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Maintaining the HRMS. Chapter 7. Human Resources Management Systems: A Practical Approach. By Glenn M. Rampton, Ian J. Turnbull, J. Allen Doran ISBN 0-459-56370-X Carswell. Maintaining the HRMS General (Cont’d).

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maintaining the hrms
Maintaining the HRMS

Chapter 7

Copywrite C 1999 PMi www.pmihrm.com

human resources management systems a practical approach
Human Resources Management Systems: A Practical Approach
  • By Glenn M. Rampton, Ian J. Turnbull, J. Allen Doran

ISBN 0-459-56370-X

Carswell

Copywrite C 1999 PMi www.pmihrm.com

maintaining the hrms general cont d
Maintaining the HRMS General (Cont’d)

Successful implementation of a new HRMS is often regarded as the conclusion of a project, and, indeed, it is. But it is not the end of the larger issue of managing human resource data, or of ensuring that the system remains up-to-date, and effective – it is the beginning of this ongoing and continuous maintenance process.

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maintaining the hrms cont d
Maintaining the HRMS (Cont’d)

No matter how good the hardware and software contained within an HRMS are, nor how well the project team has completed its responsibilities, there will be problems and issues arising. These “maintenance” issues include continually monitoring the effectiveness of, and upgrading or replacing hardware, software, communications (networks), and business processes.

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maintaining the hrms general cont d5
Maintaining the HRMS General (Cont’d)

Unlike many software systems, HRMS products are often updated quarterly to accommodate legislative changes. Each new update, or “release” as they are commonly known, brings the potential for problems.

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maintaining the hrms general cont d6
Maintaining the HRMS General (Cont’d)

Compounding these problems is the fact that most HRMSs are being used continuously, so that it may be difficult or impossible to shut the system down for any length of time while upgrades are being made to it.

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maintaining the hrms general cont d7
Maintaining the HRMS General (Cont’d)

Further, the project team which was dedicated to the implementation will probably no longer exist; the members of the team either moving on to other projects or returning to whatever job they held prior to the commencement of the project.

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areas requiring maintenance
Areas Requiring Maintenance
  • Hardware and Communications
  • Software
  • Business Processes
  • Functional
  • Technical

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hardware and communications
Hardware and Communications

Hardware and communications network(s) – the physical body and neural links of the HRMS – require maintenance like any other electrical or mechanical device. They suffer from wear and tear, and must be maintained regularly or they lose their effectiveness.

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software maintenance
Software Maintenance

Lientz and Swansen (1980) categorize software maintenance into three types:

  • Corrective 60%
  • Adaptive 25%
  • Perfective 15%

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software maintenance cont d
Software Maintenance (Cont’d)
  • Corrective maintenance is defined as fixing problems which prevent the system from working as intended. These are not just "bugs" (programming errors), but also include poor definition of requirements, design flaws, coding flaws (true bugs), and various other problems.
  • Adaptive maintenance refers to modifications to the HRMS in response to changes in technology, government regulations or external forces.
  • Perfective maintenance is seen as modifications to the system in response to user and/or technicians’ requests.

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business process maintenance
Business Process Maintenance
  • Just as software must be maintained, so must the business processes of an organization.
  • The individuals responsible for maintaining an HRMS must continually work to stay up-to-date with business, human resources, and technical trends and, in fact, be prepared to act as proactive change agents in theirareas of responsibility.

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functional maintenance
Functional Maintenance
  • No sooner than a HRMS is implemented changes will occur. Union agreements will be settled, court decisions will require special reports or retroactive adjustments, and so on.
  • Modern HRMSs are constructed with tables containing information that is “date specific”, for example: salary compensation (ranges, steps, ...), benefit amounts, deductions and taxes, performance criteria, and so on. Each of these tables may change annually, or more often, and will need to be updated and otherwise “managed effectively", which in turn requires a degree of functional expertise.
  • In addition, there are number of additional data management considerations that must be taken into account. These considerations can be specific to one application (e.g., payroll, human resources/strategic planning, pension and benefits, training and development, occupational health and safety, etc.), or to many.

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technical maintenance
Technical Maintenance
  • Computer structures are never static for long.
  • Even if a specific software package remains completely unchanged over a year, the computer that runs it, and the communications network that provides input into it, and ensures that its output gets to wherever, and to whomever it needs to, may be shifting constantly.
  • Performance demands on the HRMS or other systems, backup, disaster recovery, the number and nature of central processing units, data storage units, and communications networks all require constant management. This is true whether the organization is using its own staff to maintain the system or is contracting someone external to do it.

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functional technical maintenance
Functional /Technical Maintenance
  • If the HRMS in question has been purchased from an external software supplier or “vendor”, the vendor usually provides regular programme “updates”. These updates can contain changes in the way the system handles human resources issues, but also may contain system changes of a more technical nature. A human resources and payroll system update for example, may include changes in taxation from every applicable legislative jurisdiction, and are often made available by the software “vendor”, on a quarterly basis.
  • Implementing new software containing either specific updates or specific upgrades may not be critical. However, successive functional and technical changes will generally assume that prior releases have been implemented, and without implementing them the system will rapidly get out of date.

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roles in maintaining an hrms
Roles in Maintaining an HRMS
  • What are the roles that those responsible for maintaining and HRMS must play in order to ensure that it operates and is used effectively? To a large extent these roles vary depending on the way an organization has structured its business and computer processes, and the way it has defined the relationship between its technical and functional staff.
  • Some organizations view the support of a HRMS as a technical function with systems staff providing all expertise. Others supplement or replace internal systems and/or functional expertise with consultants from the seller, or “vendor” of the system, or from a third party. Other organizations create a new function of HRMS specialist within the organization.

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roles in maintaining an hrms cont d
Roles in Maintaining an HRMS (Cont’d)
  • A 1994 survey conducted by the University of Sherbrooke and the Canadian Association of Human Resource Systems Professionals (Haines & Petit, 1994) states:

One of the most important findings of this study is that satisfaction levels and usage of (HRMS) systems are much higher where there is a specialized HRIS unit than where there is no such unit (p. 4).

  • The formation of a specialized HRIS/HRMS unit can be quite contentious. For example, the Management Information Systems department may be threatened of users are allowed to have system‑management responsibilities that had previously been handled exclusively by their department. Also, if human resources and payroll staff report through different organizations there may be turf wars as each agues that they should be responsible for various aspects of systems maintenance.

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user support
User Support

Ideally, as outlined in the previous chapter, an organization will have trained every user to operate the system as it is being implemented. However the “users” of the system will change jobs, new responsibilities will appear, complex reports never before conceived will be required, and users will forget what they learned. Ongoing training and coaching on every aspect of the system will be required, aswill documentation updates.

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user support19
User Support
  • If an organization has acquired a HRMS from an external software supplier, there will be other organizations which have also acquired the same software. Most software suppliers encourage their clients to join together in "User Groups". User groups allow those who use the same system to network and exchange ideas about the software, its foibles and follies, its strengths and opportunities.
  • Active participation in such organizations - from both technical and functional perspectives -allow organizations to gain from other’s experiences, and to approach the vendor with joint requests for significant modifications or customization. In addition, most vendors look to the User Group to set future development priorities.

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