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Evaluate your current HRMS software before buying a new system

Replacing HRMS software can be expensive and time-consuming, but it isn't your only option. Review your current system first to see if -- and how -- it can be salvaged.

While it's tempting to blame the lack of functionality and features available in your HRMS software on the vendor, there may be several reasons for the challenges you are having. Before undertaking a large project to find a replacement system, consider investing some time and energy into understanding your current issues and determining the root causes. It is possible that the HRMS software provides the functionality you need but for one reason or another it is not implemented.

When looking at your current Human Resources Management System, or HRMS, software, consider the following reasons your application may not be meeting your needs or the needs of your employees.

Poor implementation: If you weren't involved in the initial implementation, a decision made by the original implementation team may be the cause of your current issues. They may have decided to turn off important functionality or configure the system in a way that makes it difficult to use. If this is the case, you should be able to work with your vendor to identify how to enable the functionality and configure it to work with your current processes.

Your needs changed, but the implementation did not: It's possible the software configuration you have today worked very well at the time of the implementation. As your organization and processes changed, the software was not kept up to date, and now the application is no longer able to support your needs. It's possible that with some time and effort the system could be updated to meet your current needs.

New features not implemented: It's very common for an application to remain as is for a long time once the initial implementation is complete. Over time, vendors add new features or simplify existing features that can be utilized by existing clients. This is especially true with cloud-based tools, which can have multiple updates per year. If your organization has not reviewed the new feature list for your application in a long time, consider reviewing the application's release notes and experiment with new functionality that is available in your test environment to see if it would solve some of the issues.

Internal reputation of the tool: If the initial rollout of your HRMS software was difficult and garnered negative responses, it may be difficult for employees to see the value of the software, even as you address the issues and implement new functionality. Internal marketing campaigns or a rebrand of the tool internally may help solve the issue, if adding the desired functionality hasn't helped. You may also need to go to market and evaluate competitive products to get agreement that your current software is meeting your needs and perhaps better than its competitors.

Legacy applications: The limited functionality offered by the HRMS software you are using may be caused by the age of the application and direction of the vendor. While vendors will often support older applications they once sold, they will likely dedicate fewer resources to enhance their legacy applications. Instead, they turn their focus to their new tools and try to entice customers to migrate away from the older ones. In this case, your option is to move to a new system, with the same vendor or a new one, or accept the limitations of the application since enhancements to the legacy application won't happen very often, if at all.

There are several options to consider before replacing your HRMS software with a new system. These options may be less costly and involve less disruption to your organization.

Training: Many of the issues you or the employees in your organization are facing may be the result of using the software incorrectly. Taking vendor training or offering training sessions for employees and managers to instruct them on how to use the software correctly may resolve your top issues.

Documentation: Similar to training, you may need additional documentation or learning systems that provide step-by-step instructions to ensure current processes are documented and followed. This can be as important for HR as it is for employees. Consider that some changes or configurations set up in your HRMS software are done infrequently, such as setting up an annual performance management form. Having detailed instructions can simplify the process of making changes and ensuring you avoid known issues.

Better align your processes to the application: While not always ideal, there may be times when it's easier to adjust your processes to align with the HRMS software functionality rather than have constant issues. This option is especially important to consider when the remaining functionality offered by your HRMS is meeting your needs.

Use consulting services: With an understanding of the challenges you are facing, reach out to your account executive and discuss the issues. Often, the vendor will be able to use internal technical resources to help identify solutions or workarounds to your issues. You can investigate the option of engaging a consultant, either from the vendor or from a consulting firm, to implement the recommended changes.

Third-party software: If your HRMS software is meeting your overall needs except for a specific use case, perhaps the vendor can suggest third-party software that can be used to complement their tool. This may be in the form of a new module or functionality that will complement the vendor's own system.

Using HRMS software that is no longer meeting your needs can be very frustrating; however, before finding a replacement system, ensure that your current system can't be updated to resolve the problems you are having. It is possible that you may be able to turn your HRMS software into a system that meets all your needs with a few changes.

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