HRIS Case Study
Integrating a Human Resource Information System
This case study is in regard to a U.S. based energy company that employees 54,000 people in more than 180 countries. They have realized their current human resource information system (HRIS) does not have the necessary tools to maintain the proper controls needed and their current system has received an unsatisfactory rating during a recent internal audit. This U.S. based energy company has decided it would be more cost effective to implement a new HRIS instead of trying to fix their current HRIS. This will require they implement a global HRIS to adequately track and maintain employees as well as maintaining compliance in the different countries based on the different country’s employment laws.
What are the major issues presented that affected the time and scope of the project?
There are many issues presented that negatively impacted the time and scope of the project. The London-based HR office selected a vendor to help with the integration of a global HRIS, but the London-based vendor has no knowledge of the U.S.-based HRIS and possessed minimal experience when integrating new modules into an existing HRIS. The company I currently work for is dealing with the same issues. We are owned by a company out of India with several locations in the U.S. The corporate office in India wants to convert all locations (which includes numerous locations in different countries) to a SAP system. The vendor has come in and advised us how the system works but there are many aspects of the system that won’t support the U.S.-based operations of the company.
The project management team put in place for this integration was challenged from the start. The project manager was knowledgeable in the European HRIS but had zero experience with IT and the current U.S.-based HRIS. The person put in charge of the technical team has no experience on IT projects that utilizes a HRIS. In addition, this team lead is coming from a different cultural work environment that could make it difficult for them to effectively run the technical team. A U.S.-based senior design analyst was added to the team but again, the senior design analyst has no knowledge of the European-based HRIS. Other HR personnel and people from the integration vendor were also on the project management team but none of these people had any knowledge or experience for HR IT projects. This has been an issue for our integration of SAP as well. The vendor is from India and when we advise what it is that we need to operate successfully, they tell us it can’t be done. It has been a constant back, and forth which has delayed this integration for over two years now.
Also Study: Challenges and Benefits of HRIS Implementation
The unknowledgeable project management team would often schedule meetings that were technical and complex in nature where the senior design analyst was unavailable to attend. This allowed the project management team to present their findings as fact but ultimately turned out to be unworkable. This caused additional delays in the integration due to having to reverse what was done and start over.
One of the major problems that has affected the project is the legal requirements necessary to operate in different countries. The information provided was inconsistent and not factual. The project management team presented processes they stated were required by law when in fact, it was not required by law, but personal requirements wanted by the employees.
What are the minor problems that affected the integration?
The first minor issue that needed to be overcome would be the time zone issue. The difference between the London time zone and the U.S. time zone required several U.S. employees to be available after normal business hours to assist with the integration. For example, in the company I work for, each quarter, senior management from all the locations have a conference call. Due to the time difference between our U.S. location and India, our senior management personnel are required to be in the office at midnight to attend the conference call because India set up the call to benefit their time zone.
Language was another minor hurdle to overcome. Though both London and the U.S. speak and write English, the different spellings and meaning of the same words could be different. An example would be in the U.S., the word “organizations” is spelled with a “z” but in India, the word “organisations” is spelled with a “s”.
Another minor hurdle to address and overcome is the employee’s ability to utilize the new HRIS to change simple information, such as their home address. Something as simple as a change of an employee’s home address could have tax implications in the U.S.-based location but not in the London-based location.
During the time of integration, the required staff needed to assist with and support the integration was not known prior to the integration. Unfortunately, the integration didn’t go as smoothly as it should have requiring London-based employees to travel to the U.S. to work on the issues as most issues could not be resolved remotely.
Based on the inexperienced project management team put in place, this integration was delayed by three months and came in over budget. Had this project been planned better and consisted of people on the project management team with knowledge of the technical and complex processes, this integration would have gone more smoothly and been less costly for the company.
Bartlett, J. E., & Bartlett, M. M. (2008). Strategic HR Managment: Integrating a Human Resource Information System: A Module with Case. Retrieved October 7, 2018, from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM: https://www.shrm.org/academicinitiatives/universities/teachingresources/documents/08-0882_integrating_hr_info_sys.pdf