HR System Evaluation and Implementation – what’s important once you look beyond the shiny dashboards?


One of the most exciting parts of an organisations HR Transformation journey, is to select and implement a new HR system. For a lot of HR stakeholders this is the first time they’ll be using a cloud solution, potentially having one global platform or even just a HR System that has all the correct employee data within the CoreHCM. I’m sure that you can appreciate a project such as this will require high resource investment from both a time and money point of view. So that leads on to my first couple of questions… why do organisations try to deliver internally with under resourced teams? Is it because the sales guys sell an out of the box solution? Is it because the implementation partners promise that their consultants will deliver all aspects of the project for them? Or is it because the organisations don’t plan effectively, get excited by the shiny new dashboards and go into the project under resourced?


Summary of the stages of a HRIS Implementation?

Phase 0 – strategy, vision and end state

The first stage an organisation would typically go through when looking to select and implement a new HRIS, is to complete a diagnostic of the current state of affairs. This is where you ask yourself questions such as “what are we doing at the moment?” “What do we want to do moving forward”. However, most importantly “What do we HAVE to do moving forward?”. By this point you will have a feel for where you are now, where you want to be moving forward however, the tricky part is how on earth do you get there? Business analysis techniques such as SWOT and PESTLE are useful during this stage.


Requirements capture –

The requirements capture stage could easily tie into the above however, it is a point often undervalued by a number of organisations, that ultimately leads to unhappy customers or even a HRIS that is not fit for purpose. This is your opportunity to work closely with internal stakeholders and departments, to understand their requirements from the new HRIS. E.g. most modern HR systems have strong MI/reporting capability therefore, stakeholders in  the likes of Finance will have specific needs from the HRIS to maximise their efficiency. It is crucial that you understand the needs of both the HR department and wider business to get the true benefits realisation – benefits realisation will be pivotal in having your business case signed off.  


Vendor/Implementation partner selection – Your requirements capture will be useful during the vendor and implementation partner selection phase. Going into those meetings and presentations detailing your specific, bespoke requirements will allow you to select the best HRIS for your organisation. One area that a lot of organisations fall down is that they do not complete a robust requirements capture, meaning that they meet vendors who then try to sell them every module in the world – therefore increasing costs and often having no positive impact on overall efficiency. At the same time your requirements capture will take into consideration cultural and/or political differences on a global scale, all of which can affect your implementation.

Just like the vendors will try to sell you as many modules as possible, the implementation partners will try to sell you plenty of consultants. Therefore, it’s crucial that you build up your internal team with as much resource as possible before then filling in the gaps. Also, be conscious that the implementation partners often do not consider change management or comms. Although they may say so/show a few shiny documents, I have seen a number of projects fall down due to clients thinking that the implementation partners will deal with everything. At the same time, I’ve seen a number of projects stumble due to clients putting too much pressure on their internal team. It’s key to get a balance between the external consultants and the internal guys, who bear in mind, also have BAU to deal with.


Design –  

You’ll have now selected your new HRIS vendor, implementation partner and the guys who will represent your organisation and hopefully be in a position to challenge external parties. It’s time to crack on with the project… during the design phase it’s a case of understanding your organisations personal requirements, as well as then reviewing the functionality of the vendor. Of course, you’ll have to consider other factors such as political differences if you’re a global organisation. Finally, you may have to conduct a fit gap analysis for the offline processes. (Unfortunately, it is likely that your vendor will not have the capability to meet all of our requirements therefore, this means that you need to understand what processes cannot be automated and how you will deal with those.


Delivery –

You’ve gone through the evaluation and you’re now beginning to look forward. The delivery stage is pretty much what it says on the tin. Having designed and built the system, you are now rolling out to the organisation. One of the most important parts of this stage is the change and comms activity. People like change but they don’t like changes. Therefore, it’s important to communicate why you’re doing this, how you’re going to do it, when you’re going to do it, what you’re doing and who it is going to effect. During this stage many consultations, training sessions and gaining constant feedback is key.



Is there any such thing as BAU? Some people believe so, others address this stage as continuous improvement. You now have implemented your HRIS and the project team/implementation partner are beginning to move away from the organisation. It’s now time to begin building the team that will maintain and look for slight improvements to the new system. They’ll also get involved with training, reporting and liaising with other departments to help the organisation get the most out of the HRIS.


Summary things to consider?

  • What are your specific organisations requirements from your HRIS?
  • Which vendor will be the best for you?
  • Which implementation partner will be best for you?
  • How much resource will you be willing to invest? (Money and internal man power)
  • What are your deadlines/timelines?
  • What’s your plan around change and communications?
  • Is this going to be a business or IT project? (PLEASE SAY BUSINESS!!!)
  • Who will be responsible for the business case and who will be your project sponsors?
  • What modules are you going to implement?
  • Big bang or phased?




Please do not make the same mistake as many organisations I speak to on a daily basis. “We’re going to select Workday”. When asked why, a lot of stakeholders give me the response “well everyone else is” … I’m certainly not taking anything away from Workday as it is a great HRIS, with some fantastic functionality. However, it’s not for everyone. Please ensure that you complete a thorough requirements capture that ensures that you find the best system for you, not the best system for another organisation!


Réncái and HRIS transformations?

We’ve supported a number of organisations as they go along their HRIS transformation journey and due to the flexibility of our business model, clients often “cherry pick” their support. For example; some clients only want support with the change and comms during the delivery phase however, others value short term pieces of work during the diagnostic phase.

For us we’re passionate to support HR leaders, who in reality don’t have the time to focus 100% of their attention on projects such as these. Réncái are therefore, brought in as a trusted partner to enable the organisation to deliver on time and within budget.

We do also often recommend vendors/implementation partners dependant on the sector/size of the organisation looking for support.


Please do comment in the feed with any thoughts/experiences that you may have
As always these conversations are best to be done personally therefore, please do give me a call on 020 3051 9077 or drop me an email [email protected]