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

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It’s Always A Good Time to Invest in Talent Acquisition Systems

April 10, 2014

HRct Gold Bricks

People often ask HRchitect, why would my company want to invest in a new talent acquisition system during debatable economic times and when we have few open requisitions to fill, low turnover and plenty of active candidates?

The simple answer is that leading companies invest in strategic initiatives during both good and bad economic cycles. During challenging economic times, while their competitors are busy freezing budgets and putting projects on hold, industry leaders continue to selectively invest in strategic new systems. During robust times, the need is more apparent.

Strategic C-Level executives understand that in order to successfully execute the company’s business plan, they need the right people, in the right positions, at the right time, independent of the current economic environment. Qualified talent must also be available at the right cost. Savvy staffing and human resource executives understand that they are responsible for delivering a continuous supply of qualified talent at the right cost. This future global talent pool will include qualified external candidates, internal candidates (i.e., employees) and a flexible contingent workforce.

In order to be recognized as a strategic member of the executive team, staffing and human resource executives also need to communicate in business terms and analyze their results using strategic metrics. These visionary executives are sponsoring projects to evaluate, select and implement new generation talent acquisition systems (or finding ways to get more out of existing systems) as the technology foundation for future success. In addition to traditional metrics like time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and revenue-per employee, metrics are evolving to become more actionable and predictive.

Many organizations now focus on quality not on quantity. For example, your sourcing analysis may tell you that most of your new hires for a certain position are coming from social talent sourcing. However, after a year on the job, the top performers with the highest performance ratings were almost all employee referrals.   This type of actionable information helps recruiters implement the most cost effective sourcing strategy. In addition, identification of your top performers and the screening and interview processes that they went through will help you to refine, as necessary, those processes to help increase your quality hires.

Companies are also looking at metrics like new hire turnover, failure rates and employee longevity as strategic measures of quality. Predictive analysis is driven by prior trending results that can be used to reduce risk in making future human capital management expenditures. For example, if turnover of employees with 5 years experience continues as expected, the company will experience succession issues within 3 years.

During a down economy, most companies focus on streamlining business processes and reducing costs.Also, from the employee’s standpoint, this economic environment tends to not only discourage job changes, but also create more pressure to perform. Employees are being asked to deliver more with fewer resources. Many employees, including top performers, will opt to stay in their current jobs until the economy shows a clear sign of recovery. If their employer has not treated them well, they will actively seek new opportunities as soon as the economic expansion is clearly underway. Leading companies invest in new systems that allow them to establish relationships with these passive candidates and build a global talent database. As the economy recovers, these companies will leverage the database to recruit the top talent and gain an advantage over their competitors.

Leading companies also recognize that internal mobility, the movement of employees from one position to another within a corporation, is an efficient and cost-effective method of talent deployment and can be a significant component of a company’s staffing and employee-retention strategy. Making job opportunities available to existing employees (i.e., internal candidates) leads to greater employee satisfaction and retention, while at the same time lowering staffing costs and filling positions more quickly.Retaining your top performers requires more than just posting jobs on the internal career site. Today’s next generation talent acquisition systems provide employees with the capability to create electronic profiles that include their skills, competencies and career aspirations. Employees can set up personal search agents and be automatically notified when their “dream job” becomes available.

We believe, whatever the current economic cycle, but especially during times of economic growth, that there will be a major shifting of talent. Leading companies that have implemented new generation talent acquisition systems will leverage the relationships they have fostered with the best candidates to gain a competitive advantage. They will also be in a better position to retain their top talent because they have identified their top performers and put in place career development initiatives to retain them. Having a talent acquisition system that meets your organizations needs and requirementscould be your first step towarddelivering a continuous supply of qualified talent at the right cost and being recognized as a strategic member of the executive team.

So now that we have you thinking about either automating your current manual processes, replacing the system you have, or simply optimizing your current system, turn to HRchitect before you do anything. HRchitect has assisted hundreds of leading companies in the evaluation, selection and implementation of talent acquisition systems (and actually human capital management systems of all types), and we stand at the ready to help you.

Matt Lafata2Matt Lafata

HRchitect president

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Assessing Your Current Human Capital Management (HCM) System(s)

February 18, 2014

HCM Doctor chart

If you are reading this, then chances are pretty good that you use some kind of HCM system (recruiting, talent management, compensation, workforce management, HRMS, payroll, etc.). In addition, since you are reading this, you are likely human and hopefully see a doctor for regular health, or wellness checkups. Well, when was the last time you performed a “check-up” on your HCM system?

Now that you have made it to the second paragraph, I’m here to tell you that it’s in your best interest to step back from time to time and assess how you are using that HCM system and how it is working for your organization.

Most HR departments do not have the kind of expertise and understanding of today’s complex world of HCM components and systems, or even which vendors are keeping up with changes in the industry or likely to even be around in the future. That’s where HRchitect and its 2000+ HCM consulting projects come into play.

So what do we do in helping your assess your systems and needs? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here are some things we do in a system assessment, which should give you something to think about.

* Evaluate your current needs and whether they have changed since first implementing your system. Once these needs are validated, are there gaps in what the current solution can address?

* Validate why you automated this function in the first place and whether your goals and objectives are still legitimate. Have your requirements changed?

* Determine whether you are utilizing your current system to its full capacity and whether additional modules or functionality may be needed.

* Verify whether the system is technically efficient. Are the response times meeting the needs of the users?

* Assess the level of usability and adoption of the system. How are new users being trained?

* Review the integration of the system with other HCM applications within your organization.

* Realize the ROI (Return on Investment) and ROV (Return on Value) from the current system.

* Substantiate the viability of the vendor. Is the vendor still financially sound? What is the vendor’s current strategy and road map? Is this product still one of the leaders in the market?

* Review your organization’s HCM systems’ strategies. Does this system fit within those strategies?

* Review your organization’s system administration and help desk roles.

* Analyze the governance model for this system. Is there a steering committee in place? How are internal enhancements prioritized? What is the best approach to provide input to the vendor and maintain a positive customer relationship?

* Evaluate the legislative compliance of the system. How is your organization adhering to data privacy requirements (particularly in global environments?)

* Examine the configurability and customization levels of the current system. Do you still have a migration plan forward with the vendor?

* Reassess the current system reports. Do any reports need to be added or rewritten?

* Can we incorporate other best practices or optimize the current processes?

* Ascertain whether you should look at other systems before renewing your current contract and if so, who you should look at and why. (Do we have a substantiated business case to make a change?)

* Assist with contract renewal. Can the pricing and Service Level Agreement be improved?

Is your head spinning around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist? Or maybe it is just cocked to the side like my dog? Either way, there is likely at least some head scratching and concern at this point. Nobody needs that kind of concern or stress in their life! Think of us as your meditation, your deep breathing exercises, or your little stress-reducing-squeeze-ball.

We know the vendor marketplace better than anybody you could talk to and have helped organizations just like yours avoid the landmines inherent in HCM technology decisions and deployments. Give us a call before you invest another dime and we will help you navigate through it all.

Matt Lafata2Matt has over 18 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. As President, he oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, customer success, partnerships, consulting, finance and corporate development.

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2014 Trends in the Human Capital Management World – Technology and People

January 23, 2014

technology-and-people-2illplc1

HRchitect has been writing about trends and predictions since before many of you were born. Well, I guess if you are under 17 years old that would be true, but for those over 17, we’ve been writing about this stuff for a long time! It’s fun to look ahead, especially when you have been living in the HCM world for as long as we have where we like to say, “we’ve seen it all”. That being said, our industry seems to evolve, embrace and evangelize at the speed of light.

So where do we start? First of all, I’m going to touch on a lot of topics but since this is a blog and not a white paper, I will not get into tremendous detail around each item, however I may revisit them in more detail at a later date.

First and foremost, Human Resources (HR) has been slowly getting more credit and more strategic over the past few years as organizations start to realize that people are their greatest assets. This will accelerate in the coming years as the workforces of the future become more diverse, more virtual, and more demanding, amongst other things. And different groups of people have to be managed and communicated with differently. In addition, no matter what kinds of technologies and systems are put in place, nothing will fully replace the human interaction that so many people crave.

So what about systems? For years we have talked about the concept of Integrated Talent Management (ITM), which many vendors have worked so hard to achieve, and while some have, it still remains elusive. That being said, while we published a “Beyond ITM” white paper in 2013, I go back to my comments above related to the HR department in that we have to go beyond just technology and look at how everything from processes, policies, culture, and more can cohesively move companies forward. How do we “match” what people do outside of work, to what they do at work, since the lines between work-life and outside-life continue to blur?

What buzzwords do we continue to hear as we move into 2014? Big data, social collaboration, talent sourcing, video, mobile, and of course the ever important elements of HCM systems themselves – recruiting, learning, performance, onboarding, compensation, and more.

Big data – what the heck is it anyway? One definition is “Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.” Well that really didn’t help you understand it now, did it? The amount of data in our world is growing exponentially and analyzing large sets of data (i.e. big data) is increasing becoming a crucial element in productivity growth, innovation and more. While we hear this term a lot, so few companies today truly analyze the data they have around their employees and how it affects the bottom line. In fact, it will require huge investments of time and money to do it right as data sits in many different systems and much of it may not be the right data that you want to measure with a strategy around what you are looking for. I think 2014 is the year that people start to focus on what they have and what to do with it as they look for ways to gain a competitive edge. However, I think it is a multi-year and ongoing process.

Talent sourcing/recruiting – this absolutely has to be an ongoing process, both externally and internally, from this point forward. While the unemployment rates vary widely, depending on who you talk with and how you measure it, the so-called “war for talent” is ongoing and the availability of certain kinds of talent will continue to be scarce. In fact, it will become increasingly scarce in certain areas. This is one of the many areas that social collaboration will play a big role. Video is also becoming more standard during the interview process, especially as the workforce becomes more virtual in 2014 and beyond.

Onboarding – expect automated Onboarding (and Offboarding) to continue growing in popularity as more companies look to go green and reduce their overall carbon footprint. Video and social will also make a big impact in this area.

Learning – Learning technologies have evolved over the years and it is becoming more crucial for organizations to first and foremost understand what they have, what is needed and how it is shared. Constantly developing people is not only good for an organization, but it keeps employees engaged, improves retention, aids in succession planning and naturally improves productivity. Look for more organizations to adopt the use of technologies that aid in this process. And have I mentioned social collaboration? Once again, Learning is an area that is embracing social in extremely innovative ways.

Performance management – Traditionally a once-a-year process, look for companies to continue overhauling this process and finding out what works best for them as it is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation. Instantaneous and ongoing feedback is going to be expected by younger workforces as that is all they know. Goals, projects and accomplishments are tending to be more rapid and overlapping, and with information overload, memories are becoming more convenient so recurring feedback is key to ongoing engagement. I also believe that “pay for performance” will continue to expand, something we have been talking about for years, and will be tied not just to individual goals but to the organization’s bottom line. Many organizations will require a major culture shift to do this right. Social collaboration will also play a role here as more people (i.e. peers) get involved in the performance process.

Mobile – This is an area that goes without saying as accessibility anywhere, on any device, is becoming the norm. HCM vendors are focused and investing in this area and will continue to do so as the next frontier of how people access information. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how pervasive social collaboration is throughout everything mobile.

I could go on and on as we live in very exciting, and ever-changing times. One thing that doesn’t change, and with all the changes taking place in the HCM software world, is ever more important, is the proper way of choosing the right HCM technology to best help you navigate the dynamic world we live in.

Fortunately HRchitect has a multi-step proven process that guides you to the best system for your needs through the use of Decision Drivers. You’re busy and don’t have time to keep up with the HCM vendor community. We live and breathe this stuff so do yourself and your organization a favor and call us before you license another piece of software. We’ll help to ensure that you control your destiny, and not the other way around.

Matt Lafata2Matt has over 18 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. As President, he oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, customer success, partnerships, consulting, finance and corporate development.

linkedin.com/in/mattlafata


Ranking “Decision Drivers” For Your Organization

June 29, 2012

HRchitect has been involved in approximately 2000 HR technology related projects for hundreds of companies of all sizes and industries across the world. We have gained tremendous insight (and continue to every single day) and feel an obligation to share our expertise, and our war stories, with you. After all, with 15 years in business behind us in working with many of today’s leading companies, we’ve gained a unique perspective on the very puzzling world of HR technology.

We’ve covered the benefits and rationale of Decision Drivers along with definitions of key Decision Drivers. Now, let’s talk about ranking them for your HR technology evaluation and selection project.

It is critical for the client project team to gain consensus on the relative priority of these drivers as early as possible in the selection process; doing so provides an “anchor” that will help keep project team members from being inordinately influenced by a particular package’s “bells and whistles.” Therefore, a Decision

Driver ranking exercise is one of the early stage deliverables in HRchitect’s selection methodology.

The ranking process generally takes place during a short series (generally 1-3) of on-site meetings or conference calls. Once the team understands what is included in each decision driver, the concept is to divide the twelve decision drivers into four main “levels” for consideration:

  • Exclude—these criteria are not at all relevant to the business (e.g., Global Capability may not apply to a US-only retail organization, Scalability may not materially affect a midmarket company)
  • Level 1 (Knock-out)—these criteria are so critical that they drive whether or not a vendor is even sent an RFI or RFP (e.g., Technology requirement is for a SaaS vendor, vendor must have HCM revenues in excess of $100M)
  • Level 2 (RFI/RFP/Demo)—these criteria are best assessed by evaluating vendor written responses and by viewing product demonstrations. All criteria in this level are weighted, usually on a 100 point scale.
  • Level 3 (Due Diligence/Purchase)—due to the need for the team in this phase to uncover more detailed information via reference calls, detailed financial discussions, and other due diligence tasks, there may be some initial Knockout criteria repeated here. This level is also weighed on a 100 point scale.

Below is a generic example of how a project team might rank the decision driver criteria:

Because ABC Company is based in the US, the project team excluded Global Capability from further consideration. Next, they determined the Knockout criteria (high level, but specific enough to drive the vendors to be selected). Level 2 criteria focused mostly on the capabilities of the software itself, with allocation of 100 weighting points. Finally, Level 3 criteria were defined—note the return of Vendor Viability and Cost, as more specific information is now available as a result of due diligence activities; note also that a number of other decision drivers appear here, as a more accurate assessment can be made based on the results of customer references.

This approach is typical of the majority of decision driver ranking exercises that

HRchitect does with clients, although the base process is often modified to include more or less detail per the desires of the client project team. Many HRchitect clients report a substantial benefit to having a 3rd party consultant involved with the ranking exercise due to the following:

  • A neutral 3rd party guide with no vested interest can help to surface and resolve political or “turf” issues that otherwise might derail consensus—resulting in a quicker ranking process with improved team dynamics
  • An outside perspective aware of current trends and capabilities of vendors in the market can provide expert fact-based commentary that supports the ranking process
  • Involvement by a competent 3rd party consultant who is able to testify to the impartiality of the process will often add legitimacy in the eyes of senior leadership.

We hope you enjoyed this series of blogs on “Decision Drivers” which described a leading practice methodology for incorporating decision drivers into an HCM technology evaluation project. While organizations may vary somewhat in the actual steps performed (as well as the sequence), the most important thing is that there is some form of decision driver ranking process conducted as a part of any HCM technology selection, and that it be completed early in the project in order to keep the team focused on the most important selection criteria based on the needs of the organization. Doing so will prevent a loss of focus by the project team, a potentially stalled decision making process, an undue focus on functionality and cost, and an inappropriate level of subjectivity. Using decision drivers to get the full picture of organization requirements will lead to a “best fit” package selection that has the greatest chance of meeting the firm’s needs over the long term.

It’s an extremely puzzling world out there. Many vendor offerings look alike, the vendor community is in a constant state of flux, and there is not a “one solution fits all”. HRchitect’s Decision Drivers process will help ensure you get the best-fit system for your needs, the first time.

As always, please let us know how HRchitect can assist you to get maximum benefit that comes from automating your Human Capital Management functions. We exist to serve you!

Matt Lafata
HRchitect


“Decision Drivers” – Definitions, Part 2

June 22, 2012

HRchitect has been involved in approximately 2000 HR technology related projects for hundreds of companies of all sizes and industries across the world. We have gained tremendous insight (and continue to every single day) and feel an obligation to share our expertise, and our war stories, with you. After all, with 15 years in business behind us in working with many of today’s leading companies, we’ve gained a unique perspective on the very puzzling world of HR technology.

We’ve touched on how critical decision drivers are in selecting or replacing an HCM system. We’ve also talked about the rationale and benefits behind all of this. We’ve even touched on a handful of decision drivers themselves. Now let’s define some additional decision drivers.

Technology & Scalability—often a ‘knockout’ criteria (e.g., a vendor not able to satisfy the client standard is eliminated from further consideration), this item examines overall fit with the organization’s tech standards/conventions, and also assesses the strengths/ qualities of vendor’s technology strategy and infrastructure. From a scalability standpoint, does the software and vendor operational environment have the “horsepower” to meet the current and anticipated future processing volumes of your organization? Depending on the particular functionality being selected, specific measures range from requisition and applicant volumes to the number of worker records and user counts. Prospects should also look at the bandwidth of the vendor hosting center as well as the performance of the software to identify possible bottlenecks.

This criterion is often assessed via the RFI or RFP earlier in the evaluation, and then confirmed at either a technical breakout session during the demo or a follow-up technical review meeting. Scalability is also confirmed via customer reference calls.

Service and Support—Of primary importance in this category is the breadth and quality of the vendor’s professional services offerings as well as the customer-facing support functions. Prospects should look at the size/tenure/hours of support staff, the vendor’s implementation methodology, and especially how vendor liability is defined within the service level agreement (e.g., issue escalation/resolution process). If the solution is hosted by the vendor, then another set of criteria must be weighed, including the hosting facility security (access to buildings, access to data, extent of background checks of staff), data backup and disaster recovery procedures, and compliance with prospect hosting site standards. Much of this information can be gathered during the RFP phase, but it is essential for vendor references to address these questions during the contracting/due diligence phase.

Global Capability—As one might expect, this decision driver addresses the extent to which the vendor software supports multiple languages, currencies, and/or country-specific legislative and regulatory requirements. It is important for you to understand any current and potential future plans your organization may have for expanding into additional countries in order to give proper weight to this criterion. Also included in this area are Safe Harbor Certification, data privacy regulations, data center requirements, and any country-specific legislative support (e.g., Sarbanes Oxley, Basel II, HIPAA). While statements of compliance can be gathered during the RFI/RFP phase, references from global customers are key to accurately determining the level of compliance.

Cost/ROI—always important, the focus on cost has certainly increased during the economic downturn, as firms scrutinize every potential investment to the nth degree. In most cases this criteria reflects the total cost of ownership for the solution over a multi-year period (three and five years are the most common time periods). Often part of this criterion is cost allocation—how the cost of ownership will be shared between the client’s various business units/companies (e.g., chargebacks). This rating normally includes software purchase or rent price, hosting or subscription fees, implementation services price, client resources needed during implementation and post-implementation, hardware, and any other third party costs.

Functionality- Package functionality is generally given an overall priority compared to the other decision drivers at the beginning of the project; however, most organizations break this criterion down into the various functional areas to be covered by the application (see sidebars for representative examples of functionality for three major HCM technology areas). No matter the type of project, there is almost always a priority order of functionality, driven by major organizational “pain points.” Therefore, any project team is likely to have to prioritize the most critical functionality that will drive system selection.

So there you have it. All of the key decision drivers covered and in the final segment, the next blog, we will talk about ranking these decision drivers. HRchitect’s Decision Drivers process will help ensure you get the best-fit system for your needs, the first time.

As always, please let us know how HRchitect can assist you to get maximum benefit that comes from automating your Human Capital Management functions.

Matt Lafata
HRchitect


“Decision Drivers” – Definitions, Part 1

June 20, 2012

HRchitect has been involved in approximately 2000 HR technology related projects for hundreds of companies of all sizes and industries across the world. We have gained tremendous insight (and continue to every single day) and feel an obligation to share our expertise, and our war stories, with you. After all, with 15 years in business behind us in working with many of today’s leading companies, we’ve gained a unique perspective on the very puzzling world of HR technology.

We’ve touched on how critical decision drivers are in selecting or replacing an HCM system. We’ve also talked about the rationale and benefits behind all of this. Now let’s define some of these decision drivers.

Vendor Viability & Interactions—the best software functionality in the world doesn’t help if the vendor is not around to support and enhance the application. Viability is usually an aggregate rating composed of the following elements: Financial status of company (such as funding, cash position, burn rate, profitability), market position, strength of product landscape/road map, vision, execution, and channels/partners. Potential metrics supporting the ranking may include client wins in recent quarters, number of customers, number of employees, or likelihood to be acquired. There is also a subjective analysis of the vendor’s culture and what kind of a partner they will be. In addition, the project team should take advantage of the company CFO and his/her staff’s expertise to help assess the financial health of the vendors being evaluated.

Ease of Integration/Interoperability—regardless of the scope or extent of the application under consideration, it will need to connect with other HR and enterprise systems. Even though there has been some general progress in building better integration frameworks and enabling technologies, most organizations still underestimate the cost and time needed to integrate these systems, which suggests that the criteria should be given a higher priority. The criteria rating should include an assessment of the application’s integration framework, Application Program Interfaces (APIs), and ease of integration with 3rd party applications. In addition, this category examines the extent to which the vendor has implemented services-oriented architecture (SOA) to enable/increase interoperability.

Package User Experience—the rapid emergence of easy-to-use social networking and commercial applications has increased the importance of this criterion for most organizations, especially those that have a higher percentage of younger workers that are “digital natives.” Overall user experience is usually determined by demo script hands-on scoring, results of any “sandbox” or “conference room pilot” usability testing, and reference feedback. How intuitive is the system? What is the number of clicks required to complete a transaction? How easy is it for end users to navigate through the system? Are the screens cluttered or clean? Can the application appearance be configured to reflect the client style guide? How much training per client role will be required?

For HR functional administrator roles, operational effectiveness is a key component of the user experience; this assesses the impact the vendor application will have on the staffing and running of the HR function(s) covered by the software. To what extent does the system impact staffing (either reducing headcount needed to administer the software, or reducing the need to add staff as the organization grows or adds more processes)? The best way to get an accurate assessment of operational effectiveness is via references of customers who have been using the vendor application for a while (more than a year) in order to avoid anomalous feedback based on inexperience with the new software and/or processes.

Package Configurability—This criteria addresses the ability of the software to make changes in application panels / pages, workflow, user-defined fields, and reporting without customization. How robust is the system administration “workbench” for end users, and how self-reliant can the client ultimately become from vendor resources? Prospects should assess the comprehensiveness of the configuration parameters for the system in order to determine how much of the system can be tailored to their requirements without impacting system upgrades.

A critical aspect of configurability is business segmentation, the degree to which the vendor’s software architecture can meet the prospect’s multi-company or multi-division requirements. A good example of this would be an organization where some regions require review and approval of performance appraisals by HR, while others require only manager and next level supervisor approval. Evaluation of business segmentation should focus on how easily process nuances are accommodated in the application, and how process differences are tracked and monitored within the system.

Overall package configurability is predominantly assessed in the Request for Proposal (RFP) /demo phases (ultimately by hands-on demonstration) and confirmed by reference calls. Data on business segmentation can also be gathered during the Request for Information (RFI) / RFP process, but whether or not the software truly passes muster in this area is generally revealed during vendor demos and follow-up discussions as a part of due diligence.

Confusing? Perhaps but if you follow the process (and those that we will present in the next blog), as well as utilizing HRchitect to assist, you’ll be in great shape. HRchitect’s Decision Drivers process will help ensure you get the best-fit system for your needs, the first time.

As always, please let us know how HRchitect can assist you to get maximum benefit that comes from automating your Human Capital Management functions.

Matt Lafata
HRchitect


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