When it comes to tech solutions for HR, not all are created equal. Michael Howard founder of Frontier Software talks about the benefits of an integrated HR solution.
Tech-based solutions are an integral part of every day and across the HR hire-to-retire cycle, there’s no question that many functions have been streamlined by purpose-built technology. That said not all solutions offer an equal quality of service and Howard cautions that buyers need to be aware of the specifics before signing a contract.
In the past, manual HR systems were time-consuming and lacked transparency. There was little insight into how and when records had been adjusted. “It was much easier for departments to hoard information, creating a siloed environment,” says Howard. “These days, that’s totally unacceptable. Relevant stakeholders must share data and their actions with that data must be captured… security and auditing should be a key consideration.” Transparency is also critical; while not all staff will require access to the stored information, it is essential that HR can see when records have been added, modified or removed and by whom.
With these considerations in mind, Howard favours integrated solutions. But, he also cautions that not all ‘integrated’ solutions are actually that and buyers need to do more investigation before making a final decision. “We need to be clear what integrated means, because we are often referring to interfacing instead. ‘Interfacing’ means that two or more different systems can communicate with one another in limited ways,” says Howard. “What a number of providers are doing is describing a combination of disparate, white label software as ‘integrated’ when they only interface with each other.”
A properly integrated solution should be end-to-end and built into the very core of the system. So, if an employee exists in HR, they also exist in payroll, time and attendance, etc because the solution is a single one. Interfacing with other programs should be a standard feature for any solution, but it shouldn’t be a requirement for operability. “The big advantage of seeking an integrated solution is commonality,” says Howard. “Integrated solutions will have common interfaces, reporting tools, menu structures and security access methodology.”
Perhaps most importantly, integrated solutions use a single database, significantly reducing the potential for error and data duplication when compared to a solution that requires multiple databases. “Disparate reporting tools, security implementation methods and audit controls all present real risks in multi-software solutions,” says Howard.
Of course, Howard is well aware of the challenges that HR leaders face when selecting systems. Cost is a huge consideration and it’s entirely possible that management will simply be looking for the cheapest option. “As an HR professional, you are a business leader,” says Howard. “You need to think in those terms when you’re approaching management for an investment – you need to be able to demonstrate a ROI.”
Ultimately, Howard believes, the critical factor is to ensure that you will have a solution that benefits the wider business as a whole. “There’s no point in investing in a solution if it’s not going to deliver according to the needs of your business,” says Howard. “You need to ensure that you’ve got the right tools at hand for the long term … I’m a staunch proponent of integrated solutions being the best means of achieving that, provided you’ve got the right partner alongside.”
Article Originally written by Frontier Software and published on HRD Magazine August 2020
|Established in 1983, Frontier Software provides HCM solutions and services to over 1,700 customers in 26 countries. The award winning software, ichris (International Comprehensive Human Resource Integrated Software) is also used to provide an efficient payroll service from offices in Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and the UK. Frontier Software ensures proven long-term growth via prudent investment in its people and software products and services.|