Legacy HR issues to overcome when proposing a new HRMS

When you’re hoping to convince senior executives of the need for a new HRMS solution, as well as taking into account the current stakeholder opinions and positions, you also need to show you’re addressing the process and technical side of the equation.

There will be a number of existing or legacy HR issues related to your current processes. These issues will naturally vary from organization to organization but there are some common starting points.


Any HRMS is only as good as the HR data it contains and crunches. The implementation of the new system must not only migrate existing data without loss or corruption but ideally improve on the quality of that data; especially if you’re aiming to introduce significantly more sophisticated reporting and analytics functions to the organization.

Outline an approach to validating and ‘cleansing’ the existing data. If your organization has any perennial problems with data quality or storage, be sure to show how a new system will address such issues. Also, consider how your current data entry procedures and policies could be improved as part of the HRMS project (data entry is the main point of human error in any HR system).

Recommended Reading: HRMS Vendor Guide - Find an HRMS vendor who can help overcome legacy HR issues


You may be considering a move to the cloud. While there are still plenty of on-premise HRMS available, the majority of the market is now SaaS in nature. If you currently have an on-premise system, you’ll be aware of both the pain and comfort that in-house tech support can bring. After all, it’s an expense but at least people feel comfortable that a) all their data is kept in-house, and b) there’s a feeling of control in that if something does go wrong, they can call “Bob” from IT to fix it rather than some faceless helpdesk operative in a distant data center. Which leads us to…

Information security

Many people are still nervous about keeping data in the cloud. Given that the ‘HR in the cloud’ market has matured rapidly, this nervousness often comes from a lack of knowledge or understanding about online and data center security measures (and international information security management standards such as ISO 27001) so you need to offer the right reassurances.

Fear of the unknown

Change is uncomfortable. And while a new HRMS should bring new features it’s precisely those features which can become the barriers to acceptance as people may just not grasp the potential benefits (HR analytics is a good example). Persuading people to use a slicker version of something they already derive benefit from is relatively easy. Reassure them that it will do all the old system did but faster and easier and then follow through on that promise (the follow-through can sometimes be tricky so be careful what you promise). However, when the function is completely new to the organization, you may need to carefully walk stakeholders through the ‘new idea’, starting with the C-suite decision-makers.

Finally, there’s whatever is wrong with the current system or way of doing things. Users may have a perception that the current HRMS or processes make their working lives more difficult (and that perception may be true!) For example, it may be too-tight HR control, or a lax BYOD policy, or simply an awkward interface and user experience… However, these issues are actually gifts! These are your golden opportunities to point out how a new HRMS could make such existing bugbears a thing of the past. Use them as levers to turn uncertainty into support.

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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