A crucial part of the system selection journey for HR and payroll professionals is to identify the requirements that your desired solution can meet. This can be a time-consuming process, involving multiple stakeholders within the business but it is the basis for any great system selection process.
In the first part of this mini-series, I offered my advice for creating the business case when looking into system selection and here, in part two, I present my top tips for the requirement gathering process:
1- Start with the high level
Starting from a high-level perspective might seem obvious but not doing so is a common pitfall I have observed in many selection projects. The initial starting point for your conversations needs to include:
• What is in scope? Are we looking for Core HR, Payroll, ATS, LMS, engagement, performance management and collaboration tools or a smaller subset of these?
• When does the new solution need to be implemented by? Is there a burning platform, a contract due to expire or a business need to change?
• Who are the stakeholders that need to be involved in the process? (Don’t forget to add employees and managers to this list!)
• Technical considerations – who will host the product and is Cloud an essential requirement?
• What do you want from reporting and analytics?
• Which other systems do you need the new solution to integrate with?
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2 – Now get into the detail
The easiest way I have found to manage the requirements elicitation process is to run through the people processes in the organisation and identify what your ‘perfect’ process would be. Think about the following:
- New hires and onboarding
- Contractual changes
- Case management
- Performance management
- Absence management
- Learning processes
Defining the perfect processes for your organisation holds massive benefits in terms of being clear about your business requirements, whose requirements they are and who the business owners are of those particular requirements. If you add those processes into swim lane diagrams this also helps to determine the security requirements later in the process and answers the key question: ‘who does what for suppliers?’.
3 – Include market engagement
A real top tip from me is to hold market engagement sessions – your initial attempt at the requirements gathering may be limited by the knowledge of what is available out there in the market. You might not think, for example, to include any chatbots or AI in your processes. Market engagement helps to solidify your views on the requirements and is a great way to benchmark if your requirements are realistic or too demanding.
4 – Don’t forget cost is a requirement
Something often forgotten but if you have a specific budget envelope, ensure that this is listed in your requirements, e.g. The total cost of ownership over three years cannot exceed £x.
5 – Be visionary but also realistic
This might seem like an oxymoron, but it is worthwhile considering. Your requirements should be aspirational in terms of new technology and adapting innovations that suppliers have to offer, but also be realistic about what you can achieve now and what you want to hold back for the future. If your requirements are to devolve all employee administration to employees and their line managers but you don’t currently have a basic self-service offering, then consider the cultural shift that the business will need to undergo to meet the requirements. Don’t be afraid to have phase one requirements and then phase two requirements and be clear with suppliers what you want to happen and when in your requirements document to ensure they can quote accurately.
The requirements gathering process is always an interesting time in the project, using the market engagement to really pin down the detail of your actual requirements helps to provide clarity and transfer knowledge to those tasked with making the final decision on systems. Involve the subject matter experts in your team and never forget our old mantra – buying new people technology is the role of the HR team on behalf of the whole organisation, so don’t forget to include them in the process.
If you are embarking on a new system selection project, download our full e-book here on the 12 steps to technology success, and visit our wealth of resources in the resource hub. You can also get in touch with our expert to see how we can help with implementing HR software and systems.
This blog has been written by James Proctor, Director of Consulting & Services at Phase 3.