Implementation of an HR software solution

The decision for a digital HR software solution has been made. Regardless of whether it is the introduction of a complete solution with all software modules – i.e. payroll accounting, a recruiting tool, the digital personnel file, personnel development and time management – or whether only some of these processes are to be represented digitally in the future: A first major step towards a digital HR department has been taken. Now it’s time to implement and introduce the HR software.

The introduction of HR software is a project in its own right. If you have used a software comparison portal such as HRNeeds to select HR software, you can at least be sure of one thing at this point: The selected HR solution will suit your company and your requirements – the project will therefore most likely be implemented successfully.

As the respective wishes of companies are very individual, the HRNeeds comparison portal uses a well thought-out catalog of questions that includes and queries all essential aspects. The company-specific requirements are compared with the software solutions of the software manufacturers on the basis of the results obtained and a list of providers is drawn up.

In a short telephone consultation between the HR experts from HRNeeds and the customer, it is ensured that the customer’s requirements and wishes are discussed and any outstanding issues are clarified. The customer then receives a list of the identified software solutions free of charge and without obligation, with a detailed summary including all the necessary information to help the customer make a decision and support them in their choice.

HRNeeds Managing Director Claus Nielsen explains how important such information can be for the introduction and subsequent successful implementation. “In our many years of experience, the error is often in the detail. Due to the complexity of the situation, many companies only realize during the implementation phase that the selected software solution can only partially cover the requirements or not at all.”

A decisive step has therefore been taken with the selection of a digital HR solution. Now it’s time to introduce it. How this project is structured, how it is approached and when the HR tools are actually used live depends on the software solutions and modules selected on the one hand, and on the other, the procedures of the individual software providers differ.

We spoke to a representative of rexx systems GmbH about the introduction of an HR software solution: Florian Walzer, Head of sales & marketing, explains how the project process and project management for the introduction of HR software is typically organized at the Hamburg-based software development company, which project phases are run through and how the implementation is organized so that the software implementation is successful – using the example of the “rexx Suite” product.

Walzer

Florian Walzer is Head of Sales & Marketing at Hamburg-based rexx systems GmbH. The company is one of the leading providers of HR software and offers digital solutions for all areas of HR.

Here he explains how the project “Implementation of a HR software” is usually structured. He emphasizes that the times given here refer to the basic functions of the modules and that correspondingly longer project times should be planned for the complex modules.

The decision for digital HR software has been made

Companies are usually delighted when the decision is made in favor of HR software. And understandably, they want to get started right away. Because, as Florian Walzer from rexx systems GmbH knows: “A lot of time passes before the actual decision for a digital HR solution is made, before the contract is signed. Once this selection and decision-making process has been completed, things should of course start straight away. However, the reality is a little different.”

There is usually a certain lead time for implementation projects. The duration of the implementation phase also depends on the software modules selected and the company in question. Florian Walzer says: “When introducing complex modules, such as talent management software, it is not unusual to plan for months or even years and work in implementation phases.”

For the introduction of the basic requirements of its product “rexx Suite”, rexx systems GmbH gives a guideline of around 8 to 12 weeks. From kick-off to going live. The effort for companies in this project is up to around 80 hours.

Project phase 1, the introduction of the HR software for administrative tasks, is completed after just 4 weeks and can go live. Companies need to plan between 36 and 52 hours for this phase.

In a further 4 weeks, the digital recruiting processes, the “Applicant Management Software” and “Talent Management Software” modules are then introduced

(IMPORTANT: The time specified here refers to the basic functions of the respective software. For example, a much longer period of time is required to fully implement such a complex module as “Talent Management Software”).

For this project phase 2, the effort for companies is given as between 24 and 28 hours.

Introduction of various HR software modules

What strategy and priority should be given to implementing the various HR software modules, and what does rexx systems recommend? “This is actually an exciting aspect, as the thinking here is somewhat divergent,” says Florian Walzer. According to him, many companies want to start with applicant management. There is a clear reason for this: Due to the shortage of skilled workers, companies are feeling the most pressure in this area. However, the rexx systems Group, with HRexcellent GmbH as an expert in HR process consulting, advises companies to take a different approach. “We recommend starting with HR management. I need the roles and functions of HR management for collaborative work in the system anyway. For example, when searching for a new sales employee, the digital HR management system already knows who is involved in the relevant processes via the stored organizational chart. This means that a great deal of work can already be automated via digital HR management. Only then should recruiting and applicant management follow,” says rexx systems expert Florian Walzer.

Project phase 1: Introduction of the HR management solution

Week 1: Introduction of the HR software solution – getting to know the HR software, organizational structure, preparing for import

Getting to know the HR software

As a rule, a wide variety of stakeholders were already involved in the decision-making process when selecting the HR software: the management and IT department, the data protection officer, the purchasing department and the staff council or works council. And, of course, the HR department. Nevertheless, rexx systems presents the acquired services to its customers again at the start of the implementation. This takes place as part of a kick-off meeting. “The digital HR tools were presented to the companies in detail during the sales process, and the solutions were also compared with the requirements. However, we are now presenting the acquired software again with all its functionalities and possibilities,” explains Florian Walzer. This is a new system tour with a description of the objectives defined at the start of the project.

In addition, the company’s organizational structure is stored directly in the new HR system at the start of the project.

The following graphic is a kind of guide in which project phase 1 is clearly presented

Recruitment Steps Week 1-4

Determining the organizational structure

The organizational structure is a digital representation of the company with its various locations, divisions, levels, departments and teams. It is therefore about visualizing the structure of the organization.

The organizational structure is then assigned roles and functions later on in the software implementation process, which are ultimately assigned to specific employees.

This first step also shows what templates for importing personnel look like. And the training for the administrators begins.

Week 2: Defining roles and storing users

In step 2, an organization chart is derived from the organizational structure, in which the roles and functions existing in the company are mapped. These can then be supplemented with the specific employees in the course of “Week 3: Data import”.

The advantage of focusing on roles and functions is that, for example, in the event of personnel changes, only the employees behind the roles and functions are replaced, but nothing changes in the organization chart. The rights assigned to the roles are thus passed on simply and easily in accordance with the plan.

The onboarding process is also simplified by this type of setup, as new employees can see directly what position they have in the company. Last but not least, unfilled positions become directly visible in this way.

“And at this point, we provide information on exactly how the payroll software works, for example, so that employees receive their salary on time and correctly,” explains Florian Walzer on the introduction of the “sensitive” payroll module.

Week 3: Data import

Data import, i.e. the transfer of data from the old systems to the new HR software, is one of the most important steps in the introduction of digital HR systems. This involves transferring all employee data and documents to the new software.

Linking two systems: the topic of interfaces

An interface is the connection between two systems. This means that two sides need to be involved so that data can be transferred between them. Florian Walzer says: “By and large, the interfaces work well for transferring data from legacy systems to the new HR software. We have been on the market for over 20 years and have defined corresponding standard interfaces. A lot therefore works at the touch of a button. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.” In principle, however, application programming interfaces, i.e. API interfaces, can be used to program transfer channels between two systems relatively easily.

If the interfaces work, data from time recording, payroll systems or other employee data, for example, can be easily transferred to the new HR software.

Week 4: Processes or the introduction of workflows and reminders

The definition of workflows and reminders can be described as the heart of the software implementation. After all, once the processes and workflows have been created in the HR software, the software solution can fully exploit its automation potential.

“Who does what?”, “What user profiles are there in the company?”, “Who should be able to do what?” and “Who has what rights in the system?” are the key questions that companies need to answer in this phase of the software implementation. In this step, time recording is also adapted to the requirements of the respective company

Completion of project phase 1: Test runs and GO Live – “arming” the HR software
Customers of rexx systems are informed at all times via project management software about which phase of the software implementation they are currently in and which services have been provided and accepted. The software also lists which tasks still need to be completed. Not to forget: If the project is still in the budget plan – for transparency, the costs incurred are also mapped in the digital project tool. This gives client companies full project and cost control at all times.

Once a system or module has been set up, rexx systems carries out trial and test runs with the customer. Once the test runs have been successfully completed and the module has been accepted, customers change the status.

rexx systems expert Florian Walzer explains: “Once the software has been introduced, the project is handed over internally to the next department: customer support and the customer success team. The employees there help with questions, organize follow-up training or assist with staff changes, for example if the HR manager leaves the customer company.” This ensures that the software system continues to support the HR department in its tasks and that the functions can be used to their full extent and with all their possibilities.

Check via quality assurance

Florian Walzer adds: “Quality assurance is also important in this phase: does everything fit? The HR staff themselves and managers can then be trained. For example, for cooperation on HR topics or recruiting. For example, we explain how the interaction between HR staff and specialist decision-makers works.”

Everyone can join in: Employee Self Services

Finally, the software solution is rolled out to all employees. After all, the introduction of HR software changes the processes and opportunities for all employees. Thanks to Employee Self Services integrated into the software, all employees are able to change their data in the software solution, submit vacation requests, enter absences, view training courses or download payslips.

Additional information: parallel operation

Until the new HR system has been fully rolled out, the conventional systems often continue to run in parallel. “However, as many companies are still working with Excel files, they are trying to shut them down quickly – for GDPR reasons alone,” says Florian Walzer from rexx systems with reference to data protection

Project phase 2: Introduction of the selected modules

With the completion of project phase 1, the basis has been laid for all software modules that are now to be implemented further, which were selected by the rexx systems customers. For the “rexx Suite”, these are Recruiting with the Applicant Management and HR Management modules.

This project phase is structured in the same way as the introduction of the HR management solution from project phase 1, as shown in the following graphic – naturally taking into account the module-specific requirements:

Recruitment Steps Week 5-8
The introduction of the recruiting software also starts in week 1 with a kick-off meeting and a tour of the system. This is followed by the templates for serial emails and the career portal.

In week 2, the focus is on “publications”: defining roles and user profiles, vacancies, publications, status updates and training for HR staff.

Then, in week 3, the recruiting processes are introduced and automated reminders are defined. The way in which employee representatives are integrated into the digital processes is also defined. Training for the software administrators takes place at the same time.

Finally, one week before “Go Live Recruitment”, a quality assurance including the topic of data protection and a status update takes place in week 4.

Additional information on the time required for the introduction of HR software modules:

Basic functionality can be established via the new system in 30 days. “However, when it comes to topics such as talent management, employee appraisals or training management, event or seminar management, eLearning or the recording of employee potential, it takes longer to establish such processes,” says rexx systems expert Florian Walzer.

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