Paul Rose, Knowledge Manager, Employee Central
“The ability to integrate with other software solutions used in the organization has remained a critical buying criterion for HRIS, as with other human capital management products”
Investments in Human Capital Management Systems 2014 (Bersin by Deloitte)
A complete and comprehensive integrations strategy will be fundamental to the overall success of a firm’s global HCM strategy. Organizations have in recent times embraced the mantra of establishing “one source of master data” but the inherent complexity of ensuring that this core system of record feeds to critical company applications such as payroll, time, benefits and finance systems means that difficulties persist in this domain. In this article, I will suggest eight crucial integration considerations for companies to account for in the context of an organization implementing a global HCM solution.
Integration components should run in parallel
The integrations portion of the overall project needs to run in parallel with the global core HCM solution. If customers design their core HCM application without critically considering integration aspects to other systems then the net result will be the requirement at a later stage to rework the global core HCM solution. This will be costly and inefficient approach.
Attempt to use HCM Applications with standard integrations to 3rd party solutions
Many of the state-of-the-art cloud HCM applications will have designed standard integration templates which will facilitate the flow of data from the source HCM system to the target system like a payroll or benefits provider for example.
An Experienced Implementation Partner is vital
Organizations must be assured that the implementation provider has the requisite skills and experience to design these integrations. Customers should be thorough in the research they conduct on these partners and request multiple customer references.
Invest in global 3rd party applications
It is going to be much more cost beneficial and resource efficient if organizations invest in a global payroll, time and benefit provider to feed from the master core HCM application. The amount of integrations required if individual countries have differing external applications will be excessive and make it very hard to streamline HCM processes throughout the company.
Invest in the most up to date version of 3rd party applications
Maintenance of the integration points will become troublesome if the company has a legacy version of a payroll, time, benefits or finance product. Global HCM applications will principally interface smoothly with a newer version of the product.
Communication amongst project stakeholders
The principal HCM technical lead at customer level needs to coordinate with integration experts in his/her own company as well as the implementation provider to understand how to incorporate the 3rd party requirements into the global HCM solution. A risk with this component is that the customer HCM lead and customer integrations lead are not aligned which may result in duplication of configuration in the system.
Establish a viable support strategy
For global organizations, the amount of data that is part of the integration process is enormous so it is imperative that companies can call upon a partner for support post implementation that has the skillset to troubleshoot any integration issues. Preferably, this would be the partner who successfully built the integration as the core knowledge will exist.
Choose a viable middleware solution
The middleware application an organization will utilise to assist in the integrations will prove to be a very significant decision. The middleware solutions which may have been optimal for on premise HCM integrations may not perfectly fit the cloud model so project stakeholders should research success stories and be guided by experienced implementation partners.
Organizations must take a holistic approach to integration considerations with global HCM solutions. The entire design of a global core HCM solution should be planned with an optimal, cost effective integrations approach in the mind of all pertinent stakeholders.