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Maintaining the HRMS


Maintaining the HRMS

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									Maintaining the HRMS

       Maintaining the HRMS

       Copywrite C 1999 PMi
Human Resources Management
Systems: A Practical Approach
   By Glenn M. Rampton, Ian J. Turnbull, J.
    Allen Doran

ISBN 0-459-56370-X


              Copywrite C 1999 PMi
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.
         Copywrite C 1999 PMi
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.
               Copywrite C 1999 PMi
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.

        Copywrite C 1999 PMi
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.

        Copywrite C 1999 PMi
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
         Copywrite C 1999 PMi
Areas Requiring Maintenance
 Hardware and Communications
 Software
 Business Processes
 Functional
 Technical

          Copywrite C 1999 PMi
Hardware and
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.
         Copywrite C 1999 PMi
Software Maintenance
Lientz and Swansen (1980)
 categorize software
 maintenance into three types:

    Corrective           60%
    Adaptive             25%
    Perfective           15%

         Copywrite C 1999 PMi
    Software Maintenance
   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
   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’

                Copywrite C 1999 PMi
Business Process Maintenance
   Just as software must be maintained, so
    must the business processes of an
   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 their areas
    of responsibility.

             Copywrite C 1999 PMi
    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.

                   Copywrite C 1999 PMi
    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.

                Copywrite C 1999 PMi
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.

                   Copywrite C 1999 PMi
     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.

                  Copywrite C 1999 PMi
     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.

                    Copywrite C 1999 PMi
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, as will documentation
            Copywrite C 1999 PMi
     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
   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.

                  Copywrite C 1999 PMi

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