been with premise based solutions only therefore familiarity was prevailing here. Well a detailed overview by my colleague of the SaaS model was a game changer. The benefits realized by the client of the SaaS model were:

-          A predictable cost of ownership

-          Easily scalable as the organization’s workforce changes

-          Fewer internal resources for system management

These aforementioned benefits were high level goals for the client therefore SaaS just happened to be the better long term solution. This is not to indicate that premise based should never be considered as there are organizations whose requirements make for a better fit. A need for ongoing customization is one thought there.

Finally as I have observed the impact of cloud based solutions in the world of HCM, I draw a parallel to another industry that has experienced a greater impact……telecommunications. Many of the benefits of cloud based solutions in telecom are beginning to be realized in HCM.   I can only image that in the near term organizations that are utilizing cloud base telephony will draw that same parallel when it comes to evaluating their HCM system.


Reggie Wilson3Reggie Wilson

Regional Sales Manager at HRchitect

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Same Thing, Different Word……

July 2, 2014

Regional vocabularies play a huge role in how we communicate with one another. Whether in business or personal matters, word choices and pronunciation can sometimes mean the difference between closing a sale or not, getting that promotion vs. being passed over or simply being accepted to being persona non grata.

I remember when I was working on closing a sale for my former employer, my clients from the Midwest, did not understand or appreciate the country accent in which my colleagues spoke during that meeting. They were visibly disconnected from the meeting and could not focus on the details of our negotiation because they were so turned off by the way in which it was presented to them. After that, our internal team had discussions around not using certain words in business meetings if the audience was from a different region that did not speak the same lingo.

Here’s a map that shows our nation’s regional accent and just how many different ways of speaking English that we find in our own country. Keep this in mind when you’re communicating with others over the phone, via email or in person.

Also, check out the quiz link below from the New York Times and see your personal dialect map by answering 25 short questions. Remember the way you speak says a lot about where you’re from. You want the person you are talking to focusing on what you’re saying and not the way you’re saying it.


Check out the New York Times accent quiz HERE


  May Huffer

  Regional Sales Manager at HRchitect




HRchitect’s Influence in the HCM Technology World Is Far Reaching

June 26, 2014


If you’re like me, you were happy to see Summer arrive (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere). People have long shaken off the winter doldrums, tackled “Spring” projects and ready to immerse themselves into the heat of summer. In our world, one of those projects should be taking a health check on your Human Capital Management systems.

We take a lot of pride in what we do at HRchitect. Day in and day out we make a difference in the lives of many leading organizations and the people that are at those organizations today and those who will be there in the future. We do this through the HCM technology consulting services we offer around strategy, software selection and implementation.

After 17 years, and well over 900 clients, including many of today’s most successful companies, many who keep coming back for additional services, we have developed a leadership position. This position comes from trust and a definition of trust that I like is “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.”

Something I absolutely love about what we do, and the companies we serve, is that I see reminders everywhere I go, and with everything I do. It is almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything, without using a service or a product from one of our clients. In fact, I will almost guarantee that you use a product or service from one of our clients, perhaps even on a regular basis. Seriously, just check out a few of them on our web site at

In any event, this leadership position you have helped us achieve is not to be taken lightly, and simply makes us strive to do more. If there is anything we can do for you, or that you would like to see highlighted in future newsletters or our awesome blogs, just let us know as we are here to serve!


Matt Lafata2Matt Lafata

HRchitect president


Avoiding Implementation Costs That End Up Higher Than Estimates – The Secret Ingredient? Pre-Implementation Planning

June 10, 2014

A Critical Step That Every Organization Should Undertake Before Beginning the Implementation of any Human Capital Management (HCM) System

avoid higher cost

How many times have you had a software vendor or third party implementer provide “concrete” implementation pricing although the vendor has not even scoped the project? There are many factors that need to be considered in an implementation, including resource availability, system integration, training, change management, etc.

If you are getting implementation numbers from vendors or consulting firms without proper scoping, all that does is lead you, the client, to believe it is a good number…but it may potentially come around to bite you later on. And it happens far more than you would expect!

HRchitect has implemented HCM systems for hundreds of companies of all sizes and industries across the globe, and knows that ultimately you may end up paying more in the long run because the vendor or third party firm will nickel and dime you at every opportunity.

I’m not saying this to bash vendors but rather arm you with the information you need to get more accurate implementation numbers from a vendor the first time and avoid having to later clean up a mess, deal with the mistrust aftermath, and keep you from having to find more budget to finish items you thought you were getting in the first place.

Pre-Implementation Planning is a vital process that enables organizations to “hit the ground running” upon the initiation of the implementation of your selected HCM System and will help to ensure meeting your desired system live date. It’s important to note that the decisions made, data gathered and documentation created during the pre-implementation effort would be pertinent to whichever vendor solution that you finally select. Often times these services are delivered during the vendor contract negotiations period. The following are the tasks and deliverables associated with HRchitect’s high-level pre-implementation consulting services, which ultimately ends with a solid implementation roadmap/plan:


  • Definition of implementation project organization, implementation project team, and project scope
  • Definition of project timeline for each implementation phase
  • Definition of project critical success factors and metrics
  • Definition of project constraints and risks along with the creation of a risk mitigation strategy
  • Facilitating development of change management and training plans
  • Definition of pre-implementation data gathering requirements and monitoring of data gathering progress
  • High-level review, analysis and definition of current and future/“to-be” processes
  • High-level definition of system integration requirements


Regardless of what vendor you have chosen, or what kind of HCM module you are implementing, please do yourself a favor and talk to HRchitect about pre-implementation planning. It’s one of our many “packaged” services that help to ensure a successful implementation to make you look like a rock star within your organization.

Matt Lafata2Matt Lafata

HRchitect president


HRchitect to Present Two New Education Sessions at the 2014 Oracle Human Capital Management Users Group (OHUG) Conference.

June 2, 2014

Frisco, Texas – June 02, 2014 – HRchitect, the leader in full life cycle Human Capital Management (HCM) systems consulting services, will be presenting two learning sessions at the upcoming Oracle HCM Users Group Conference (OHUG) in Las Vegas, NV on June 12th. Oracle HCM Cloud users interested in how to maximize the value of a SaaS investment, will benefit from attending the HRchitect session 14169:Getting the most from your system investment on June 12th at 11:00am. Taleo users who are interested in system configuration and global implementation will want to attend the HRchitect session 14160:Global Implementation of Taleo Recruiting & Onboarding for High Volume with Convergys on June 12th also at 11am.

The Oracle HCM Users Group (OHUG) brings together end users, industry experts and developers at the annual OHUG Global Conference. More than 1,600 OHUG members will come to The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas to participate in the OHUG Global Conference 2014, June 9th – 13th. This annual conference is a week-long networking and learning opportunity for HR professionals utilizing Human Capital Management (HCM) systems, including Oracle, PeopleSoft, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Fusion HCM and Oracle Taleo products.

The OHUG conference provides users and developers alike with a chance to network and learn from one another about the products they use every day, along with direct interaction with Oracle Corporation representatives who develop and manage those products. Learning opportunities are abundant during the weeklong conference and sessions led by HRchitect’s own Jacqueline Kuhn, Executive Vice President of HCM Consulting Services and Tom LaMarre, Director of Implementation Services at HRchitect, will provide attendees with real world examples of Optimization and Implementations as related to Oracle Taleo systems.

Getting the most from your system investment on June 12th at 11am, will be presented by Jacqueline Kuhn and will discuss strategies for reviewing a client’s systems and the processes to make the most of a software investment. Attendees will learn tips on how to assess their current state and “catch up” to their product if they have not turned on new features when new releases have been issued.

Global Implementation of Taleo Recruiting & Onboarding for High Volume with Convergys, also on June 12th at 11am, will be led by Tom LaMarre of HRchitect and Lori Anne Davis of Convergys Corporation and will walk attendees through a global implementation of Taleo Recruiting and Transitions and discuss how the implementation teams worked together to identify the differences and similarities in processes globally, allowing Convergys to deploy a product that met the specific regional needs for their high volume hiring. Learning objectives covered in this session include best practices for implementing Taleo Recruiting for high volume and high turnover recruiting and implementing Taleo Onboarding for accounting with regional requirements in a global organization. Attendees will also learn how to conduct training for Taleo Recruiting and Onboarding in a global organization.

“Year after year, OHUG continues to deliver a conference that provides users with invaluable opportunities to learn from their peers,” commented Matt Lafata, president of HRchitect. “We are pleased to be participating in the conference and delivering two educational sessions. I hope attendees will leverage the knowledge we share to enable their organizations to have successful implementations or optimizations of their Taleo system.”

The OHUG 2014 Conference offers attendees the opportunity to add to their knowledge of technology providers and learn from company representatives about capabilities, new features and functionalities offered across the Oracle and HRIS technology landscape. The expo hall provides a perfect venue for networking with industry partners who specialize in Oracle technologies.

HRchitect, as an Oracle Gold Partner, will be exhibiting and can be found in booth #207. Attendees can stop by the booth during show hours to learn more about HRchitect’s expertise around HCM technologies and best practices, as well as register to win a Jambox™ by Jawbone®.


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For additional information, visit or call 214-619-0888.


Media Contact:

Rusty Hall – Marketing Specialist, HRchitect

Office phone: 214.619.6613

About HRchitect

HRchitect is the leader in HCM systems strategic consulting. As the premier Human Capital Management (HCM) Systems consulting firm, we offer the full life cycle HR technology consulting services focused around strategic planning, evaluation/selection, project management and implementation of HR systems, Talent Management Systems, Talent Acquisition Systems, and Workforce Management software. In over 17 years, we have worked on over 2000 successful engagements for more than 900 clients around the world. HRchitect is a name you can trust for all your organizations HCM technology-related consulting needs.

To find out how HRchitect’s HR software expertise can benefit your company, visit our website at or call 214-619-0888.





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