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How do you know it's time to replace your HR solution?

No system will always remain the perfect solution. Over time, the shortcomings of a solution begin to become apparent. When these have become evident, then it is time to seriously consider a new solution. Clarifying your organization's requirements, evaluating alternatives, choosing a solution and making an implementation decision is a process that requires time and involvement. In implementation, how you manage data change and migration matters, as does the implementation team.

How do you know it's time to replace your HR solution?
How do you know it's time to replace the existing solution?

Many companies probably have a certain system of human resources. It is very likely that it will cover only a part of the full range of basic human resource processes.

Uncovered processes

For processes not covered by a system, emails, spreadsheets and various chats spread through the instant messaging systems are used. The effort to keep under control the processes carried out in this form is big, constant and sustained, which makes it in time of an unfeasible dimension.

In these cases, the implementation decision is practically already taken for you.

Covered processes

When you replace software, however, the situation is different. Because you already have a system in place and it probably works. That's why you need to find out what doesn't work and where the opportunities you don't take advantage of now are.

Over time, especially in growing companies, needs are changing. No system will always remain the perfect solution. And, over time, the deficiencies of a solution begin to become apparent.

Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of potential deficiencies is when employees do not use the system. Sometimes the system is too complex or difficult, therefore usage effort is too big and no longer is adding any value.

Other signs may be the lack of legislative updates where necessary. For example, the GDPR Regulation has introduced a lot of discussions about the territory in which data is stored. Applications hosted outside the EU require special arrangements and employees may have reservations about the protection of their data. Storing data in the EU would easily solve the difficulty. The lack of a solution turns the difficulty into a deficiency.

When the deficiencies of the existing solution have become obvious, then it is time to seriously consider a new solution.

Now that you know what the time for change is, how do you choose the system?

Requirements

The first step is to outline a cost-benefit analysis specific to your organization, in order to replace one system with another.

This involves a wide collection of requirements. The analysis of system evaluation requirements should be extended beyond implementation. It should also be considered what requirements would exist in a period of time after implementation.

It is also crucial to prioritize requirements, so-called "must" and "nice-to-have". A priority structuring framework that can be used for the success of this approach is MoSCoW.

Only at this moment do you start the analysis and evaluation of the available solutions in terms of the prioritized requirements relevant to the specific situation of your organization.

Take time for Requirements and Evaluation

Clarifying the requirements of your organization, evaluating alternatives, making a choice and making an implementation decision is a process that requires involvement. And first of all, the addressed aspects are of an organizational nature as well as relative to the way of working (current and after implementation). Therefore, the necessary time must be allocated as the time period as well as a quantity of the working time of the key people of the organization, interested parties in implementation/change.

"Personalization" within the Evaluation

In evaluating systems there is often a discussion of customization - of changing the data set or the default behavior of the system within a functionality.

It can become a trap! The flexibility of customization increases the complexity of implementation and requires people in your organization with advanced training in that system to achieve the initial configurations and maintain and evolve over time.

There are organizations that can afford the cost of such expert resources and have a mature operating model and culture, through which they are accustomed to managing and improving processes as part of their daily activities. In this case, the complexity of the customization is managed, and it really turns into that advantage of flexibility. And then it makes sense for the system to be able to adapt to the way the organization works.

But we would not recommend to small organizations, or those at the beginning of the road, or those that are growing rapidly to pay too much attention to customization. They have not yet reached the optimal operating model, rather they are subject to sudden and sometimes more radical changes, they are not used to measuring and sequentially improving processes, resources are few. In this context, they benefit rather from the efficiency coming from processes already encapsulated in the functionalities of the platforms and which allow them to focus their efforts and resources on the growth and adaptation of the business (and less on the fine optimization of the support functions). Here it makes more sense for the organization to adapt to the way the system works.

In the latter context, it is beneficial for the chosen system provider to act as a partner for future developments. With the crystallization of potential new requirements arising from a maturing operating model, your organization's request may be to incorporate them into good practice processes, which will then be made available through the platform. Through such a partnership both parties win, and your organization has the guarantee of the evolution of the system with the new requirements.

Implementation

Implementation team

It's one thing to choose the solution and quite another to put it into production. The assistance of the supplier's implementation team is a key element in the success and speed of implementation. For a small company, the implementation time can be 2-3 weeks. For a medium or large company we can have the implementation time up to 6-8 weeks.

Data migration

A key point of the implementation project is data migration. And a lot of implementation time is consumed in this area.

The most common problems are the quality of the source data - the data is not complete or correct. These require repeated updates and re-updates in the source systems or in the spreadsheets in which they were maintained until now.

Another problem is the validation of the correct data migration in the new target system. When the data set is so large that the objective exceeds the possibilities of a manual verification, it is necessary to achieve a systematic approach for verifications that may include automation. For example for completeness - all input data has been uploaded. Another example, quality - making totals on various sets of data values and comparisons between results between the source systems and the target system, and / or sampling verification.

A competent and experienced implementation team will design the data migration and its verification and will customize it to the specific situation of your organization (extract data from your organization's systems, make the correspondence of the meaning of the fields in your organization's systems with those in the new software, etc.)

Management of change

Regardless of the size of your organization, implementing an information system is actually a digital transformation that is a process change, supported by an IT application infrastructure. Being a change, it must be managed. A person responsible for change must be identified and empowered, and he must act as an owner of this change. Communicating the advantages, facilitating the design and implementation of optimal processes for your organization, as well as combating resistance are the key elements in managing this role.

And in order to loop back to the beginning, the the person in charge of change must keep close and strictly follow the hierarchy of priorities for the requirements defined at the beginning, in order to be able to guide or arbitrate when necessary, during the implementation.

System implementation is not an IT or HR project. It is for the benefit of the entire organization.