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Realising the benefits of HRIS: what are the opportunities?

Posted on from Change Associates

What key opportunities exist to take advantage of the latest advancements in HR Information Systems to transform the way they work? Change Associates’ Sian Dodd examines how HRIS can create a competitive advantage and details how you can make sure you realise the expected benefits.

Strategic use of HRIS

Modern HRIS promise to consolidate or replace out-moded, disparate HR systems to yield significant savings and free up HR and management to focus on value-add tasks, using insight from connected data that translates into positive, strategic decision-making for the business.

New players in the HR technology space, such as Workday and SuccessFactors, are transforming ways of working, planning, managing talent and reporting. Existing players are developing their own integrated application suites to offer end-to-end employee life cycle support. These systems can adapt and scale more easily to meet changing business requirements. 

For HR, the opportunity is there to free themselves from the transactional processes that have traditionally consumed their time and to focus on the value added task of strategic development of the workforce. This could be a game-changer for HR, transforming the way they manage and interact with their people, enabling them to respond to business needs, and in turn helping to transform their credibility within the organisation.

Organisations need to consider now, more than ever, whether they can take advantage of the opportunities offered by these new technologies. However, there are still significant challenges, such as deciding what is right for your organisation, planning a successful transition and realising the expected benefits. If organisations fail to plan properly, this could be a painful learning curve.

How can HRIS transform your business?

Against the backdrop of dramatic changes in the HRIS market Change Associates’ research will focus on four levers emerging as compelling opportunities for companies to transform the effectiveness of HR and maximise their return on investment. They are: 

  • An optimised user experience as central to adoption and engagement
  • Single view of an employee to leverage internal talent
  • Social networking technology - creating and using the power of social networks
  • Analytics - vital to embed in order to put people data into the hands of those who need insight to make decisions

User experience

Research shows that a successful user journey, from understanding need, defining requirements through to system adoption, will propel the success of an application.  Contributing HRIS elements such as GUI (Graphical User Interface), employee self-service and internal communications all play a part in optimising the user experience which links directly to system loyalty and employee engagement. How much focus do you give to understanding what your users actually need and expect from the HR systems during the implementation process?

Single view of an employee

Traditionally, HR systems have constrained HR’s ability to adapt to, respond to and plan for changing business needs. With a single view of an employee at the core of new HRIS technology, organisations are gaining insights to help identify and develop internal talent across the business. It enables them to drive simplified and more effective processes. The result is a set of data and processes that are more easily scaled and adapted.  

Social networking technologies

HRIS can enable organisations not only to gain insight from traditional formal data structures, but also to harness the power of and modern trend for social networking. Whether tapping into external social networks for recruitment purposes or leveraging the technology in order to build internal communities and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and expertise, HRIS can help organisations take advantage of this form of communication, which is now so integrated into our society and culture.  

Big data and analytics

Big Data and data analytics are the hot topics of the moment. Vendors of HRIS emphasise the analytical capabilities of their systems, highlighting the ability to create dashboards and drill down through complex information. This enhanced functionality provides opportunities for HR to proactively meet the needs of managers and provide greater insight into their people.

Preparing for success

Cash and time investment in HRIS can be significant. This research will be useful for anyone needing to build a compelling business case and a comprehensive plan to realise the anticipated benefits. Change Associates are conducting this research study to cut through the hype around HRIS and to get to the reality of what’s on offer, and to demonstrate the key areas on which HR should focus to maximise the benefits of an HRIS implementation. Our report will combine desk research, expert knowledge and insight from HR professionals with first-hand experience to present a realistic and pragmatic approach to selecting and implementing a new HRIS.

Read part two of Change Associates' research here.

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