Preparing for HRMS vendor selection: Homework that pays off

Choosing an HRMS vendor need not be a long, frustrating or expensive process. Conducting some simple homework can reduce the stress. But, where to start?

Unless you’ve always been focused on HR technology, you will likely find that it has become increasingly difficult to wade through the volume of often conflicting technical jargon and self-serving vendor options.

The Web sites highlighted here serve as a starting point to help build confidence in selecting an appropriate HRMS vendor.

Considering using a consultant…

This is the homepage for frequent Canadian HR Reporter contributors Al Doran and Ian Turnbull’s book Human Resource Management Systems: A Practical Approach, but there are also a number of useful PowerPoint presentations on everything from needs analysis to return on investment to design and development. (Click on “Resources for HRMS Instructors” from the left navigation bar on the homepage.) There are also a number of useful articles on this site. For example, for HR practitioners considering using a consultant, Doran provides an informative, and minimally biased, view into some of the critical selection issues in an article (originally published in CHRR) at
webstart/doran1031.pdf (or click on “Press Room” from the homepage).

A self assessment of HR system needs

Despite its vast amount of product information, system vendor PeopleSoft also provides a series of tools to help conduct a cursory needs analysis and a means to calculate return on investment of implementing an HRMS system. Working through the tools found on this site helps to prepare for the kinds of questions that senior management and vendors ask (click on “Assess.Needs” from the homepage).

Canadian HR system vendor listings

A comprehensive list of HRMS vendors with products for the Canadian market can be found on CHRR’s own Web site. From the home page select “HR Guide,” and then “Technology/HRMS” to find both vendors and consultants. Detailed system functionalities can be found in CHRR’s Guide to HR Technology, which subscribers receive free twice a year, with the next one included in the March 10 issue.

Professional vendor selectors

Last year, Gartner, one of North America’s 10 most quoted research houses, held a conference entitled “Selecting an HRMS vendor — Finding the Best Fit.” In fact, Gartner has a group of professionals who do nothing but develop tools to help simplify vendor selection (the Decision Tools for Vendor Selection Group).

As a result, it comes as little surprise that the content-rich site has some very practical and affordable white papers such as Evaluation Criteria: Large-Enterprise HRMS Magic Quadrant (2002) which delves into Gartner’s preferred method for evaluating vendors.

HR systems in small organizations

This article on HR information systems in small companies is a few years old but many of the insights are timeless. “A key point to remember when first implementing any system is not to over-promise. Doing so will hurt your cause and result in managers bypassing HR as a source of valuable information.”

A. Brown is president of Write On The Money — business writing and communications that drive your audiences to take the actions that you want. For more information, visit

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