What do we do, and what do we need?
The importance of an HRIS requirements document can often be undermined and commonly forgotten about, beyond the initial procurement stage. Used well, documented requirements act as a ‘golden thread’ throughout the entire project life cycle, enabling you to manage change, measure success and communicate clearly on progress. Below are some pointers to make the most of your requirements document.
Evaluating Your Needs
What do we do, what do we need? This process should be a real meeting of minds where you utilise the strengths of the team to draw out your detailed requirements. Exploit those with an eye for detail who can drill into current business processes to ensure you’re capturing the essentials. Your strategic thinkers will be able to translate people data into business goals, so ensure the data they need is being captured and can be represented as required.
Equally, consider other sources of requirements by looking beyond the HR department. Understand how other functions could benefit from an integrated HRIS solution to maximise your ROI. A key example may be linking payroll to the Finance general ledger, or sharing data with IT to populate the employee directory?
Before sharing with any prospective vendor, you should consider organising and prioritising your requirements list. Consider the functionality that you currently have, for example in a legacy system that must be replicated in any new solution. These requirements are considered ‘must haves’ and non-negotiable. Work beyond this to understand what must be in place for go-live through to the requirements that would be a nice to have, but not mandatory. This will help tremendously during vendor selection to establish feasibility and cost.
You should establish your success criteria in advance, and your original requirements will be a major contributor to this. Establishing up front what must acceptably be achieved in the project, will help you clearly communicate progress and support you in progressing between project phases and project closure.
Trying to measure the success of a project when the goal posts keep moving is never desirable; however, it is not uncommon for requirements to change or emerge during a project, either because a business process requires it, or because it was not possible to scope from the outset.
Having a clear and formal change control process in place ensures that you limit ‘scope-creep’ and allows for any new, additional requirements to be discussed, agreed and formally signed off within the context of the wider requirements.
Your new system should pass functional, user and quality testing, so consider your requirements list as a benchmark for your testing strategy, by ensuring all the new functionality meets your original objectives.
Louise Bhatia is an HRIS Consultant at Silver Cloud HR, an independent HRIS consultancy providing support to some of the UKs most successful mid-sized businesses. Silver Cloud support customers with requirements gathering and system selection, as well as project management during implementation. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.