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Chapter 17
The Future

of

HRIS

Emerging Trends in HRM and IT


Michael J. Kavanagh, Mohan Thite, and Richard D. Johnson

EDITORS NOTE
In Chapter 1, the history of HRM was discussed along with its eventual merging with
the field of IT, thus creating a new field of study and managerial practicehuman
resource information systems (HRIS). This book has provided information on the
development and implementation of an HRIS. Most of the HRIS development and
sophistication began in the United States, but these systems have spread rapidly
throughout the industrialized countries of the world. The question to be answered
here is where the field of HRIS is going in the future. Forecasting the future is always
difficult. One can expect evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, changes in the HRIS
field. This chapter will discuss some of these trends in the field of HRIS.

CHAPTER OBJECTIVES
After completing this chapter, you should be able to
Discuss the short-term future trends in HRM
Discuss the long-term future challenges for HRM and tactics to handle them
Explain the impact of future trends in IT/IS and workforce technologies on the operation of an HRIS
Understand how HR and IT/IS are combining for future HRIS business applications

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Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

INTRODUCTION
Before we analyze future trends in HRIS, it is appropriate to revisit how we got
here. In Chapter 1, we tracked the evolution of HR and HRIS with a particular
focus on a systems perspective. Others have also suggested similar models
highlighting the systems perspective of HRIS (Mayfield, Mayfield, & Lunce,
2003). In the subsequent chapters, we had an in-depth look at the entire system
development life cycle (SDLC) of an HRI system that included planning,
analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance (chapters 25). We also
looked at the specific applications of HRIS in some of the core functions of HRM
(chapters 815).
There is no doubt that technology has radically altered the world of work.
Today, one can work anytime and anywhere, using any device, possibilities that
have globalized the workplace and given it a 24/7 work cycle. Enabled by
enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, organizational functions such as
production, supply chains, marketing, customer relations, finance, and HR are
now more integrated than ever in the pursuit of organizational success. Although
HR has evolved from an administrative to a strategic focus, transactional
activities, such as HR administration, legal compliance, and benefits management,
still consume a major portion of HR resources. The move to e-HR, though,
has helped greatly in shifting HR professionals toward more value-added
transformational activities by enabling the automation of routine, transactional
activities.
With the increasing focus on Strategic HRM and developments in technology,
HR professionals are deploying innovative technology solutions to address their
core challenges, such as talent management and workforce metrics and analytics
(Haines & Lafleur, 2008). Multinational enterprises are leveraging human
resource information systems to align their information technology, processes, and
people to successfully replicate their HR policies and practices across global
operations (Morris et al., 2009). Some enterprises also use HRIS for effective
disaster planning and recovery during various crises, such as terrorist attacks and
natural disasters (Hurley-Hanson & Giannantonio, 2008).
However, the contribution of technology to Strategic HRM has been limited,
and some research indicates that HR professionals view ERP vendors as over
promising and under delivering in this area (Dery & Wailes, 2005). It is
important to remember that technology is only an enabling tool and not a solution
or panacea for HR-related problems. Instead, the successful implementation of
an HRIS depends on many different factors, such as the organizational culture,
leadership and managerial competence, and the fit of the technology with

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organizational processes. In addition, many organizations fail to implement


technology successfully because of their inherent rigidity, inertia, and resistance
to change (Lengnick-Hall & Lengnick-Hall, 2006). Sometimes, there can also be
certain unintended negative consequences within the process of realizing the
potential of an HRIS; problems related to the various ways in which different
organizational stakeholders and groups engage with, enact, subvert, or avoid the
technology or its planned objectives...can undermine its anticipated value to
the HR function and organization more generally (Grant, Newell, & Kavanagh,
2010, p. 4).
Until recently, the major HRIS products were expensive, monolithic, and
rigidproviding little flexibilityand, consequently, only large organizations
could afford to buy and deploy them. However, with its increasing capability and
affordability, technology has largely had a positive impact on the HRM function,
particularly at the transactional level, and now it is largely up to the HR profession
to exploit technologys potential fully by taking it to the next level of
transformational impact. And, were just getting started. The future of the field of
e-HR will be driven by changes in HRM, HRIS, and internationalization. We
briefly touch on the trends affecting each in this chapter.

FUTURE TRENDS IN HRM


Forecasting the future is, in general, quite difficult and even more so in HRM.
Although one can examine past tends and extrapolate to the future, there can
be unexpected contingencies, such as the financial crisis of 20082009. Also,
changes in laws, directives, and guidelines from governmental agencies can
strongly affect the future of HRM and HRIS. In fact, any significant changes in
the environmental factors depicted in Figure 1.2 could cause major changes in the
operation of HRM and an HRIS in organizations. To examine any future trends in
the HR field, one must look within and between countries, since labor laws differ
from country to country and, thus, could have a significant impact on any new
developments in HRM for that country. However, the international HRM literature
presents some similar trends across countries (e.g., a focus on the cost effectiveness of HR programs). An update on the future trends in HRM and HRIS in the
United States will be discussed next in this chapter. However, there will also be
discussion of trends in HRM, IT, and HRIS in multinational enterprises (MNEs).
It is important to remember that countries may differ somewhat in terms of specific future trends within their culture.

Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

FUTURE TRENDS IN HRM


Forecasting the future is, in general, quite difficult and even more so in HRM.
Although one can examine past tends and extrapolate to the future, there can
be unexpected contingencies, such as the financial crisis of 20082009. Also,
changes in laws, directives, and guidelines from governmental agencies can
strongly affect the future of HRM and HRIS. In fact, any significant changes in
the environmental factors depicted in Figure 1.2 could cause major changes in the
operation of HRM and an HRIS in organizations. To examine any future trends in
the HR field, one must look within and between countries, since labor laws differ
from country to country and, thus, could have a significant impact on any new
developments in HRM for that country. However, the international HRM literature
presents some similar trends across countries (e.g., a focus on the cost effectiveness of HR programs). An update on the future trends in HRM and HRIS in the
United States will be discussed next in this chapter. However, there will also be
discussion of trends in HRM, IT, and HRIS in multinational enterprises (MNEs).
It is important to remember that countries may differ somewhat in terms of specific future trends within their culture.

SHRM Expert Panels


Since 2005, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has
convened expertise panels to discuss future trends in the HRM field. For the 2010
update, members of the panels were asked to examine the 2009 report to see if
the future trends outlined there needed revision (Clark & Schramm, 2009). There
were 12 panels, which focused on areas such as corporate social responsibility
and sustainability (CRS), employee health, safety and security, ethics,
globalization, human capital measurement and HR metrics, technology and HR
management, and workplace diversity. As can be seen, the panels covered most of
the areas of the HRM function in organizations. On the basis of the work of the
panels, 11 broad future trends important for HRM were identified. Each trend is
listed below along with two verbatim statements by the expert panels that will
describe the importance of that trend (Clark &Schramm, 2009).1
1. The impact of the global recession2 on business strategy and employees
a. Talent management [globally] continues to be a high priority and must
be more efficient than before while leveraging cost awareness and
monitoring demands for key positions. (p. 5)

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b. A new approach is needed to develop global workforce cultures, with


better understanding of transnational teams, online collaboration, globalization and business process transformation. (p. 5)
2. The influence of social networking, especially as a it relates to recruiting
a. Social networking increasingly will affect the work done by HR departmentsfor example, recruiting and selection, employer branding, innovation initiativesnecessitating the creation of appropriate boundaries
between business interests, ethics and employee privacy. (p. 4)
b. Organizations increasingly are adopting viral recruiting and social
media for employer brand messaging (e. g., Facebook, Twitter). (p. 8)
3. The continuing importance of work/life balance as employees deal with
multiple caring responsibilities and, in some cases, multiple paid jobs
a. Work/life balance issues will continue to influence employee stress
levels.
b. Work/life considerations will require increased attention from HR to
address issues related to employees overall health, retirement planning,
financial health and the effects of the increase in the number of employees holding multiple jobs in addition to their primary employment. (p. 4)
4. The need for measurement of results and the development and standardization of key HR metrics
a. There will be an increasing demand by organizations to measure and
assess the value of their human capital and the HR activities, initiatives
and practices that support it. (p. 6)
b. The increasing need to use business intelligence, visualization and workforce planning technologies to support data integration, reporting, analysis and presentation challenges HR and HRIS professionals to evolve
their HR technology platform and show the return of implementing these
technologies. (p. 6)
5. The growing need for organizations to demonstrate a commitment to ethics,
sustainability and social responsibility
a. There is a growing need to incorporate the ethical values of an increasingly diverse and global workforce. (p. 5)
b. Organizations increasingly will be subject to external scrutiny and
expectations, leading to a greater separation between companies that
implement and embrace CRS [corporate social responsibility and sustainability] as a way of doing business and those that use it only as a
public relations tool. (p. 4)

Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

6. Safety issues, particularly workplace aggression and the potential impact of


a global disease pandemic
a. A growth in the incidence of workplace aggression will influence
employee safety policies. (p. 4)
b. Safety compliance issues will increase and demand more attention from
HR. (p. 4)
7. The importance of globalization and integrating markets
a. The economic crisis and fewer existing business opportunities will create a high demand on the global HR function to demonstrate greater
agility and contribute strategic guidance. (p. 5)
b. Global mobility of high-value workers continues as multinational companies restrict new hires and relocate talented employees from within
their existing workforce. (p. 6)
8. Continued emphasis on performance management
a. There is a renewed focus on performance management and on performance and process improvement. (p. 7)
b. Increased demand for HR metrics may bring about a widely accepted set
of analytic measures and methodsglobal standardsto describe, predict and evaluate the quality and impact of HR practices and the productivity of the workforce. (p. 6)

9. The ongoing need for skilled employees and concerns about the ability of the
U. S. education system to produce the needed skilled workers of the future
a. Education and job mismatch will increase as employees return to college
and graduate school, but for degrees for jobs that are not in demand, i.e.,
white-collar jobs as opposed to skilled trade jobs where demand may
increase. (p. 5)
b. Workforce planning will be affected both by the education systems ability to produce qualified workers and by changes in retirement patterns.
(p. 7)

10. Demographic change and its impact on diversity and labor availability
a. Economic challenges have disrupted workforce demographics (delayed
retirement, lack of new skilled workers, etc.) and affected employee
engagement. (p. 7)
b. There is a differentiation of rewards among different employee segments, as increasingly one size will not fit all, given several generations
in the workforce and increasingly diverse ethnic and cultural demographics. (p. 8)

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11. The implications of government legislation


a. There is an increased government intervention in employer-provided
compensation and benefits through expanded regulations that affect
private-sector compensation, paid time off, health benefits and retirement plans. (p. 8)
b. Governmental involvement in setting the CSR agenda will increase in
both regulatory and legislative arenas. (p. 4)

Future Trends and Challenges


Another poll conducted by SHRM surveyed 449 HR professionals, from both
U.S.-based companies (72%) and multinational organizations (28%) regarding the
specific challenges they expected to face over the next 10 years (SHRM, 2010).
Almost half of those responding indicated that obtaining human capital and
optimizing on human capital investments is the top investment challenge they
face. The most commonly noted key to meeting the related challenges of
attracting, retaining and rewarding the best people was the ability of organizations
to provide employees with the flexibility to balance life and work (58%). Here are
the other findings that were endorsed by over 20 percent of respondents:
Creating an organizational culture where trust, open communications and
fairness are emphasized and demonstrated by leaders (47 percent).
Having jobs designed to provide employees with meaningful work that has a
clear purpose in meeting organizational objectives (40 percent).
Demonstrating a commitment to employee development (29 percent).
Offering a higher total rewards package (i.e., total compensation and benefits
package) than organizations that compete for the same talent (23 percent).
(p. 1)

The common themes across these two surveys are the importance of talent
management, organizational culture, and compensation in a global
business environment. The first study (Clark & Schramm, 2009) focused on
trends in HR without any consideration of how to manage the trends forecasted
for only one year. The second survey specifically asked how HR was going to
survive the challenges over the next ten years.
In terms of the issues for multinational enterprises (MNEs), these organizations

face the challenges of globalization and of managing data for a global


workforce. For example, in a recent study by Jeitosa Group International and

IHRIM (Beaman, 2009), the survey respondents indicated that three important
challenges facing them as they move toward a global workforce are (1) how to

Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

ensure data quality and integrity (31%), (2) concerns about data privacy and
the associated (and often inconsistent) country regulations (29%), and (3) inter
national compliance (27%) (p. 3).
Although shared services have been around for more than a decade, another
trend in IHRM is the growing use of these services, with 32% of organizations
recently surveyed indicating that they have a global shared-services center
(Beaman, 2010). The shared-services approach refers to the centralization of all
HR services into one location rather than having separate HR staff in different
locations and divisions. Sharing services provides economies of scale and scope
and helps to centralize knowledge and expertise and make both available to all
divisions.
A final trend in HRM on which we briefly touch is the virtualization of work.
No longer are employees confined by physical or temporal space. Employees can
conduct work anywhere and at anytime. The virtual workspace can be defined
as an environment where employees work away from company premises and
communicate with their respective workplaces via telephone or computer
devices (Lockwood, 2010, p. 1). For example, one of the authors has recently
taught a class in which a student was part of a virtual team. His team consisted
of six members on four continents, none of whom had physically met. Together,
they were responsible for ensuring that a global corporations database systems
were constantly up and free of errors. They had to coordinate global schedules
to hold monthly meetings to ensure that the team was meeting targets and
schedules. Yet, they had to do this while never working in the same physical
space! Managing in this geographically dispersed environment creates challenges
in leadership, in the effectiveness of communication, in technology, and in
procedures for conducting virtual meetings and ensuring appropriate HR
management. For example, Figure 17.1 lists several keys to managing virtual
meetings successfully. Given the growing use of virtual teams, organizations will
increasingly need to be aware of the benefits and pitfalls of managing employees
in the virtual workplace.
As seen by these forecasted HR trends, which present both domestic and global
challenges, managers of HR are facing a complex future world. Although all of the
studies previously described focus on different issues, there are common themes
across all: the importance of human capital, organizational culture, and com
pensation in a global business environment. It is interesting to note that these
common themes were identified as playing a role in the future of HR in 2011 as
well as ten years from now. Thus, how managers respond to this complexity will
be aided by advances in both HR practice and the technology that supports it (e.g.
HRIS). Accordingly, the next section of this chapter covers future trends in the
fields of IT/IS and HRIS.

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Figure 17.1 Tips for Effective Virtual Meetings and Management


Prepare and distribute agendas in advance; ensure agendas reflect input requested
from participants.
Initiate meetings with roll call of all participants; review agenda, meeting objectives
and timeframe.
Identify the key roles of facilitator and scribe.
Position participants in locations free of distractions or background noise.
Promote climate of collaboration and inclusion; encourage every attendee to participate
and express his or her view.
Encourage participants to effectively use available technology.
Conduct meeting evaluation at the close of the session.
Establish expectation for distribution of the meeting minutes.
Establish next steps and make follow-up assignments.
SOURCE: SHRM interview with Global Dynamics, Inc. (www.global-dynamics.com), as presented in Lockwood
(2010).

FUTURE TRENDS IN IT/IS AND HRIS


In the first edition of this book, we started this section as follows: When
examining future trends in HRIS, it is impossible to separate the future trends in
IT/IS without relating them to the field of HRM (Kavanagh & Thite, 2009,
p. 413). If anything, this statement is more accurate today than when the first
edition of this book appeared. The knowledge economy is being profoundly
influenced not only by the intensity but also by the speed of technological
evolution. Information technologies have been steadily evolving and improving
from mainframes to client servers and now to Internet/Web interfaces (Collective
HR Solutions, 2010; Macy, 2010; Roberts, 2006). Network communication
technologies (broadband and wireless), convergence technologies (e.g., cell
phones and PDAs), collaborative tools (e.g., Web 2.0, portals), service-oriented
architecture (SOA), rich Internet application (RIA), and business intelligence HR
software systems are some of the notable developments that have affected the field

Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

of HRIS and its related technologies. Apart from achieving better coordination and
integration of different systems within an enterprise, these technologies are
empowering both employers and employees to deploy, share, and use their
knowledge for the common benefit of their company. One the most critical aspects
of the emerging technology is a focus on more efficient and accurate decision
making, also a primary focus throughout this book. For example, the goal of
intelligent HR software is to replace the traditional approach to decision making
with an approach that makes a better decision in the most efficient manner.
Obviously, this technology can help organizations improve their use of human
capital and increase their competiveness in the market. We next briefly discuss the
changes in technology that will have a large impact on the HRIS and the delivery
of HR functionality.

Software as a Service (SaaS) and the Cloud


Traditionally, HRIS implementations were large, time-consuming, and
expensive undertakings. Whether implementing a large-scale system such as an
enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or a smaller system focused on one HR
function, an organization would often work with vendors and consultants to
purchase and install hardware and software on its premises. This on-premise
approach to acquiring software was the dominant and often the only approach
available to organizations. Traditional software development models are being
replaced by on-demand software plans, which see the company or customer
leasing access to as few or as many HR functions as it wishes to access. This
approach to accessing software has been called software as a service (SaaS)
(Zeidner, 2007). With SaaS, small and medium companies are now able to access
HRIS capabilities that were previously only available to large organizations.
These companies currently comprise the largest customer pool for new HRIS
packages. The newest trend in delivering software to companies is cloud
computing. With cloud computing, HRIS functionality is delivered to companies
via the Web. For the company, there is no hardware to purchase or software to
install. Employees can also access the software anywhere they have a Web
browser. As with SaaS, companies are able to adopt only the amount of
functionality currently needed and then scale up to additional functionality.
Momentum toward cloud computing is growing. For example, IBM is ready to
offer the Federal Community Cloud, a secure cloud environment designed for
federal agencies, and Lockheed Martin recently unveiled the Starfire Mission
Ready Cloud. The growing popularity and strengths of SaaS and cloud

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computing should lead to more organizations rethinking their HRIS delivery


strategies. These new rent versus buy decisions should become more common
in the next few years (Johnson & Gueutal, 2011)

Service-Oriented Architecture
One of the major problems during this technological evolution has been the
frustration associated with frequent system upgrade cycles. SOA may be a
solution, as it converts monolithic and static systems into modular and flexible
components. According to Roberts (2006), The big change in enterprise software
that will impact everything from financials to HR is standards-based, serviceoriented software (SOA) (p. 104). The self-contained services in an SOA are
loosely coupled, like a set of Lego pieces, and can be reconfigured to suit a
particular business process and end-user application rather than being hard-coded
together, as they were in the past.
SOA is about efficient modular design and deployment, and reusable
software is at the heart of the architecture (Macy, 2007). SOA offers several
advantages to end users, who can change the business process when needed
and purchase or develop only those applications that are involved in the new
processes. This approach is much better than working around the existing
system or purchasing a package from a vendor based on predetermined processes
and applications. Thus, under SOA, the business process dictates the IT system
to be used and not the other way round. In the long run, this will reduce
technology costs and should improve productivity. The use of SOA in talent
management is covered in Chapter 10.
In Chapter 10, XML-enhanced SOA was also discussed. Whether SOA
delivers what it promises depends on how the major companies in the ERP
market respond. For example, having acquired PeopleSoft and JD Edwards,
Oracle may need to integrate its own systems before harnessing the potential of
SOA. Oracle Fusion and SAPs NetWeaver, the two strategies adopted by Oracle
and SAP around SOA, will play an important role in how HRIS technology
evolves in the future. In addition, Workday, a new firm in the IT/IS and HRIS
field, is developing a product built around a document-centric data structure, like
Google (Roberts, 2006).

Web 2.0
This term refers to a second generation of Web-related services focusing on
creativity, collaboration, and sharing, in contrast to traditional isolated information
silos. Web 2.0 users not only access information but also generate, share, and

Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

distribute new content. According to Dario de Judicibus, Web 2.0 is a knowledgeoriented environment where human interactions generate content that is published,
managed and used through network applications in a service-oriented architecture
(as quoted in Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2008).
Examples of Web 2.0 technology include the following (McKinsey & Company,
2007):
Social networking sites (e.g., chat rooms, MySpace, Facebook)
Wikis (publicly available collaborative Web dictionaries enabling users to
contribute to online documents or discussion)
Blogs (short for Web logs, i.e., online journals or diaries hosted on a Web
site, both personal and corporate)
Mash-ups (software composed of two or more composite applicationse.g.,
pulling up a rental car booking site within an airline booking site)
Podcasts (audio or video recordings)
RSS (rich site summary) feeds (e.g., news items)
Personal Web sites
Peer-to-peer networking (P2P; sharing files, e.g., text, music, and videos)
Collective intelligence (sharing knowledge to tap the expertise of a group)
Web services (Web enabled instant communication between users to update
information or conduct transactionse.g., a supplier and a retailer updating
each others inventory systems).
Web 2.0 has also encouraged businesses to promote user collaboration to share
knowledge and to communicate with business partners, such as suppliers and
outsourcing providers. With an emphasis on sharing, Web 2.0 can dramatically
change the way in which employees communicate with each other and with
customers. Using Web 2.0 will require the HR department to pay greater attention
to the legal, ethical, and security implications of information exchange.

Social Networking
As noted in the previous section, social networking is one of the features of
Web 2.0. Social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, blogs, and wikis are
personal in nature and vary in the extent to which organizations have adopted
them. Although these networks were originally developed to enhance social
connections, organizations are increasingly harnessing the power of social
networking in the workplace. For example, tools such as wikis are being used by
organizations to harness and centralize employee knowledge. Some companies are
even requiring that employees contribute to the company wiki, making these

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contributions a formal component of various jobs. Blogs are not only used to
share information within the company and with external stakeholders but also to
communicate organization culture and personality.
In addition, companies are using Facebook and Twitter to help expand their HR
brand and attract employees to the organization. Many companies, such as IBM
and Deloitte are making social networking a central component of how they bring
new employees into the organization, connecting them with current employees
and easing their transition into the company.
Companies are also using social networks to connect employees and share
information. For example, EMC Corporation uses its social business network,
EMC/One, to generate ideas from its employees for its annual innovation contest.
After the employees post their innovation ideas on EMC/One, they can also vote
for the best idea (Roberts, 2010). At AT&T, senior HR managers use its social
business network, tSpace, to identify employees with special skills or knowledge,
such as the ability to read or speak a foreign language. Of course, as Roberts notes,
there is the possibility that some organizations may use these networks
inappropriately. However, part of this problem is controlled by the fact that social
business networks require employees to use their full names, and companies have
strict policies regarding a code of conduct for employees.

Enterprise Portals
Enterprise portal is the general term used to refer to the ways in which individuals can interact with each other. Enterprise portals can be information
portals, collaboration portals, expertise and knowledge portals, operation portals,
social business networks, or a combination of all of these. Within an HRIS,
employee and manager self-service portals are powerful examples of the potential
use of such portals (see Chapter 10). In the context of portals, two of the most
commonly used standards are WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portlets) and JSR
(Java Specification Request), although, as described in the previous section, companies are beginning to adopt software necessary to built social business networks.
One very important implication regarding the establishment and use of enterprise
portals is their effect on the family-work conflicts that dual wage earners face.
Being able to respond to and, it is hoped, solve work problems from ones home
will be increasingly important in the future.

Open Source Software


As discussed throughout this text, traditionally, vendors developed software
following a very structured approach. Software is often released in formal cycles,

Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

and, in each cycle, new functionality is added and errors from previous releases
are fixed. Each cycle, then, culminates with a release date. In addition, vendors
will often stop supporting older releases as they place more resources into newer
releases. The software developed in this way is copyrighted, and the source code
is neither open nor available for others to enhance. This approach to software
development has been criticized by some software developers as increasing the
cost of software, stifling innovation, and encouraging developers to make previous versions obsolete (requiring companies to then upgrade).
In response to these concerns, some software developers have agreed to a different approach to the development of software called open source. In an open
source approach to software development, the developers make the source code
available for anyone to see and to change. This means that other companies or
developers can then expand on the product or easily develop complimentary products. Open source software also costs much less than traditional (or proprietary)
software, and is sometimes provided for free. Open source products are available
for a wide variety of organizational needs. Examples of open source products
include Linux (an operating system), Apache (a Web server that plays a central
role in the operation of the Web), OpenOffice (a free alternative to Microsoft
Office), and MySQL (a database product). The major risk facing organizations
considering open source adoption is the long-term viability of the product as the
continued success of these products depends upon the continuing interest of the
developers. But, in many areas where needs are common across organizations,
open source products are finding strong support.
Open source software should grow in importance for human resources in the
near future. For example, many HR vendors such as Workday, Taleo, and Journeyx
use open source software in support of their product offerings. In addition, companies are starting to emerge that offer open source HRIS. Some of these are
integrated and some are more function specific. For example, TimeTrex is open
source software for time and attendance management, and OrangeHRM offers a
more integrated suite. These products are targeted at small- to medium-sized businesses. Central to these companies business model is not the sale of the software
itself. Instead these companies focus on providing support services and customization support. The business model thus changes from one of continual updates for
profit to one of developing a long-term relationship with clients.

FUTURE TRENDS IN WORKFORCE TECHNOLOGIES


The many future trends in the HRM, IT/IS, and HRIS fields can easily lead to
confusion for organizations, management, vendors, and employees. A solution to

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this confusion has been proposed by Carden (2009), and we agree wholeheartedly
technology should serve strategic goals. Carden notes that the increasing
competition by organizations to improve their profitability has often led to the
conclusion that new technology will solve these issues, but the reality is more
complex than that. Organizations that are most successful are those who are able
to leverage the technology that most closely links to a strong business strategy.
With the recent global recession, the increasing pressure to remain competitive
and survive has led to companies adopting technology to carefully diagnose what
strategic goals the adoption of technology could support. Even the most
sophisticated software is rendered powerless without a solid business strategy
behind it. (Carden, 2009, p. 20). Thus, as we consider the changes in workforce
technologies, it is important to keep in mind that how effectively organizations are
able to harness the power of these new technologies will depend on how well they
link it to their HR strategy.
In the first edition of this book, we noted that Henson (2005) had made the
following predictions about the future of workforce technologies:
the technology of the future will be both collaborative and connected;
there will be increased and more widespread use of intelligent self-service
via employee portals;
there will be increased use of HR scorecards coupled with workforce analytics and decision trees;
there will be increases in process automation and the use of online analytical
processing (OLAP) for processing raw data;
faster and cheaper access to accurate real-time HR information will be possible due to advancements in communication tools; and
the worker of the future will be able to work anywhere, any time, and on any
device, which will not only help work-life balance but also turn the workplace into a 24/7 cycle.
As we examine the recent state of workforce technologies, we agree with
Henson. Surprisingly, many of these predictions mentioned in 2005 have already
been realized. Therefore, we decided to conclude this chapter by reporting the
results of the latest CedarCrestone 20102011 HR Systems Survey (CedarCrestone,
2010) on HR Technologies, Service Delivery Approaches, and Metrics.3 The
purpose of this survey was to provide a worldwide benchmark of workforce
technologies adoption and the value achieved from their use, so CedarCrestone
broadened its coverage scope for both HR technologies and emerging
technologies...to explore over 40 applications concerning adoption, deployment
options, vendor outlook, value achieved, and expenditures (p. 1).

Chapter 17 The Future of HRIS

551

Figure 17.2 How Respondents Spend Time and Budget

68

1. Business process improvements

38

2. Talent management processes and automation


3. Employee and manager self service

41

27

5. HR systems strategy

41

22

6. Upgrade

31

7. Enterprise portal with HR info/transactions

23

8. Workforce management

10. Workforce planning

49

33

4. Business intelligence/workforce metrics

9. Competency management

56

43

24

34
31
31

15
14

39

20

Spending Time

Spending Budget

SOURCE: CedarCrestone 20102011 HR Systems Survey: HR Technologies, Service Delivery Approaches, and Metrics,
13th Annual Edition (CedarCrestone, 2010).

Data for this report were collected in 2010 from 1,289 respondents representing
over 20 million employees. The sample represents companies from throughout the
globe including North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The major findings of
this study are as follows:
1. As was reported in the first edition of this book, organizations that have
more automation across all categories of technologies outperform those
organizations with less automation on the important productivity measures
of net income growth, sales growth, and sales per employee.
2. Due to recent economic conditions, the market was quite unstable for the
organizations represented in the survey sample. However, the respondents
in the survey reported that their organizations have had strong recoveries,
and they forecasted a 100% growth in HRIS talent management, social
media,4 and analytics and planning applications.

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3. Organizations reported that business process improvement through techniques such as Six Sigma (Chapter 8) for recruiting new employees was
their top initiative.
4. Consistent with our discussion of SaaS earlier in the chapter, organizations
are increasingly choosing to rent access to applications instead of purchasing and installing these applications on site. This growth was noted to be
even stronger than was indicated in CedarCrestones last survey (2009).
However, although sales are forecast to decrease in the next year, on-premise
licensed software is still the leader across all HRIS applications.
5. Organizations are continuing to invest in applications across all HR functions. Administrative HRIS software for core HR record keeping, payroll,
and benefits is still the dominant class of technology, with worldwide average use at 90%. This figure should not be a surprise to the reader as we have
been emphasizing these HRIS functions throughout this book, especially in
Chapter 10.
6. There is a continuing trend to use new service delivery applications, such
as employee and manager self-service systems, portals, HR help desks, and
workforce life cycle management; this trend is expected to grow during the
next three years.
7. The major increase in the use of technology to support HR will focus on
tools such as talent management, social media, workforce planning, and
workforce analytics, with over 90% growth in the next three years.
8. Among organizations that have installed multiple talent management applications, i.e., acquiring, developing, and retaining employees, those companies with four or more applications installed outperformed those companies
with three or fewer applications in terms of higher net income growth, sales
growth, and sales per employee.
9. Organizations have begun preparing to use service-oriented architecture
(SOA) to automate business processes, e.g., applicant tracking. As discussed earlier in this chapter, SOA provides an overall service that is well
defined, self-contained, and context and platform independent and that adds
value to the organizations business purpose.
10. Finally, the survey focused on choices and investments that are providing a
strong return to companies. These choices include the following:
Focus on Career Development. It is not simply technology that makes a
difference for employees. By leveraging technology and HR practices,
organizations that actively support employee professional development
will find that employee loyalty will increase and turnover will be reduced.

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Use Workforce Optimization Technologies. There is continued growth


of organizations adopting workforce planning and workforce analytics.
Organizations that have adopted these applications outperform those that
have not.
Choose an Integrated ERP-based Talent Management Solution. For
the third year in a row, organizations pursuing a strategy that integrates
multiple HR functions into a software solution have had the best financial performance out of all those firms participating in the study.
Adopt Social Networking. Early evidence suggests that the adoption
of social networking by organizations is leading to lower costs and
improved organizational agility and responsiveness.

SUMMARY
As noted early in this chapter, forecasting the future is very difficult. One reason for this
difficulty is that the field of HRIS is not just about what might become technically
possible. It is, essentially, about systems that serve humans and human enterprise.
Students focusing on understanding the field of HRIS must never forget the human issues
involved in developing and implementing an HRIS. The field of HRIS continues to
evolve, and it is important for those studying it not only to understand what is occurring
today but also to look at the environmental and technological forces that will affect it in
the coming years. If there is one central theme of our look toward the future, it is the
importance of HR policies matched with organizational change and technology; this
alignment will have the greatest impact on the future success of HRIS and the
organizations investing in these systems. For example, one of the findings from the
CedarCrestone survey was the emphasis on change managementto which an entire
chapter of this book was devoted (see Chapter 9). Technology is not a substitute for
managerial competence and employee discretionary behavior (Armstrong, 2005). It can
only be a messenger, not a message. It is also impractical to expect information systems
to supplant the soft functions of the HR department, such as an online electronic tutor
replacing a good executive coach (Stanton & Coovert, 2004). In sum, technology is
extremely important in the field of HRIS, but people are simply more important.

KEY TERMS
business process transformation
cloud computing
corporate social responsibility and
sustainability (CRS)

data privacy
data quality and integrity
enterprise portals
global mobility

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global recession

software as a service (SaaS)

international compliance

viral recruiting

open source software

virtual workspace

organizational culture

Web 2.0

service-oriented architecture (SOA)

work/life balance

shared-services center

workforce demographics

social business networks

workforce optimization
technologies

social networking

NOTES
1. Selected specific examples of the general trends will be covered here. The main trends
quoted here can be found in Clark and Schramm (2009, p. 4) Interested readers can access the
entire document at http://www.shrm.org/Research/FutureWorkplaceTrends/Documents/09-0700
Workplace panel_trends_sympFINAL Upd.pdf.
2. The bold font used here and for some other quoted phrases has been applied by the editors
to highlight key terms.
3. We are reporting only part of the results of this survey due to its length; however, the entire
survey may be obtained from CedarCrestone (http://www.cedarcrestone.com/whitepapers/
CC_2010-2011_HRS_Survey_WP.pdf).
4. This finding echoes the description of social business networking discussed in an earlier
section of this chapter.

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