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HR System Integration: Because its software components (record keeping, payroll,appraisal and so forth) are integrated, a true HRIS

enables an employer to dramaticallyreengineer its entire HR function by having the information system itself take over and integratemany of the tasks formerly carried out by HR employees. HRIS IN ACTIION: The HRIS can also bump the firm up to a new plateau in terms of the number and varietyof HR rated reports it can produce. Citibank for instance (part of Citigroup) has a global databaseof information on all employees including their compensation, a skills inventory bank of morethan 10,000 of its managers, and a compensation and benefits practices database for each of the98 countries in which the company has employees.Finally, the HRIS can also help shift HRs attention from transactions-processing to strategicHR. As the HRIS takes over tasks such as updating employee information and electronicallyreviewing resumes, the types of HR staff needed andtheir jobs tend to change. There is less needfor entry level HR data processors, for instance, and more for analysts capable of reviewing HR activities in relation to the companys plans an engaging in activities such as managementdevelopment. Lets look, more closely at how theseadvantages come about.How exactly can an HRIS achieve these kinds of performance improvements? At some point the employer will outgrow the separate (manual or computerized) component approach tomanaging HR. Some estimate that firms with fewer than 150 employees can efficiently usecomputerized components systems, each separately handling talks such as attendance, and benefits and payroll management. However, beyond that point larger firms should turn to either off the shelf or customizable HRIS packages. The advantages of moving from componentsystems to integrated human resource information systems arise from the following.Improved Transaction Processing: Its been said that the bread and butter of HRIS is still basic transaction processing. One study conducted in a pharmaceutical a company just before itimplemented an HRIS found that 71% of HR employees time was devoted to transactionaland administrative tasks, for instance. In other words, an enormous amount of timewas devotedto tasks like checking leave balances, maintaining address records, and monitoring employee benefits distributions. HRIS packages are intended to be

comprehensive. They thereforegenerally provide relatively powerful computerized processing ofa wider range of the firms HR transactions than would be possible, if individual systems HR task had to be used. Online processing: Many HR information systems make it possible (or easier) to makethe companys employees themselves literally part of the HRIS. For example, Merck installedemployee kiosks at which employees can verify and correct their home address and work location. Estimated savings reportedly approach $640,000 for the maintenance to those dataalone, and many companies report similarsavings. At Provident Bank an HR compensationsystem called Benelogic allows the banks employees to enroll in all their desired benefits programs over the Internet at a secure site. One shipping company estimates it will reducetransaction processing andrelated paperwork from $50 down to $30 or less per employee usingdirect access kiosks and integrative voice response (IVR) phone scripts. Increasingly, forms likeDell are creating intranet based HR sites. These allow managers and employees to process HR related information with little or no support required from the HR group itself. But using kiosks,or (increasingly) the intranet based systems should not only move the burden of the recordkeeping from HR to the employees themselves. It also should support employees quest for whatinformation relating to, for example the impact on their take pay of various benefits options,insurance coverage retirement planning and more. Some experts refer to advanced Internet basedHR service programs like these as electronic HR or (e-HR). It is the application of conventional,Web an voice technologies to improve HR administration transactions and process performance HRIS IMPLEMENTATION PITFALLS: Everyone knows by now, implementation a sophisticated information system is oftenmore of a challenge than client expects, and several potential pitfalls account for this. Cost is one problem: for example, a representative from All state Insurance Company reported that thecosts of moving to a new HRIS had increased 10% per year for five year and that additionalinvestment would be required to make the transition. Other systems run into managementresistance. At one pharmaceuticals firm, for instance, thenew HRIS requires line managers toinput dime information (such as on performance appraisals) into the HR system and some objectto doing tasks previously performed by HR. Others trigger resistance by including in convenientor unworkable user interfaces for the employees to use; still others are

installed without enoughthought being given to, whether or not the new HRIS will be compatible with the firms existingHR information systems. Inadequate documentation or training can undermine the systemsutility and increase resistance to the system by exactly those employees and managers who aresupposed to aid in its use.Actually installing the HRIS therefore needs to be viewed as a whole but also as a process composed of separate projects, each of which must be planned and realisticallyscheduled. Given these sorts of hurdles a careful needs assessment obviously should be done prior to adopting an HRIS .Particularly for firms with less than 150 employees, considerationshould be given to depending more of individual software packages for managing separate taskssuch as attendance, benefits and payroll and OSHA compliance.HRIS Vendors: Many firms today offer HRIS packages. At the Web site for theInternational Association for Human Resource Information Management (mentioned Earlier) for instance Automatic Data Processing Inc Business Information Technology, Inc., HumanResource Microsystems, Lawson Software, Oracle Corporation, PeopleSoft Inc., Restrac WebHire, SAP America Inc., and about 25 other firms are listed as HRIOS vendors. As another example, Business Computer Systems offers a line of ABRA software products for firms rangingin size from 20 to 10,000 employees. As one example, you can point and click to find a list of employees reporting to a particular supervisor and print over a hundred reports such as salarylists, employee profiles and EEO reports.HR and Intranets: As note above, employers are creating internal intranet based HR information systems. For example LG &E energy Corporation uses its intranet for benefitscommunication. Employees can access the benefits homepage and (among other things) reviewthe companys 401 (k) plan investment options, get answers to frequently asked questions aboutthe companys medical and dental plans, and report changes in family status (such as marriage)that may impact the employees benefits.A list of other HR related ways in which employers use the intranet include: create anelectronic employee directory, automate job postings and applicant tracking, set up trainingregistration: provide electronic pay stubs; publish an electronic employee handbook; offer moreenticing employee communications and newsletters; let employees update their personal profilesand access their accounts, such as 401 (k); conductopen benefit enrollments; provide leavestatus information; conduct performance and peer reviews; manage succession planning (in part by locating

employees with the right skills set to fill openings); and create discussion groups or forums