The primary goal of an Interact HRMS Implementation is the setup of Interact HRMS software to reflect the organization structure, operation, and its HR and Payroll policies to enable the end users to process HR Actions and transactions and to run the payroll for its employees. Such a setup needs to be conducted in accordance to specific quality standard including:
Timeliness – Keep in mind that the implementation is successful if it meets specific predefined timetable that meets the client and provider expectation.
Effectiveness – The implementation is successful if the outcome of the implementation is effective in a sense that it meets and exceeds client’s expectations in terms of capturing the organization structure and its policies and the ability to process all HR actions, leave, time and attendance and payroll transactions without major effort as well as enabling the client to comply with local, state, and federal labor laws and to comply with the required HR and Payroll internal and external reporting.
To achieve the implementation goals, we need to pursue the following objectives:
Project Scope – The project scope is defined by the Interact Software configuration as purchased by the client. Further, from a functional point of view, the scope of the functionality to be delivered to the client is as per software features described in the User Manuals of the software.
Planning and Milestones – A project does not exist if there is no well defined plan that includes the tasks and milestones that need to be achieved in order to accomplish specific goals. In the absence of a project plan, the project will be dragging and will never finish as there is no roadmap to follow, leading to an end. Thus, it is critical that the project has a plan before the commencement of the project. A Standard project implementation plan template is used to prepare the project plan. Additionally, and once prepared the project plan must be presented to the client, so that the client is aware of his responsibilities and the resources required from his side. Furthermore, the plan must be continuously updated to reflect the progress of the project.
Project Ownership and Management Support – Projects will only succeed, if there is a designated person from the client side who owns the project and drives it. Additionally, management support is a prerequisite, as there are occasions where policies need to be changed and management needs to make a decision on policy change. We must ensure that there is clear ownership of the project from the start as well as management support.
Project Stakeholders – A project requires a team of stakeholders, these are the user coordinators who are extremely knowledgeable of the organization policies and procedures and they are usually from HR and Finance Departments. The stakeholders play an important and critical role during the implementation and they need to be identified from the start of the project. Additionally, we need to present the role of the stakeholders during the project kickoff, so they will understand their commitment and their role and how much time they need to allocate to the project.
Set Expectations Upfront – The reason why HRMS implementations fail or are extremely delayed and contrary to other ERP applications such as Financial Systems, there is no HR or Payroll standard. Two companies within the same country or city may use different HR and Payroll processes and practices. This lack of HR and Payroll standards creates confusion as to how HR Actions should be processed. So what has evolved as someone’s idea of processing an HR Action becomes a policy. Interact HRMS is built based on HR/Payroll standards whenever such standards are available or using HR/Payroll Best Practices. It is therefore important that during the kickoff meeting to explain to the stakeholders that they need to carefully understand how Interact HRMS processes HR Actions, so that they can benefit from the standards and best practices encapsulated within Interact HRMS and not to mimic what they do manually.
Interact is a Shrink-Wrap Software – Project Stakeholders need to understand that Interact HRMS is a shrink-wrap application, not a Custom-Built Application.
Implementation is not Software Development – Interact Implementation consists of setting up the software in support of the client HR/Payroll Foundation, Policies, and Data. Interact HRMS is parameter driven, where these parameters or setup parameters are used to setup the system in support of the client HR/Payroll foundation and policies. We do not custom build the application as the application is already built.
Documentation – Documentation is the primary ingredient to software implementation in general and specifically enterprise software such as Interact HRMS. Thus it is critical and important to maintain a complete, accurate, and up to date documentation of the project and associated information throughout the project life. Documentation that needs to be maintained includes:
- Client Profile
- Project Plan
- Setup Spreadsheets – All versions including the plan ones sent to the client.
- All documentation received from the client
- Minutes of Meetings – All meetings must be documented.
- Weekly Progress Report
- Software Installation Form and Sign-Off
- Activation Key Sign-Off
- Implementation Notes
- Phone Minutes
- Project eMails
- Weekly Timesheet – To record the time spent on the project by activity and location.
- Training Schedules
- Setup Review and Sign-Off
- Process Validation Outcome by Process
- Process Validation Sign-Off
It is critical to understand that documentation is the most important tool in achieving a successful implementation. Documentation is used to record what is to be done, what has been done, what has been agreed on, what needs to be done, and to attest to the completion of specific milestones in the project life. Implementation consists of thousands of tasks, each of which requires specific information from the client. In the absence of proper and complete documentation, we cannot remember what needs to be done and when, and what is pending with whom. Implementation is all about organization and communication. And documentation is the most effective tool of being organized.
Understanding and Documentation of Client Foundation – The client foundation consists of the definition of the client business structure including the enterprise, employers(s), organization structure of each employer/company, Job Classification, employee groups, GL Structure, cost centers, and others. The setup of the foundation needs to be carefully assessed as it has many implications on the outcome of the implementation. If the foundation setup is wrong, it will have a cascading affect, and the whole implementation will need to be redone.
Understanding and Documentation of Client HR/Payroll Policies – As in the case of the foundation, we need to obtain and document the client policies as requested through the setup spreadsheets. The setup spreadsheets are used to collect the client HR and Payroll policies. It is critical that we spend ample time with the client stakeholders to explain to them the meaning of each policy that needs to be collected and the pertinent data. It is important that the client understands what data we need from them so that the data is provided once and there is no confusion.
Periodic Progress Review – Project progress needs to be measured through periodic review meetings and reporting. The progress review meeting and reporting should be done at the end of each week, to review the planned activities for the week, the accomplishments, and the delayed tasks/activities and reason for delay, and the action plan to correct to delays, as well as the planned activities for next week. A weekly progress report needs be prepared and submitted at the end of each work week.
Process and Transaction Validation – Process and Transaction Validation are the most important activities of the implementation cycle. They are used to validate the setup including the foundation and policies and the employees baseline data. Process and Transaction validation consists of developing a set of validation cases across the implemented applications and documenting the outcome of each validation transaction case, then processing each validation transaction using Interact and checking the outcome. In case of payroll validation, the payroll is run for a minimum of two payroll history months, and the payroll register from Interact is compared to the Client’s existing system payroll register to ensure that the outcome is the same. For types of processes such as Leave Processing, Hiring, Employee Transfer, Promotion, Termination, etc., each of these need to be defined and validation cases need to be prepared with the client, then each case needs to be validated using Interact. At the end of each process validation, we need to obtain the sign-off. Note that the stakeholders need to be involved in the validation process.
Change Control – During the implementation, a number of issues may be raised which will require issuing and applying patches. These patches create a change to the software. This change needs to be controlled and managed. The consultant is responsible for the change control, by first setting up an environment to implement a systematic based change control. The environment consists of a test environment and live environment. All patches need to be applied in the test environment before applying the patch in the live environment. Additionally, the consultant is responsible for maintaining the documentation of all patches as well as the patches and date and time when they were applied and the purpose from each patch. A change control form needs to be completed before applying the patch and after applying the patch.
Acceptance and Sign-Off – Interact implementation consists of 100s of tasks, which are grouped to achieve specific milestone such as Foundation Setup. After completion of each milestone, the stakeholders need to review the milestone, and a Sign-Off form need to be signed by the client. You as a consultant must ensure that all sign-off forms are signed on time, not at the end of the project. For each milestone completed, a sign-off form associated with the milestones must be completed and signed by the client no later than one week from presenting the milestone to the client.