The Value of Optimisation in HRIS

Author: Gavin Buttimore, Senior Consultant at BDO Eaton Square.


When the time comes to review a HR system, HR leaders around the world constantly find themselves asking the same questions:

  • Do we hold onto the system that has served us well?; or
  • Do we move to a newer system with additional features?

This is a situation faced by not just HR leaders, but something we all encounter in our daily lives. Take the example of a car owner when the car that has been performing so well over the past number of years, starts to experience issues. The owner must make a decision on whether to re-service the car, or simply purchase a new one. In most scenarios, the car owner will repair the car i.e. enhance what he has rather than purchase the latest model.

There is a solution in front of you

As more and more software products enter the market it can be difficult for HR leaders to stick with the same system. However,  instead of going out to the market for a new software, HR leaders must work with their software partners and extract real value from their technology.  

Your HR software provider is constantly working to create new products, and make the existing products easier to use and more efficient. Often the answer to our problems is right in front of us.

How did I get here?

HR leaders must question the steps they took to get to the current position. Digital Transformation and data analytics are a driving force behind HRIS optimisation; but putting this aside, HR leaders must consider the key stakeholders in the business and look at how the HRIS system engages with these stakeholders.  For example,  from an employee perspective,  does the HR system engage with our employees?

In today’s digital era, your HR software must engage with your employees. Modern day employees want to be able to access and update their own personal information and HR information in real time.

Other key stakeholders including the management team and the HR department should also be considered in the decision making behind a digital transformation. Management want to move away from the mundane traditional tasks and focus on receiving up to date, interactive data about their team, its performance and analyse trends in their HR data.

The HR Department, who are traditionally back office and task orientated, are now required to be a centralised department supporting each business team. This involves moving away from the traditional tasks such as payroll and other admin heavy tasks that have dominated the HR professional world.

There is an expectation being placed on HR today to be more centralised and an extension of each team. Previous back office tasks have now moved to include Recruitment, Learning and Development and Employee engagement.

In order to improve employee engagement and develop a winning workplace culture, the HR department must be at the forefront.  HR leaders must question if their current software can facilitate and support the new direction HR is being asked to take.

With HRIS optimisation, HR can lead the way in making better decisions to improve recruitment, retention, and performance of employees.

Step 1 - The health check

A health check is the starting point in the optimisation process and the purpose is for the subject matter expert to take the goals and initiatives of the HR leader and review the current configuration, processes and data. At BDO Eaton Square, our subject matter experts can help HR leaders begin this process, issuing a report outlining how the goals can be achieved using their current software.

Upon completion of the health check, HR leaders often find themselves with a long list of measures to optimise the software. This is the most important part of the optimisation process and triggers the conversation around costs and budgets. Failure to get this decision right may lead to HR leaders finding themselves back at step 1 in a year or two. As Einstein said, “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution”.

HR leaders can apply this same thought process and consider if the decision benefits the organisation, the people and ultimately represents what the company stands for culturally.

Step 2 - Talk to your provider

Your software provider plays an important role in your optimisation of your HR Software. It is vital you engage with them from an early stage and remain honest at all times. Explain the direction you want your HR function to go and be up front in your objectives.  This will help you to realise the true value of optimisation.

Your HR provider understands your process, your people, your business and the environment you operate in. You started the journey with them so why not continue to build on this relationship and leverage the established support network.

Step 3 - The decision phase

Before deciding upon what optimisations to make; ensure that the changes align with business objectives.

If the business objective is to have a software that is engaging - then the implementation measures must include the rollout of employee self-service and contain a user interface that is easy to use and inviting. It is also vital that the objectives for optimising your software align with the IT measures.

Step 4 - The final hurdle

Once you have chosen the correct HRIS measures, the final and most important stage begins -The delivery stage. Here, we discover how the business is optimising the current software to meet our new objectives i.e. creating an engaging HRIS software.

As with any change, you will encounter some resistance. It is important to prepare the business and employees for this change by providing training on the new software and support post go live.

The aftermath – The winning feeling

Similar to the car owner leaving the garage with a repaired and enhanced car, the HR leader can feel pride in having delivered on the business objectives by working with their current HR provider. Rather than going out to the market for a new software, the HR leaders worked with the software partners to extract real value from the software.

In the tech space, we call this HRIS optimisation - HR leaders working with their existing HR software provider to meet new business objectives without having to change software provider.

At BDO Eaton Square we can offer advisory services for companies that are realigning their existing HR and Payroll processes. In addition, we have a team of experienced and qualified consultants who are available for short- and long-term projects or BAU support to facilitate companies who need immediate additional resources.

If you would like more information on any of our services, please contact:

or visit our website.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author and whilst this blog has been carefully prepared, it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. 

The above insights cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this blog or for any decision based on it.