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Dave Foxall Post-Implementation Review for HRMS Software – A Template

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 By Dave Foxall

7 Questions for an HRMS Software Post-Implementation Review

No matter how successful the implementation of a new HR management system (HRMS) has been, the temptation for an organization to rest on its laurels and assume the hard work is over should be resisted at all costs. In fact, if anything, this is the time that a renewed focus should be put on managing and reviewing the new system—a process known as the post-implementation review (PIR). Indeed, according to recent work from Dresser & Associates, "Sometime after the go-live, a review of how the system is being used is necessary. Often, valuable functions are not being used most effectively or not at all".

In short, the HRMS post-implementation review aims to fulfil 3 specific purposes. First, the PIR is a chance to understand to what extent the HRMS has achieved (or is on track to achieve) the benefits that formed the basis of the original supporting business case. Second, the HR software review allows for a current functionality benchmark to be made, and, looking to the future, allows the organization to identify what further benefits can be realized. Finally, the HR implementation review serves to learn lessons from the project process that can be applied to future IT or HR software implementations. These purposes are served by the gathering of factual evidence. Gut feelings and anecdotes aside, the PIR seeks answers via project documentation, metrics, reports, interviews and surveys which – whenever possible – are gathered by an independent review team; albeit with the close collaboration of those directly involved in the HRMS implementation.

The question of when to launch a HRMS post-implementation review largely depends on the scope and nature of the installation. For example, employee self-service (ESS) functions may be reviewed after a period of months; once adoption is wide enough to meaningfully measure. An e-recruitment module on the other hand can be reviewed after the first job has been advertised and filled—thanks to the immediacy of the metrics. However, Simon Wallace (author of "The ePMbook" on project management) urges caution when scheduling a PIR; warning, "It should not be performed while the initial snags are still being dealt with or while users are still being trained, coached and generally getting used to its operation."

The following list comprises seven key questions on which the PIR should focus. While this is not an exhaustive list (and individual projects will dictate additional specific questions), our hope is that this document can serve as a type of template for your own HR software post-implementation reviews.

HRMS Post-Implementation Review Focus #1: System and project goals

This portion of the review tends to focus on utilization of the HR software.

  • Are the HR software features scheduled for go-live functioning as expected?
  • Are error rates within agreed margins?
  • Are HR software bugs and fixes being addressed within acceptable timeframes?
  • Is data integrity being maintained within the system and in relation to other integrated systems?
  • Are the expected efficiencies in evidence or – for longer term savings – on track?
  • How does the current state compare with the original business case in terms of tangible outputs?

HRMS Post-Implementation Review Focus #2: Cost/Benefits

Measuring costs to compare to budget, use for ROI calculations and understand Total Cost of Ownership is critical for a complete HR software review.

  • What were the final costs of the implementation—and how/why did they vary from budget?
  • What are the current ongoing operating costs (including licensing renewals, maintenance, labor, etc.)?
  • How do the costs compare with the benefits achieved—by HR area, category or HR software function?
  • Is there an opportunity to make incremental investments to accelerate advancements and payback?
  • Is there an opportunity to reduce investments in areas that are not producing sufficient value or payback?
  • If the project hasn't yet delivered a sufficiently large return, how can this be improved?

Another cost to consider is that of the PIR itself; MindTools.com notes, "Interviewing stakeholders and [users], testing the solution, and documenting the results are time-consuming activities. Make sure the time and resources dedicated to the review are consistent with the project scope and its output, and that the potential benefits of conducting the review are worth the effort put in."

HRMS Post-Implementation Review Focus #3: Stakeholders

HR software value is ultimately determined by the internal and external customers.

  • Are users' needs being met (in terms of access, automation, tech support and improved HR service delivery)?
  • Are the project sponsor and C-level executives seeing their expected benefits?
  • Are HR teams experiencing the target improvements?
  • Has there been any impact on indirect stakeholders such as customers and suppliers?

HRMS Post-Implementation Review Focus #4: Training

An SAP survey found that post-implementation training was the factor most likely to be identified as the single greatest determinant of software success. A full evaluation of implementation training, focused on user ability to apply the training in their roles and the impact of that application on HR metrics such as response times and service satisfaction should be conducted. The two primary questions to be answered are:

  • Was the training adequate to enable users to take full advantage of the new HR system?
  • What further training could expand the benefits currently being realized?

HRMS Post-Implementation Review Focus #5: External support

The project contributions of the HR software vendor and HRMS consultant (if any) may be better reviewed separately, depending on the scale and outcome of the project. Key questions are:

  • To what extent were the agreed project roles fulfilled?
  • What added value contributions were made and what measurable impact did they have?
  • Would the vendor and/or consultant be recommended for future projects?
  • Did any unexpected contractual issues arise?

HRMS Post-Implementation Review Focus #6: Further development
 

  • What HRMS improvements or changes could deliver additional benefits?
  • What additional investment, training and support would that require?

HRMS Post-Implementation Review Focus #7: Lessons learned
 

  • What learning points are there that can be applied to future projects?
  • What unforeseen pitfalls or delays occurred—that if recognized early may be mitigated in the future?
  • Could they have been prevented by better planning?
  • What went well? How can these factors be replicated in future projects?

The HRMS Post-Implementation Bottom Line

Ultimately, the HR software post-implementation review provides the hard evidence of the success (or lack thereof) of the HRMS implementation and gives executives and HR practitioners both concrete point-in-time metrics and the trend of how the HR software's return-on-investment is proceeding over time. Naturally, the key to a useful review is to act upon the information and learning. Typical applications include the post-implementation training strategy, an HRMS improvement strategy and future HR software projects. End

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Another cost to consider is that of the HR software post-implementation review itself; MindTools.com notes, "Interviewing stakeholders and [users], testing the solution, and documenting the results are time-consuming activities."

 

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