The Importance of Human Resource Information Systems

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Introduction

The following research paper is related to the topic of Human Resource Information System. The field of Human Resource Information System is extremely dynamic and immeasurably enormous. Its field is basically related to human resource management (HRM) and Information Technology. HRIS is also known as Human Resource Technology, Human Resource module, or Human Resource Management System (HRMS, EHRS).

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Organizations strive to work with better performance, head count, motivation, progress, and good reputation while maintaining their expenses and operating their infrastructure with the highest level of technology available in the market. Use of modern technology has become a trend these days in order to keep up the name of company among its competitors. For this reason, enterprises make use of technology to rationalize their activities, increase motivation among employees, cut down expenses, and maximize business efficiency. HRIS is the best solution to help out the company in this kind of situation. It combines human resource disciplines and its activities with the information technology field to give the best solution possible to compete in the marketplace with highest level of achievement.

The following research paper would help in investigating the basic information regarding the HRIS. Apart from that, it would present an overall understanding of who uses HRIS, how it is beneficial to its users and how it is important from every aspect.

In addition, the conflicts and challenges would discuss that are faced during the implementation of HRIS. Apart from that, other details, such as, what are the capabilities, characteristics, and qualities of HRIS, who are the leading market players in the field of HRIS, which companies are the best and what makes them market leaders in competition, what type of systems are available in the market for the purpose of purchasing, what is the exact cost of the systems, and exactly what kind of infrastructure would be required to run these systems (Witschger, 2005).

Understanding Human Resource Information System

(Hunter & Saunders, 2005, p69) At present, some of the major issues faced by the organizations are to streamline their corporate activities, minimize their expenses, make maximum use of technology, and make a versatile example of increasing business efficiency over other competitors in the marketplace. human Resource Information System refers to the procedures and systems that represent the combination of human resource management (HRM) and information technology (IT).

It makes use of HRM activities, especially its fundamental human resource processes with that of information technology. Moreover, the combination of human resource management and information technology merges with the data processing system programming of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software processing. As a whole, a system in which information technology is utilized to collect, evaluates, and distributes data or information of employees in an enterprise is known as Human Resource Information System.

(Targowski & Tarn, 2006, p134) Use of Human Resource Information System is quite common and widespread in most of the organizations because it contains administrative operations in general. The system contributes mainly in proper functioning of selection, analysis, and payroll procedures. The human resource management functions in the HRIS system helps in dealing with traditional employee information, such as, tracking of skills, personal data, performance history, record keeping, editing, transaction processing, competencies, achievements, manual and annual income.

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The management of several organizations faces the problem of handling employee information manually and regards it as time consuming and time wastage. Therefore, enterprises make use of specialized system that includes of human resource management activities and combines it with information technology on an automate system. The Human Resource Information System is a computerized system that consists of all employee data and assists the management to keep track of all on-going activities of team workers in the company.

Some of the main functions that are maintained by Human Resource Information System are: Work Time, Payroll, Incentives Administration, Selecting and Recruiting, Training or Learning Management System, Human Resource Management Information System, and Performance Tracker. Properly customized HRIS software basically keeps track of what employee is doing what which job is completed when and how was the response of the task.

HRIS usually keep track of all these activities via several communicational means, such as: through Internet – with the help of websites, through Portal – an internal portal through which employees communicate with each other internally and also access the Internet, and through Extranet – a communicational link between two or more companies. The main objective of a Human Resource Information System is to facilitate managers and employees by providing them human resource information and help them in decision making. It not only maintains employee information, but also keeps track of organizational details and human resource plan data, and other human resource related activities.

Scope of Human Resource Information System

Generally, Human Resource Information System can be considered as a major part of an enterprise’s larger management information system (MIS) that includes significant financial operations of the company, such as, marketing management, production management, accounting functions, and financial sector. There is no specific limit or scope of human resource information system because the data utilize by the human resource management of the company can be as wide as it can be.

But usually, the scope of human resource information system is all about staff selection, staff recruitment, training courses, development programs, employee tracking, employee fringe benefits, compensation programs, future development planning, and future objectives. The entire structure of human resource information system mainly comprises of three segments, namely: input, transformation, and output.

Elements of HRIS
Elements of HRIS (Grobler & Warnich; 2005, p41).

In the diagram presented above, there are three main segments in the cycle of human resource information system. The first segment is input that consists of employee records and all information, company procedures, organization policies and processes, and personnel records.

The second and most important stage is the transformation which is operated by actual computer. In this stage, the computer is being told what to do and how to do the operations with the help of specially customized software or manually printed instructions. The output section is entirely different from other two because it utilizes the real on-time newly processed material. Together, these functions make the cycle of human resource information system, which on the other hand, has dramatically increased the efficiency level of human resource around the world (Grobler & Warnich; 2005, p41).

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Mechanism of Human Resource Information System

(Chanda et al, 2007, p396) The entire structure of an HRIS consists of five different components, which would be described here. These partitions are listed as under:

  1. Hardware – Hardware is basically the outer physique or outside structure of a computing system. It contains all the software and the attached devices. These devices are used by the management to operate human resource information system. Typically, the devices associated with hardware are: storage devices, central processing unit (CPU), communication devices, display devices, tapes, and keyboard.
  2. Software – Software is not a device that can be seen or operated from the outside. It is the set of instructions or programs that enable the computer to operate properly and manage other functions of the company. For a human resource information system, there is no specific software available in the market because they range from single user programming software to multiple users integrated programs. Some of the examples of HRIS software are: payroll, personnel manager, HR-focuser, employment equity planner, ILS assessor, employee self services Intranet, PWA empower, skills planner software, and others.
  3. Data – This is the main component of human resource information system and is required to solve human resource related issues.
  4. Procedures & Users – These are the remaining two components of human resource information system and consist of procedures and skilled personnel. Procedures Trained personnel are the management, employees, human resource users, data entry experts, and other authorized users who use the human resource information system. Procedures are the printed or stored on machine instructions to be exploited by the users (Mondy, 2007, p74).
Human Resource Information System.
Human Resource Information System (Mondy, 2007, p74).

Capabilities of Human Resource Information System

(Kavanagh & Thite, 2008, p213) Performance, effectiveness, and development mean a lot to the better future of a business. This can be achieved with the help of strategic planning and human resource information system. This system helps the management to improve its systems, operations, working conditions, and organizational environment. Human resource information system helps the company in managing its administrative tasks.

A good human resource information system needs to have some specific capabilities that match with a good quality system. The first quality that must be present in the human resource information system is that it amalgamated well with the advantages and payroll applications. The system is supposed to come with in-person assistance for the users’ convenience by conveying on the web-enabled self service attribute.

The most important attribute of a good system is that it should make the user feel secure and safe from the outside interventions. In short, a well operated human resource information system should be able to reduce time consumption, be able to serve multi state team workers, protect the overall system and information saved on it, minimize turnover, and eradicate redundancy while being cost effective for the company.

Benefits of Human Resource Information System

(Bohlander & Snell, 2009, p43) There are several advantages that a company can get after implementing human resource information system within their infrastructure successfully. After implementing the HRIS system, number of errors is minimized, effectiveness increased and cost is reduced. It helps as a managing tool for the management to save time consumption and carries out strategic planning for future development.

Human resource information system provides on-time current information to the management and helps in decision making. It makes complicated operations simpler for the users and help in fast recovery of information.

These are some of the advantages that a company can only achieve if its uses human resource information system as an integral part of its infrastructure. The information available through HRIS is keep posted regularly and is used by the employees and management of the company. However, authorization level of employees is different than the management, because management uses human resource information system as being the sole authority of the system, while employees are the normal users who makes use of the technology only to retrieve and save updated information on the system.

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Drawbacks of Human Resource Information System

(McKenzie & Traynor, 2002, p71) Although human resource information system has several advantages that paves way for company’s development, but there are some limitations that creates problems for the management of the company at times. Major drawback of using human resource information system is that it is very expensive to be implemented on its first stage. However, there are significant benefits in the long run but initial stage expenditures are highly costly.

Another limitation in using this system is that it creates complexities for the satellite users. Moreover, when several employees enter same information multiple times, it creates redundant records and hence, creates complications. Making modifications in the redundant information entered by many employees is difficult, time consuming and expensive. Human resource information system is very dynamic in many ways, but at times, it lacks in providing flexibility to carry out certain tasks.

Human Resource Information Systems Providers in the Global Market

(Kavanagh & Thite, 2008, p213) There are countless human resource information systems providers in the global market. Most of the HRIS providers are locally situated and very few of them are known globally. This is why there are some limitations while carrying out this research to get the right and most appropriate name of a company whose reputation is known equally around the globe. Some of the most well known systems available are: KRONOS, Ceridian, iEmployee, HRSOFT, Sage Abra HRMS, Ascentis HR, SAP HR, BAAN, Oracle HR Systems (PeopleSoft HCM), CORT, Spectrum, Ultimate Software, Lawson Software, Employease Software, Vantage, and Human resource Microsystems.

Apart from all these human resource information systems, Sage Abra HR, SAP HR and PeopleSoft HCM from Oracle are considered to serve the best among their competitors in the marketplace. These systems are extremely popular and well-known; and are used by several satisfied customers. Their details would be presented as under:

About Oracle PeopleSoft

(Carter, 2004, p2) PeopleSoft HCM was an enterprise that used to serve its customer companies with customer relationship management systems, human resource management systems, and other software solutions. The relevant customers were usually educational institutions, financial sectors, manufacturing industry, mega size multinationals, governmental bodies, enterprise performance management, and several other small and medium sized organizations.

The first version of PeopleSoft was released in the last era of 1980s and received huge positive feedback from its users. PeopleSoft become immensely popular and was adopted by uncountable organizations due to its flexibility, variety of operations, wide-ranged functionality, user-friendliness, reliability, and simplicity. It was the year 2005 when PeopleSoft was merged with the outsized Oracle Corporation. The merger gave both the company a significant boost. There are still many companies who are using and adopting the Oracle PeopleSoft and becoming its satisfied customers.

(Hotsinpiller & Doolittle, 2008, p2) The reason why PeopleSoft is the best system is that its entire platform is very user-friendly and comprises of many components and functions, such as, different scripting languages, interface with SQL database, strong security infrastructure, several kinds of metadata, and not to mention batch processing tools that make the whole application independent. These are the main components that make Oracle PeopleSoft different and unique from others.

The purchasing price of Oracle PeopleSoft software is different for different companies with their different requirements. The price starts from US$ 25,000 onwards to US$ 200,000 for small sized organizations, whereas the price for medium and large sized organizations starts from US$ 250,000 onwards that goes up to US$ 1,000,000.

About SAP HRIS

(Kavanagh &Thite, 2008, p156) SAP is one of the world’s pioneer business software providers. It provides its customers with business related software and applications to facilitate their daily business transactions and infrastructures. With its foundation since the year 1972, SAP is a true industry leading company with the highest number of innovative success stories. SAP has a vast circle of satisfied customers all over the world in more than 120 countries with their operations in more than 50 countries. The SAP solutions are popular for being cost effective, innovative, flexible, efficient performance with strategic working infrastructure.

The solutions offered by SAP are best for the all kinds of industries, especially for the small and medium sized organizations. The popular aspects that make it different from others is that its standard is very high and the main emphasize is paid on the quality assurance. The price of SAP software is a bit expensive than other usual HRIS software providers and usually starts from US$ 100,000 that goes above than US$ 1,500,000 for large sized organizations.

Sage ABRA HRMS

(Kavanagh &Thite, 2008, p156) Sage ABRA is yet another human resource information system provider that is popular and well known to cater the needs of its customers with full satisfaction rate. It provides a perfect blend of human resource features that meet the needs of its customer requirements. Sage ABRA is famous especially to serve the small sized organizations with its unique and perfect system infrastructures. It makes use of several database platforms such as, SQL, SQL express, and FoxPro. The features offered by Abra are Self service module, full HR, benefit enrollment, training, benefits messenger, OrgPlus, alerts, learning, performance appraisal, and several others. The price of Sage ABRA HRIS software starts from US$ 20,000 onwards for the small sized organizations.

Research Design

Research design represents the entire structure and working framework of the research. Research design is a conceptual structure, outline or blueprint of what the researcher would do in the future to continue the research by following proper guidelines and mediums. There are a lot of benefits that the researcher could gain from the proper utilization of research design, such as, it saves time and is cost effective, gives maximum information by avoiding unnecessary data flow, sets limits on certain areas and prevents blind research methods, provides reliable results, prevents researchers from gaining wrong conclusions, and provides maximum endeavors to the researcher to carry out an extraordinary research

The methodology of the dissertation is of exploratory research with a qualitative design. The research has been designed to comprise both secondary and primary sources of data and information gathered by the researcher. The reason for the use of the different method for this research was because limited information was available and it was difficult to get hold of the entire information to conduct face to face interviews.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research methods are used in the cases where quality and nonnumeric values are concerned. This research method involves the real life experience gathered from a field or a group of people, society, organization, community or even individuals. Qualitative research method is usually used to seek the originality and real expressions and behaviors of people. The primary research makes use of questionnaires and the internet based interviews while the secondary research comprises of the literature review and the analysis of the main topic of the dissertation. The sampling methodology that is used for the secondary research conducted using the questionnaire is that of non probability sampling procedure.

The validity and the reliability of the data gathered through the questionnaire based survey were ensured through the use of the triangulation technique whereby multiple questions were targeted at the respondents to determine the integrity of the answers.

Reliability and Validity

The validity has been ensured in the research methodology by ensuring qualitative research employed with integrity. The sources for the qualitative research were taken from official websites, books and the peer reviewed journals to ensure that the information used in the literature review was accurate and valid. The validity of the information gathered in the questionnaire based survey has been ensured by including triangulated questions to determine the validity and the accurateness of the responses.

Data Collection

The data gathered for the qualitative research study is in the form of journal articles, corporate journal reports and reviews were studied. All the data collected is in the written form. The authorization and the verification of the data are provided by the peer reviewed nature of the journals and the bodies that have put the data on their academic electronic databanks.

Limitations Faced

While compiling this detailed and comprehensive research paper, several limitations have been faced which are related either to the corporate reasons or the academic reasons of the researcher. These limitations are listed as under:

  • The research could be biased because of the information provided on the web as well as the information gathered
  • The information present on the subject matter are several, hence the information displayed is limited because there are numerous and uncountable sources present, but all of them cannot be presented in this detailed research paper
  • The research carried out is not extensively complete
  • The research is carried out by a student, hence, the information may face conflicts by its lecturer or this assignment could be different from the point of view of the lecturer

Findings & Result of Research

This research paper is related to the analysis of human resource information system. According to the research carried out, the field of human resource information system is highly informative, advance, wide, and dynamic from every aspect. It does not matter what size an organization is, its operations are the same as other organizations; and there is no application or system as significant as the human resource information system.

The success of an enterprise is directly related to the performance of employees and to the fact that how much management of the organization pays important to its workers. Its part of the company’s information system and human resource management program that focus on the scenario of attracting, selecting, retaining, developing the infrastructure of the company by utilizing employees’ skills. It improves the efficiency level of the company by helping the mangers and top management to carry out their responsibilities and tasks more effectively in a functional way with the help of modern human resource information system technology.

It is the system that makes use of information technology and human resource management perspectives to attain, save, fabricate, evaluate, retrieve, and distribute the information of company’s working infrastructure and employees whenever it is needed by the managers. The system carries bundle of information within its memory slots and retrieves the information to the management that is relevant to the employees. Normally, the information present on the system is about the personal information of employees, working information, bio data, performance, future assignments, and future development programs.

There is also other kind of information that could be acquired by the system. The main areas where human resource information system plays important part are: human resource planning, development progress, team planning, future developing plans, staffing, performance analysis, recruitment and training information, learning and development information, payroll, job designation, job analysis, salary information, monthly or annual compensation, IT development programs, fringe benefits evaluation, and several other human resource related functions.

The most popular human resource information systems owned organizations around the world are: KRONOS, Ceridian, iEmployee, HRSOFT, Sage Abra HRMS, Ascentis HR, SAP HR, BAAN, Oracle HR Systems (PeopleSoft HCM), CORT, Spectrum, Ultimate Software, Lawson Software, Employease Software, Vantage, and Human resource Microsystems. Out of all these systems, Oracle PeopleSoft, Sage ABRA and SAP are considered to be the best solution providers of HRIS available due to their unique, dynamic and multi-purpose oriented system. Their components can be analyzed by the following chart:

Sage ABRA HRIS SAP HRIS Oracle PeopleSoft HRIS
Among top 3 HRIS providers Among top 3 HRIS providers Among top 3 HRIS providers
Suitable for small size organizations Suitable for large sized organizations Suitable for small and medium sized organizations
More than 2500 client companies More than 1500 client companies More than 1400 client companies
Uses database platforms such as, SQL, SQL express, and FoxPro innovative, flexible, efficient performance with strategic working infrastructure Uses SQL database, strong security infrastructure, several kinds of metadata, and batch processing tool
Price starts US$ 20,000 onwards for the small sized organizations A bit expensive from US$ 100,000 that goes above than US$ 1,500,000 for large sized organizations Price: US$ 25,000 – US$ 200,000 for small & even 1,000,000 plus for large organizations
Abra are Self service module, full HR, benefit enrollment, training, benefits messenger, OrgPlus, alerts, learning, performance appraisal, and several others Accounting & finance, sales & service, human capital management, procurement & logistics, corporate services, product development & manufacturing, inventory management Benefits Administration, Absence Management, ePay, Payroll, Pension Administration, Stock Administration, Time and Labor, eDevelopment, Learning Management
Key clients: Mitsubishi caterpillar folk lift America, Seattle Mariners, Heartz Corp, Asurion, Contrack Intl, Milwaukee Brewers, Perfumania Key client: BMW, Coca cola, Hershey, Tyson Foods, Nokia, Siemens, Volkswagon, Ericsson, US Portal Service Key clients: Best Buy, 7-Eleven, JDS Uniphase, LG Phillips, LCD, Xerox, Southwest, Burlington Coat Factory, Ingersoll Rand
Economic and Strategic difference oriented Economic difference oriented Strategic difference oriented

Out of all these three systems, Sage ABRA HR is the best HRIS system provider because it caters the requirements and needs of small as well as medium sized organizations. It is much affordable, flexible, simple, and user friendly as compared to other software providers.

Apart from that, when we talk about making a real economic or strategic difference in the society, HRIS is said to make strategic difference as a whole. This is because of the fact that IT influences HR policies and procedures directly and create great difference on the strategic planning and overall development and performance of the company. For example, AT&T is a telecommunication service provider and was facing HR problems. When it utilized HRIS functions within its working environment, the company made a fortune within days through strategic planning, development, progress, and performance while saving cost expenditure on the human resource activities.

Discussion and Conclusion

Organizations make use of technology to rationalize their activities, augment motivation among employees, cut down operating expenses, and make the most of business efficiency. The solution to all these questions is human resource information system. HRIS is also known as Human Resource Technology, Human Resource module, or Human Resource Management System (HRMS, EHRS). It is the amalgamation of human resource management (HRM) and information technology (IT), which makes use of HRM activities, especially its significant human resource functions with that of information technology.

The system facilitates in all types of human resource related activities, such as, tracking of skills, personal data, performance history, record keeping, editing, transaction processing, competencies, achievements, manual and annual income. The Human Resource Information System is a computerized system that consists of all employee data and assists the management to keep track of all on-going activities of team workers in the company. Some of the main functions that are maintained by Human Resource Information System are: Work Time, Payroll, Incentives Administration, Selecting and Recruiting, Training or Learning Management System, Human Resource Management Information System, and Performance Tracker.

The scope of human resource information system is all about staff selection, staff recruitment, training courses, development programs, employee tracking, employee fringe benefits, compensation programs, future development planning, and future objectives. The entire mechanism of human resource information system consists of software, hardware, data, processes, and users. After implementing the HRIS system, number of errors is minimized, effectiveness increased and cost is reduced.

Some of the most well known systems available are: KRONOS, Ceridian, iEmployee, HRSOFT, Sage Abra HRMS, Ascentis HR, SAP HR, BAAN, Oracle HR Systems (PeopleSoft HCM), CORT, Spectrum, Ultimate Software, Lawson Software, Employease Software, Vantage, and Human resource Microsystems. The best known HRIS providers are the Oracle PeopleSoft HCM, SAP, and Sage ABRA because they mix two major technology based companies’ expertise together to provide the best systems in the competitive marketplace.

All these companies manufacture their systems after understanding the importance of HRIS for managers and their team workers. However, the price they offered are different from each other due to the different organizational structures, size of the system they offer, different features, and requirements of their customers to manage their team. The price also depends on the version of software that is needed to be installed. The HRIS systems provided by these companies helps in processing huge amount of data and information, helps the workers to learn and gain knowledge, facilitates in eye empowerment, and manages project based work environment.

References

Bohlander,G.W. Snell,S. (2009) Managing Human Resources. Publisher Cengage Learning, p. 43.

Carter,J. (2004) The Expert Guide to PeopleSoft Security. Publisher iUniverse. p. 2.

Chanda,B.A. Krishna,S. Shen,J. (2007) Strategic Human Resource Technologies: Keys to Managing People. Publisher SAGE, p. 397.

Grobler,P.A. Warnich,S. (2005) Human Resource Management in South Africa. Publisher Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 30-45.

Hotsinpiller,J. Doolittle,J. (2008) PeopleSoft Developer’s Guide for PeopleTools & PeopleCode. Publisher McGraw Hill. p. 22.

Hunter,I. Saunders,J. (2005) HR business partners. Publisher Gower Publishing, Ltd. p. 69.

Kavanagh,M.J. Thite,M. (2008) Human Resource Information Systems: Basics, Applications, and Future Directions. Publisher SAGE PUBN INC, p. 213.

Mondy. (2007) Human Resource Management. Publisher Pearson Education India. p. 74.

Steven,M.J. Traynor,W. J. (2002) Opportunities in human resource management careers. Publisher McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 71.

Targowski,A. Tarn, J.M. (2006) Enterprise Systems Education in the 21st Century. Publisher Idea Group Inc (IGI). p.134.

Witschger J. (2005) Praise for People-Trak – An HRIS that helps HR professionals track the entire employee life cycle.

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