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Top considerations before implementing an HCM system

The cloud is a game-changer for many industries and it has also influenced the decision making when it comes to acquiring and implementing Human Capital Management (HCM) systems, says CRS Technologies South Africa.

Businesses that embark on a journey to the cloud and open themselves up to this technology find that they have the capability to manage their infrastructure and resources in a more cost effective, efficient way, including people management. The cloud is a game-changer for many industries and it has also influenced the decision making when it comes to acquiring and implementing Human Capital Management (HCM) systems.

The fact is that the cloud has opened up the market in a massive way. The option to invest in SaaS-based HCM System says Ian McAlister, General Manager of CRS Technologies South Africa, offers the business landscape more options and there are many solutions being introduced by an array of service providers.

"It is true that HR managers and business owners are spoilt for choice. They are able to tap into the cloud and access systems that are designed to meet their demands, that reflect the evolution of the HR industry and are no longer mere systems of record, but are now what HR professionals call ‘systems of engagement'," says McAlister.

So what should decision makers focus on when hunting for a cost-effective, robust and affordable HCM system?

"As a starting point, the most important primary consideration is the business requirements? What exactly is driving HCM in your business? The answer to this question is inevitably the need to comply with changing legislation, so a system that is on par with local developments and can be localised to address these challenges," McAlister continues.

It is equally important to consider how the HCM system will be implemented and this is where business continuity comes in explains McAlister. Implementation must not cause any downtime and the old system should remain accessible during changeover and relevant employee training to ensure continuity, according to McAlister.

Here again the cloud offers the opportunity to scale with solutions at an affordable and efficient way.

Decision makers also have to keep in mind the scope of deployment – how exactly will the new HCM system be implemented, what will it affect, who will use it, when, why and where? These are important questions says McAlister, but he is quick to point out that new generation of HCM systems entering the market offer an end-to-end employee lifecycle management and the visibility of a unified HR platform "to give businesses a bird's eye view of their HR".

"This is critical for the business to capitalise on the inherent benefits of the system, its core functionality," McAlister adds.

The functionality or ‘nuts & bolts' of the system is really where the technology sells itself, according to CRS Technologies.

The workings of the system and the end result of what it is designed to do is really one of the main considerations.

If a business attaches importance to effective recruitment and the benefits of productivity, to cost saving from lower employee turnover and enhanced HR processes and procedures, then the issue of functionality must be clearly understood well before implementation.

"An effective HCM system must keep track of employee profiles and should have the ability to develop descriptions of the company's HR structure with the objective to match profiles to positions. The idea is to secure a well-orchestrated, highly effective people management system that links up training requirements, areas of HR management that needs more attention, performance evaluation and other key factors," McAlister adds.

Other factors to consider ensuring effective and results-orientated implementation are the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the system, license fees, regulation/legislation compliance.

"Much depends on whether a new system is outsourced or built in-house, or purchased new… there are several options, thanks to the cloud… however, what is a given, irrespective of what option is chosen, is that a new system must address market requirements including on-boarding, data management, security, costs etc.,' says McAlister.

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