The process of buying an HR system should be planned and timed correctly both from the users’ and technical points of view. In the case of an HR system, it will also need to serve the needs of the entire organisation for a longer period of time. Therefore, I highly recommended that HR and IT staff get together from the beginning of the buying process. In my experience, working closely together pays off – here’s the top 5 reasons why!
1. Combining your expertise helps you see the whole picture
With IT ecosystems and integrations being more and more available, technical silos have already been largely dismantled in the software world. The same step is also needed in the interaction of specialists working in different fields.
For example, HR personnel should utilise the procurement expertise of the IT department and their understanding of the current state of HR technology, system life expectancy, and integrability. HR, on the other hand, knows the needs and wishes of the staff, and building a functioning HR system requires the IT department to adopt this understanding.
In addition, it is good to think about what happens after you have introduced a new HR system. IT staff needs to understand the implications of system changes and different functions for HR processes, and vice versa. When experts in their field exchange information and experiential views, the end result is more than the sum of its parts.
2. Automation of manual jobs
Typically, the entire organisation can log into the HR system and changes are made directly in the system. When this type of real-time HR master data can be shared from the HR system to other systems in the organisation, additional manual data entry and data mining is often unnecessary. The benefit? Saving loads of time.
Having HR data move through systems also opens up many other possibilities, for example defining access rights to other systems directly through the HR system, or giving the management the ability to continuously monitor key business metrics and utilise real-time reports based on HR data. Utilising these opportunities requires joint reflection on processes, user groups and access rights from both the perspective of HR and IT.
3. Better communication
If IT representation is missing from the buying phase of the HR system, the IT department may never become aware of the APIs already available in the system. In this case, their potential remains untapped as the possible integrations available are not being explored or created to create an even better ecosystem.
Joint reflection also enables realistic procurement planning and scheduling, taking into account the schedules of other system projects in the rest of the organisation. With better planning, it is possible to achieve better-functioning system entities for the end users: when old legacy systems are replaced with newer ones that are connected with each other, modern interfaces are introduced and many workflows can be automated – ultimately resulting in more efficient HR processes and happier and more productive employees.
And by the way – when HR and IT talk to each other during the system acquisition phase, there is a significant risk that the interaction will continue even after the implementation project! 😉
4. Common interests and self-service activities
Another good reason for a close co-operation between HR and IT is to ensure that the HR system can be utilised for a wide range of activities that are of interest to the IT department as well.
One of the best examples of how an HR system can cater to the needs of both HR and IT is employee identity management (IdM / IAM). Once personal data of an employee has been entered into the HR system, it can also serve as a source of master data for centralised identity management. An example of a practical implementation is setting up an e-mail box for a new employee right after they have been entered into the HR system. The result is a smoother process for IT and HR alike.
Other examples of processes that are of interest for both HR and IT are different self-service functions, such as ordering working tools, or managing access rights. Utilising data from the HR system as a part of data warehousing or transferring HR data to BI tools also contributes to IT’s expanding ability to benefit from the HR data in an efficient way. Mapping out the common processes and offering employees a seamless way of handling them through self-service can be a huge benefit for all parts involved.
5. Together helping the end user
Once a smart ecosystem has been successfully implemented, the end user does not even have to be aware of all the different systems. For example, if access control is built on top of HR master data, it becomes invisible to the end user, as there is no need for several passwords or separate logins for different systems.
When systems talk to each other and information moves smoothly, HR processes and HR data are easier to manage, maintain, and also modify as needed – quickly and flexibly. It is in the best interest of the entire organisation and its management that the employee experience is taken care of and HR processes run smoothly throughout the life cycle of the employment relationship.