HRMS Selection: Evaluating Your Shortlist

Having cast a wide net, your HRMS shortlist may be looking healthy with no shortage of apparently viable options; however, the time comes when you’ll need to whittle it down to a handful of the most likely HRMS vendors, and then invite them to give you a full product demonstration.

In an ideal world, you’ll only invite three vendors/systems for a demo; any more than three and the chances are the process will be delayed by scheduling and diary conflicts. Three demos can be done in a day which is not too much to ask of your ‘demo team’. Besides, any more than three demos and ‘burn out’ and confusion set in and the final evaluation process starts to suffer.

Choosing Your Three

Some systems will probably be easy to eliminate due to price or the lack of one or two essential features. For the rest, ensure a degree of objectivity by using a rating scale and asking each person to assess the system against key criteria. Some common criteria would include: ease of use and access; integration with current and future systems; training required; data security; configurability; and reporting/analytics. Naturally, you will have some issues of detail specific to your business to add to that list.

An example rating scale might be:

  • 0 = does not meet requirements
  • 1 = partially meets requirements
  • 2 = fully meets requirements
  • 3 = exceeds requirements.

This does not necessarily mean you invite the three highest scorers to a demo, but the rating system can give an objective framework to discussions and help guide them to a more painless decision.

Software Demos

First of all, you need the right people on your demo team to assess the products on show. An HR representative should of course be present, but also someone with IT knowledge and experience to ask and address more technical questions. If you have a separate procurement team then they too will want to be involved and given the impact that an HRMS can have on an organization, someone from the C-level can add some senior endorsement.

One way of keeping a degree of control over the demo process is to incorporate the features you’re looking for into a common demo script and ask each vendor to follow it. The main advantages to this approach are that the demos are more easily compared by your team, it forces the vendor to address your business requirements rather than just show off their product’s latest feature, and you can even bring in members of your demo team for just the section of the script that is relevant to them (thus further easing the diary issue).

When it comes to the assessment and demo process, your goal is to on the one hand to ruthlessly winnow out any systems that won’t be a best fit for your requirements, while simultaneously on the other hand allowing each vendor to show their system at its best – a delicate balance but worth attempting for the sake of the relationship you’re hoping to establish with the successful candidate.

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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