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Meta4 PeopleNet HCM Software Review


A Deeper Examination of Meta4's PeopleNet

Meta4's PeopleNet solution is built around 5 separate "packages" that progressively increase in functionality: Ad Hoc, Core HR, Compensation & Benefits, Talent Management, and the full suite solution. The Ad Hoc option is exactly as it sounds, and allows the customer to pick and choose the functionality that they need. The remaining packages have elements that are not included, most notably within the "Core HR" package; where the Active Dashboard, Benefits, and Compensation modules are absent—effectively meaning that a purchase upgrade is needed to engage the system for benefits, analytics, and any type of compensation management. This is a particularly odd layout for a solution that prides itself on being "people-centric", and what makes it even odder is that the modules of Recruitment and Occupational Health & Safety are considered to be "Core HR" while Benefits and Compensation are considered to be "Talent Management" modules. In any case, our HR software review will focus on the "Core HR" package, detailing the modules of Organization Planning/Management; Personnel Administration/Management; Employee/Manager Self-Service; and Payroll.

Organization Planning & Management

Because Meta4's PeopleNet software begins with a "people-centric" organizational structure, this module is perhaps the single-most important one to the effective operations of the HR software. In essence, this module is built around the idea that anyone with a relationship to the organization is first defined as "a person" and second is defined to everything else—meaning the software itself revolves around its people. Hence, any activity that takes place within the organization takes place within the system as "relative to the person". The positions, the activities, and the job family, for example, are also defined within this organizational structure; and from this structure, competencies and extended knowledge levels can be assigned (by position, by department, etc.)—all while remaining relatively transparent (and tied) to the user.

Functionality within the HR software module includes: the design of the organizational model of each company; the definition and management of work units, work places, jobs and positions graphically; the automatic creation of jobs and positions; the management of how positions are valued based on contribution to the organization; the determination of the objective value of each position within the organizational structure; the creation of career plans; the management of budget allocations, comparisons and evolutions; and the assessment of organizational changes in the present, past, or future through simulations. It's important to note that this is the functionality that countless organizations have tried to create for the "modern" workforce—instant system insight and rapidly created/dissolved work teams based on a current organizational need.

Personnel Administration and Management

This module serves as the data repository and includes the functions of: managing data on all people who interact with the organization (including managing multiple groups or collectives); managing historical information; managing contractual information and employee positions; managing documentation; and managing the procurement of reports for new hires, movements, terminations, employee turnover, stability, etc. Most of these functions subscribe to user-defined workflow (or business process automation) capabilities that the system then handles.

Employee/Manager Self-Service

A substantive part of nearly every solution on the HR software market, Meta4's Self-Service software is designed to improve communications, engagement, and quality service to managers and employees through the qualitative controls of increasing efficiency; improving productivity; simplifying/automating administrative processes; decentralizing functions; optimizing resources; and facilitating the manager's direct control over his team and resources. Interestingly enough however, all of these functions are actually handled by other modules except for role definitions and approvals. In essence, this HR software module is the glue that holds most of the administrative functions together.


Easily one of the most robust solutions available, PeopleNet's Payroll software module is compatible with local legislations, supports different currencies for global multinational companies, and leverages Meta4's rule-based (and proprietary) component architecture (which allows both country and company-specific rules to be applied without having to resort to coding). Further, Meta4's payroll solution offers flexibility in the way that payroll is managed, updated, and processed through the differentiating features of: spreadsheet technology (incorporated into the engine to facilitate calculations); time-related management (for data, values, calculation rules, process handling, relationships, etc.); retroactivity (for enabling the management of both general and individual retroactive processes under different circumstances); calculation by slices; flexible data entry; dynamic multi-level value assignment; unique programming language (for payroll customizations: LN4-natural language); payroll execution (with filters for runs, views, and calculations); and payroll inspector (a customizable user tool designed for querying, analyzing and debugging already calculated and processed payrolls).

  • Payroll Simulation and Budget Control
    This module is actually more of a tool, capable of measuring HR salary costs and controlling the workforce budget of an organization over time through payroll calculation simulations. The simulation is a real calculation; it uses exactly the same calculation engine as the actual payroll of an organization, together with the same rules and the same structure used for assigning values. As such, the simulation is not an estimate, but a genuine and live payroll calculation that uses the actual components (payroll items, calculation rules, etc.) of the real payroll. This delivers a simulated computation with all the details on earnings, deductions and contributions.

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