Glossary of HR & Payroll Technology
HR & Payroll Technology Terminology you may find helpful...
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When it comes to HR and payroll technology, there are several terms you may come across during your selection and/or implementation.
Not all of these will be familiar, at least not at first, so we've created a handy A-Z list of useful terms and phrases to help get you up to speed!
Simply click on the sections below to search for a particular word or scroll through this page for a description of what each term means.
You A-Z of HR and payroll technology terminology
ATS (Applicant Tracking System)
A solution to capture online applicant information and process them through the recruitment cycle.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. In other words, an API is the messenger that delivers your request to the provider that you're requesting it from and then delivers the response back to you.
Best of breed
A suite of independent software solutions that specialise in a niche area of expertise. Unusually the software is bound together by integrations, so that end users are able to utilise the best solution for the task, but with seamless data flow across the HR function. The alternative to a best of breed setup is a fully integrated solution. Please see our FAQ’s for the pros and cons to each approach.
BYOD (Bring your own Device)
A term used to describe the growing trend of employee-owned devices within a business such as
smartphones tablets, laptops and other devices. Many employers have policies that govern the use
of employee-owned devices in the workplace.
BPO Business Process Outsourcing
Business process outsourcing (BPO) is the contracting of non-primary business activities and functions to a third-party provider. BPO services can include all or some HR and payroll tasks. BPO is also known as information technology enabled services (ITES).
Business Intelligence (BI)
An umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimise decisions and performance.
Storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive or local server.
Employee Self-Service (ESS)
A web based interface that allows employees to handle many job-related tasks normally conducted by HR (such as benefits enrollment, updating personal information and accessing company information).
This terms reflects promoting a company, or an organisation, as the employer of choice to a desired target group, one which a company needs and wants to recruit and retain. Often a joint effort between the HR and Marketing teams.
A flat file can be used as a simple means of ‘integrating’ two business systems. A data file is extracted from System A, is temporarily stored on a server and then picked up and imported by system B.
HCM Vendor provides access to its software to be located and stored at a data storage facility; on the HCM Vendor’s servers. HCM vendor is responsible for infrastructure and software maintenance.
A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a software or online solution that is used for data entry, tracking and monitoring of an organisation's workforce.
The ability of your HR database to link to other business systems, such as Finance, Learning Management Systems, Applicant Tracking Systems and Performance Management systems. (See also Integrated HRIS)
Typically refers to software that allows Payroll, HR and Time & Attendance and possibly more functions to pass data between them without any re-keying of data or need for imports/exports. Typically done through the use of one data source (HRIS). (See also Unified HRIS solution strategy)
A software licence is a cost per user (employee, contractor, volunteer) to access the software. This is typically a recurring annual cost and is usually subject to inflationary increases for the length of the contract. NB. Review the contract terms to understand what the vendor defines to be an ‘Active User’.
Manager Self-Service (MSS)
A web-based interface that allows managers to handle many job-related tasks normally conducted by HR (such as time approvals, running reports, looking up information about employees).
A contract restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information.
HCM Vendor provides a licence to its software to be located and stored at a client’s location; on a client’s servers.
A contractual agreement between an employer and an external third-party provider whereby the employer transfers responsibility and management for certain HR, benefit or training-related functions or services to the external provider.
The consultancy services required to support the implementation of the software in scope. Ususally
costed in addition to the software licence
Predictive analytics models take patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify potential risks and opportunities, and predict future outcomes and trends for your business. For example the evaluation of how average employee tenure and development data may be coupled and used to predict employee turnover.
Request for Information (RFI)
A document an organisation sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit information about a product or service.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
A document an organisation sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit a bid for a product or service.
Request for Quote (RFQ)
A document an organisation sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit a quote for a specified project.
Return on Investment (ROI)
A means of measuring the benefit’s or financial gains from an investment in a HR system.
The degree to which a computer application or component can be expanded in size, volume or number of users served and continue to function properly.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
A software licencing and delivery model in which software is licenced on a subscription basis and is
centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software".
- see employee self service (ESS) & manager self service (MSS)
Single Source of Truth (SSOT)
Single source of truth (SSOT) is a concept that an organisation can apply as part of its information architecture to ensure that everyone in the organisation uses the same people data. When an organisation applies a SSOT approach, people data is entered once in a system of record (HR Database/ HRIS) and is then automatically shared with other necessary business systems, such as payroll, IT (for Active directory), Finance etc without re-keying, which is open to error and duplication.
Total Reward Summary
An employee document outlining the complete pay package they receive on an annual basis, including all forms of money, benefits, services and in-kind payments.
A ‘user’ typically defines an active record on a HRIS (regardless of how detailed or complete that record is) . Some vendors will also class leavers as active, so it’s always best to check the contract.
Unified HRIS solution strategy
A “Unified” HRIS solution strategy is one involving an end-to-end suite designed to manage the
entire life cycle of an employee within one integrated system.