Do you really need a new HRMS?

There’s no getting around the fact that selecting and implementing a new HRMS is a disruptive process, requiring a fair degree of time, money and effort if you’re to find the right system for your organization. Whatever the shortcomings of your current HRMS, the ‘rip and replace’ option is by definition drastic and should only be chosen when all else has failed.

In other words, if you already have an HRMS, be sure that it is broken before you fix it. So, what questions should you ask before drawing a line under your old solution and starting again with the proverbial clean slate?

Have your business goals changed?

We all know that there is no steady state in business, especially after the economic ups and downs of the last eight or nine years. In such times, diversification and even outright U-turns can become viable strategies. It’s fair to say that many businesses that survived the global economic downturn are now running to different goals and objectives. The point is, if you are now effectively a different business, does your old HRMS (not to mention, ERP, CRM, etc.) still support your strategy?

Recommended reading: find out whether a new HRMS would be worth the money with our five step guide to calculating HRMS ROI.

Have your legislative/compliance requirements changed?

Governments and lawmakers are constantly passing new legislation, and whether increasing or decreasing the red tape and hoops through which your business must jump, any changes to labor laws and regulations will likely require some adaptation by your HRMS.

However, there may come a time when you trusty old HR technology can no longer keep pace with the changes, putting you in the market for a shiny new solution. One relatively recent example is the introduction of the so-called Obamacare legislation in the US – suddenly compliance with the Affordable Care Act became a significant marketing feature for business software.

Is your current software still supported?

Sadly, like all technology, any HRMS eventually comes face-to-face with its own mortality. It may not be a case of built-in obsolescence but sooner or later, your HRMS will no longer be supported by the vendor (usually because they’ve moved on to newer, more up-to-date products). Once the flow of updates and patches stops, it’s simply a matter of time before you need to start looking for an alternative.

Are you undergoing any organizational changes?

Leading on from the earlier point about changing business goals, changes to the structure of the business might also be reason for a change of technology. Restructuring, downsizing, expansion, a merger or acquisition, even a change of premises are all good reasons to review existing processes and systems and the outcome of such a review may be that your HRMS is no longer fit for purpose.

Finally, it’s a cliché that new brooms like to sweep clean, but that doesn’t make it any less true. A new arrival at a senior level in your organization will find all eyes upon them and a degree of pressure to ‘make a difference’, and quickly. If the new broom has responsibility for HR matters, then a high-profile option might be to replace the HRMS.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall