Workforce.com

Leader Summit Series HRMS Solutions

September 27, 2004
CHARLES D'AMBROSIA
CEO
Ascentis Corporation
CHARLES D'AMBROSIA, CEO, joined Ascentis Corporation in late 1997 as its chief executive officer. D'Ambrosia is an experienced "high tech" CEO and has been instrumental in the development of two successful software and hardware companies in the Seattle area.
MARK D. LANGE
VP Global Product Marketing
PeopleSoft Human Capital Management

Mark Lange has been responsible for directing global marketing for PeopleSoft's industry leading Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions since he joined the company in 2002.
SYBLL K. ROMLEY
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Spectrum HR

Sybll K. Romley has worked at, and sat on the board of directors at SPECTRUM since 1987. Her background in HR and HR Systems includes product development, sales, and marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Occidental College.
Scott Scherr
Founder, President and CEO
Ultimate Software

Scott Scherr is the founder, president and CEO of Ultimate Software. Mr. Scherr has spent his entire working life in the HRMS/payroll industry. His underlying business philosophy has always been that experienced, committed people deliver great products and services.

Many functional and administrative components of HR management systems (e.g., training, compensation, recognition, recruitment, etc.) are now required to interact with several enterprise wide systems and applications. That being said, what advice would you give to HR seated at the management table as decisions are researched and made with regard to other functional software for the organization?

CHARLES D'AMBROSIA: Focus first on employee administration areas like HR and benefits administration, self-service, and connectivity to payroll and your insurance carriers-typically these areas are paper-based and can be totally automated. Let employees change their address, elect benefits, and request leave through ESS. This should leave time for you to focus on strategic HR.

MARK D. LANGE: The ERP vs. Best of Breed debate rages on, but the question is becoming less of "one over the other" and more one of "when to use one or the other." Like many things in life, balance provides solutions that work best. Choose web-based, XML friendly applications that hold the promise of easier data exchange with core ERP systems.

SYBLL K. ROMLEY: With today's technology it is not difficult to integrate and share data from disparate systems. Start by selecting the HR system that meets your HR needs. Then get buy-in from the other managers by showing how your system will benefit them and assuring them that the data will integrate with their systems.

SCOTT SCHERR: Whatever components companies select to meet business objectives, we suggest making it a high priority to establish your HRMS/payroll solution as the master data source for all workforce-related systems. A number of our customers are doing this and citing the need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley controls as one reason for focusing on this effort.

In your opinion what are the most dangerous pitfalls or common mistakes to avoid when implementing an HRMS/HRIS solution?

CHARLES D'AMBROSIA: This depends on your company size. The key is to get the system implemented quickly so that you can reap the benefits of automation. It is better to get 80% of the correct functionality implemented in 20% of the time so that HR can become productive in key company performance areas.

SYBLL K. ROMLEY: Implementations fail when the wrong expectations have been set, by either the vendor or the client and when there is no internal project ownership. Compile and prioritize a list of all the features you want implemented in your new system. Confirm any implementation fees associated with these features. Finally, take project ownership when it comes time to implement.

SCOTT SCHERR: One of the most common mistakes in the industry with implementations is underestimating the scope and therefore total cost of a complete HRMS/payroll implementation. We advise buyers to look very closely at the track record of vendors or consultants implementing. Ask for publicly reported average implementation times and talk to references.

During difficult financial climates, HR becomes increasingly pressured to justify return on investment for implementation of new HR software products and services. What advice can you give HR on how to effectively measure or quantify ROI of their HRMS strategies?

CHARLES D'AMBROSIA: This depends on company size. You may not have the resources to test this out. There are many areas for performance measurement such as errors in your current system. Focus on specific metrics, error reduction, employee and manager surveys, and overall company perception of HR. These are all often reasons for buying the system.

MARK D. LANGE: Organizations depend upon multiple applications to complete critical business processes. PeopleSoft Integration and Process Solutions ensure that transactions move between these applications to enable successful business process automation. Now, it is possible to mix and match ERP systems such as PeopleSoft with third-party technology solutions using modular components. This open framework allows you to connect people to processes, integrate disparate applications, and fully leverage your organization's technology investments.

SCOTT SCHERR: Solution providers can help you develop an ROI analysis. Our advice is to work with vendors that will supply you with ROI tools developed by a third-party rather than the vendor. You also need to know exactly how the ROI was calculated and to distinguish between hard, or direct, benefits and soft, or indirect.

In the current business climate punctuated by mergers, acquisitions, and questions of corporate integrity, how important are the concepts of vendor stability and trust to the selection process of a software provider?

CHARLES D'AMBROSIA: If you're serious about purchasing software, you have to be serious about researching the software vendor. As a potential customer, don't hesitate to ask questions, request references, and thoroughly research your potential vendor. If the vendor can't or won't answer legitimate questions, consider it a red flag and quickly move on.

SYBLL K. ROMLEY: Vendor stability is important and also easy to check, but trust is earned during the evaluation process. A vendor that is open, honest and straight forward about the level of effort required to implement your vision is more likely to result in a long term partnership, and successful business relationship.

The Internet continues to revolutionize business. From a futurist's standpoint, what do you see as the next evolution of HRMS and web-enabled software?

SYBLL K. ROMLEY: The evolution of HR will be driven by wireless high speed access-essential information anytime, anywhere on a variety of devices. The value proposition will be in the analytics and decision support tools that will be available plus enormous improvements in communications, information dissemination, and knowledge sharing.

SCOTT SCHERR: Newer forms of outsourcing will become the dominant form of HRMS/payroll delivery in the future. Taking the responsibility for managing systems in-house out of the equation gives companies the opportunity to select best-of-breed solutions, whatever the platform. Wireless access to rich HRMS/payroll functions will also become increasingly prevalent.

What kind of new functionality for hiring management or applicant tracking systems should HR make themselves aware of and what functionality should be closely examined when investigating these products and services?

MARK D. LANGE: Some of the newer functionality we see emerging in work class recruiting includes: bidirectional integration between core HRIS and talent acquisition systems, more aggressive attention web branding and candidate management, a focus on global recruiting requirements, use and demand on on-line screening and assessment tools, adoption of tools to manage the contingent as well as traditional workforce.

HR and management teams are increasingly looking at streamlining and improving their overall training delivery and functionality for their companies and are seeking out information on new "learning management systems." What are the most pertinent questions or checklist items that HR and management should ask or be aware of when investigating a learning management system (LMS) or learning content management (LCMS)?

MARK D. LANGE: Enterprise and departmental deployments each require their own distinct set of evaluation criteria. Organizations looking to standardize on a single enterprise LMS, should consider the following:

  • Flexibility to support of multiple domains
  • Alignment with business goals
  • Fit with IT infrastructure
  • HR business process integration
  • Integration with other organizational development processes
  • Ability for any business process to trigger learning
  • Integration to company financials
  • Enterprise learning analytics