Taking the integrated approach to HR
When purchasing business systems there are many options to consider, including the structure of the solution under review. There will always be debate about what represents the best solution for business software and the choice is always the same: do you buy a single solution from a single vendor or a combination of best-of-breed software? For buyers of HR and payroll solutions, the same challenge applies.
Some vendors combine different pieces of software whilst others provide fully integrated single products. Sometimes, vendors promote third-party software solutions as their own – a process known as white-labelling. But how can you tell the difference, and which is the best approach? Solutions comprising disparate software combinations risk information being scattered across multiple databases. Often, changes don’t update everywhere leading to conflicting versions of data with no way to know what is true. Correcting such errors is time-consuming and disruptive to business. Organisations using multiple software solutions must determine how to enact data changes across all their software, determine a source of truth for their data and implement interfaces to enable this. Then, where data structures change or software is replaced, organisations must reconfigure their interfaces. Fully integrated software solutions have one database to update, one source of truth. This approach minimises disruption and the risk of errors.
System security ensures that the right users have access to the right data. For multiple vendor solutions, buyers will need multiple security credentials for authorised users. They must ensure that users can access only the data they have permission to access within each piece of software. As software access controls will vary, this may prove challenging. Fully integrated solutions have one security profile per user so you can ensure separation of duties and user access only to permitted data. Audit controls will capture every transaction for easy reporting and, within an integrated solution, the auditing capability will report across every functional area and consistently present a complete picture of ‘before’ and ‘after’ data. Michael Howard of Frontier Software stresses the importance of security and audit, “relevant stakeholders must share data and their actions on that data must be captured. So, when businesses decide to adopt a new solution or change providers, security and auditing should be among the key considerations…disparate software may capture and present audit data inconsistently”.
Integrated software works as a single solution. It has one database and need not share data as all modules form part of the whole. Data changes are universal and do not need mapping, eliminating the risk of data duplication or other errors. The system updates new codes or changes to codes everywhere in real-time. “The big advantage of seeking an integrated solution is commonality,” says Howard. “Integrated solutions will have common interfaces, reporting tools, menu structures and security access methodology.”
The choice of multiple vendors vs fully integrated is not any easy decision to make, but here are 10 reasons to choose a fully integrated single product solution for HR and payroll: