Every HRMS vendor on the face of this earth will assert increased productivity, enhanced process efficiency and a plethroa of other incredible benefits your company will attain by purchasing and implementing their software. Each one of them is probably correct to some degree depending both on their software and your current state of activities. If this is true, how does one judge what HRMS vendor is right for you, and what are the success factors that contribute specifically to that vendor’s success and advantage? My opinion is that within comperable systems, it’s very rare that the vendors functionality or technology will make or break your implementation.
The real story in successful implementation is preparation. Understanding that your “before state” is a major contributor to your “post state” is key. Preparation may take place before vendor selection, or it might happen during the vendor’s “analysis” phase of the implementation. The major mistake is if insufficient time is taken to look at processes and redesign never occurs. There are two types of HR departments that implement software, from which we’ll look at process design:
- The HR department that has their processes in place and is working fluidly. These HR departments are attempting to forge new ground and improve their employee experience (employer brand) to even further extents.
- The HR department who realizes they have a long way to go. Their processes are relatively undefined, and process efiicinency is at a low. They know that to get better, they need the appropriate tools the help them.
In scenario #1, the HR department has generally designed their processes and might have some best practices to apply. They also want to look at the system and apply the vendor’s best practices acording to how the software was designed and programmed. In this case, one mistake may be implementing a “vanilla” system with few or no customizations. Rather than moving forward, they may be moving to a more restrictive service delivery framework. But in general, this HR department will be much more successful in implementation because the implementation consultants can easily identify what the actual processes are (they are documented), and the client also understands what the process advantages and shortfalls are. Making small incremental changes are easily advised by the vendor and in general, this makes for a better implementation.
In scenario #2, the HR department has not defined process to the extent as in scenario #1. This means that when an implementation consultant walks in the door, their analysis is mired in the client’s doubt and lack of actual practical experience. The client has whish lists, but they don’t really udnerstand the pro’s and con’s of implementing a specific process in their specific organization. In order to alleviate this, clients from scenario #2 may want to cunduct internal workshops that include HR practitioners, HR leaders and executives, and operational managers. Getting buy-in to vision and aggreeing on the desired future state (within reasonalbe and acheivable goals), will help the implementation consultant once they get in the door. I’ll say that often in scenario #2, vanilla (or close to vanilla) implementations may be more suitable. These departments should explore an application’s standard deliverable prior to investing larger sums of money in customizations that may not work.
So my theory is that what you are before implementation is what you will be after implementation. The only difference is that you’ll have spent some money in between. If your department was doing well before, you’ll hopefully be doing marginally better aftwerwards. If you were an absolute mess, you will have succeeded in giving that mess the your new vendor. The only realy change are for organizations who realize they are an absolute mess, and spend significant time before implementation (or during analysis with the vendor) to truly define what the organization wants. Rather than jsut analyszing the current state, the organization MUST be able to tell the vendor what their future expecatations are.
Note on “comperable systems.” I’ve recently been pitched by a mid market vendor reagarding their incredible depth in functionality and technology. Their sales pitch that they possess and native web GUI and 600 fields for HR users to populate are laughable. When compared with what I’m used to seeing (PeopleSoft users claim perhaps 18,000 fields and technology that makes the mid market vendor look like an Apple II computer) it’s clear that the mid market is not in a league with the larger vendors. However, this mid market vendor would not even compete well agains other mid market vendors that I’ve pointed to in other articles. Serisous shortfalls in understanding current HR strategies and a lack of investment in real HR service delivery technology (self service) show that even within the traditional market segments, significant rifts exist. ((note that this mid market vendor does not appea in my prior list of vendors, so don’t even try to guess who it is.))
And one last note – a reference to a great article on SAP vs. Oracle.