How to select the right HRMS vendor

The vast majority of articles on HRMS selection are focused on choosing the right system for your business. But the product is not the only factor in your selection process, there’s also the vendor.

The importance of selecting the right HRMS

Naturally, the “product” is important. This software is (hopefully) going to transform your approach to human resources. It will save you money. And time. Your employees will have access to their own information and be able to conduct basic HR transactions without all that tedious phoning, emailing or going to see their HR representative (employee self-service). Managers will be able to more accurately deploy their team. Senior executives will be delighted (or not) with what their predictive analytics tell them.

Yes, choosing the right HRMS is critical, carrying all kinds of efficiency, compliance and cost benefits.

Selecting the right vendor is equally important

And yet, the selection process is much more than just finding the right system. You’re also choosing a business partner for the next few years. The quality of the vendor’s aftercare and support services, how often (and how well) they upgrade the system, how quickly they respond to glitches or faults, and how they treat you (the client) when you have a problem… these are also key quality issues when deciding which contract to sign.

Implementation: your first priority once you’ve selected an HRMS is a fast implementation. And during the selection process, it’s easy to be swayed by promises of rapid setup. Yes, in this cloud era, the technical side can be a comparatively straightforward download and installation, but some implementation steps are rather more ‘analog’ (such as data cleansing and migration, HR process review and optimization, system testing, customization, user training) and fast promises are often delivered slowly. Consultancy services may be offered to support implementation, at a price.

Support: look carefully at the support package or packages on offer. Sometimes support is included in the system costs. Sometimes you pay different rates for different levels of support. What exactly does “support” include?  A real-time office-hours chatbot? A phone line? An answering machine? An email address? A link to the vendor’s FAQ page?! And who supplies the support; the vendor themselves or an outsourced technical services provider?

And what do you really need? Your business might require 24/7 personal support that covers public holidays. Be prepared to pay extra.

Things to clarify about your relationship with your HRMS vendor

All of the above sounds important, how do you check it out? It helps to draw up a checklist of key questions to ask each vendor on your shortlist (at least you can then compare like with like). To start you off:

  • What is your standard support package? To establish the baseline support setup; what comes with the standard package and what you’ll have to pay extra for. Remember to ask how long after the purchase/implementation the support remains available.
  • What performance metrics are you prepared to sign up to? As part of your ROI exercise, you’ll be measuring the HRMS’s performance. Why not the vendor’s too? What service level measures or indicators (e.g. time to resolution of problems, responsiveness) can you agree to?
  • Who provides the support?  To discover whether the support team is part of the vendor’s organization or not. Of course, ‘who’ is not so important. Having a support team that is expert and knowledgeable is.
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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

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