What are human resource software solutions

What suits you: special tool or HRIS?

All-rounder or specialist? When choosing HR software, you can choose between integrated, so-called HRIS (Human Resource Information System), or individual solutions. Both models have advantages and disadvantages. Here you will find out the most important distinguishing features and two crucial questions that you should ask yourself before purchasing.

When choosing a new HR software, you are first faced with a huge mountain. Capterra, a comparison portal for business software, lists over 450 human resource software solutions. How are you supposed to find the right HR software that suits you from this large number of people?

Every decision in favor of software begins with a catalog of requirements. Based on the criteria named therein, you make a pre-selection of software solutions that you take a closer look at and evaluate.

This guide offers decision support on the way to purchasing software.

Probably the most important criterion for pre-selecting HR software is: Would you like an all-in-one solution that covers as many of your personnel management tasks as possible? Or are you looking for special solutions that each fulfill individual tasks?

What does HRIS mean?

HRIS (Human Resource Information System) is a personnel information system, i.e. a database in which the master data of all employees is collected and managed. It offers the broadest possible range of functions for the personnel area. You can use it to carry out administrative tasks such as payroll accounting or time recording or the management of job offers and applicants in a single tool.

Essentially, an HRIS connects human resources (people) with information (that used to live in filing cabinets). The only difference is that HR software is used to handle all core HR tasks electronically and smoothly - sometimes even at the push of a button.

The advantage of such a solution is obvious: you only have to deal once with the selection of a software, only once to familiarize yourself with it, and all functions work together seamlessly.

What are individual solutions?

On the other hand, there is the strategy of using its own software for each task and networking the various individual solutions with one another via interfaces. In IT parlance, this approach is called “best-of-breed”, which means finding the best solution for each area of ​​application.

The appeal of this approach is that you can build a bespoke HR platform that suits your unique needs. If better software comes onto the market for a task area, you can switch.

Which arguments speak for which model?

As you can imagine, the debate about which strategy is the best is hotly and emotionally debated among (IT) experts. There is no right or wrong in this question. It's more about: Which approach is right for you? With which HR software can you optimally carry out the tasks in personnel management?

Both HRIS and individual solutions have advantages and disadvantages. Here you can find out in which points one or the other solution performs better. Using your catalog of requirements, you should prioritize which areas you focus on so that you can approach a decision.

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In practice

As mentioned at the beginning: There is no right or wrong, it's about the fit. Pragmatism is therefore the order of the day when it comes to implementation. No company will buy ten to 20 different solutions just to be able to use the optimal software for every task. Likewise, it does not make sense to categorically commit to just one solution from the outset.

Overall, when it comes to software, the trend is towards simplification and standardized solutions. As early as the study “Global Human Capital Trends 2015”, the management consultancy Deloitte found that buyers of HR software would prefer fewer functions and less complexity than more. The best features are useless if nobody can or wants to use them.

On the other hand, there is no solution that covers 100 percent of the requirements and solves all personnel management problems. Therefore, in practice it can come down to a combination of the all-in-one and best-of-breed models, with an emphasis on one side or the other.

Small and medium-sized companies sensibly rely on an all-in-one solution with which they cover a large part of all personnel tasks. For special areas, such as knowledge management or new recruiting methods, you can add additional solutions to the HRIS.

Large companies with their own IT resources are more likely to operate a platform made up of several solutions, as they can raise the necessary IT resources. For example, they cover “accounting-related” areas such as billing, controlling and personnel planning in one solution. Tasks such as recruiting or personnel development, in which innovation is important, are carried out in different applications.

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ERP systems with HR module

Numerous ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning) offer not only classic components such as inventory management or controlling, but also modules for HR tasks. If you use an ERP system in your company for which HR functions are available, you should definitely include these in your evaluation.

The guaranteed compatibility with your systems and the mostly long experience with the system - both in IT and with users - are important advantages. On the other hand, ERP projects are often relatively expensive and lengthy because the systems are complex. The advantages and disadvantages of all-in-one solutions also apply to HR modules of ERP systems, to an even greater extent.

For tasks such as payroll accounting and controlling that have to be closely linked to the ERP system, an integrated module may be a good choice. You have to check whether it is also suitable for topics such as applicant management or employee development.

Two crucial questions

How do you decide which model is right for your company? Would you rather choose an all-in-one solution or operate a platform made up of several individual solutions? Before you think about features, you should ask yourself these basic questions:

1. Do you already use software for a large part of your HR tasks?

If not, it indicates that IT and software are not a central part of your HR work
is. Selecting and operating many different solutions would be too much of an effort for you. An all-in-one solution, a unified human resources management system, is probably the best solution for you.

If so, ask the next question:

2. Does the existing software meet your current and future needs?

If not, consider changing your complete system. Here, too, an all-in-one solution is the recommended option as a basis. From the multitude of providers, you are sure to find a solution that suits your focus. You can add special solutions to additional functions.

If so, you should proceed according to the motto “never touch a running system”. Keep using your software. Following the best-of-breed approach, you can integrate additional solutions into your platform if you need new functions.