Competition is the hallmark of the modern marketplace and facilitating the availability of information has become the tool with which to develop a competitive edge. As a result, the area of human resource information system has been enjoying enormous demand in the US. The popular drive to adopt human resource information systems comes from the need to develop a position of cost leadership. Because the human resource information systems facilitate the availability the information, it reduces costs of operations at the companies adopting the methods. However as the products and services of the five companies profiled here show, these systems, in addition to making the necessary information available, also automate some of the repetitive HR functions.
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As the profiles also demonstrate, the human resource information system is not just a question of automation, it is also a question of partnering with HR consultants to outsource tasks to more capable hands. For example, client organizations can outsource their payroll processing tasks to Paychex so that these organizations can free up resources to devote to strategic management.
The question as to why human resource functions were among the first among business functions to be automated is easily answered. Relative to other business functions, the human resource functions have a more structured framework. For example, the function of payroll processing does not vary from time period to time period. Thus it is a waste of human talent to have human capital spending time in this area. In fact, due to the repetitive nature of the tasks of this sort, human error is all too likely. That is the reason companies like Trident are offering total human resource solutions built on a platform of integrated technologies so that the part of a human resource that is repetitive can be left to the digital prowess of computers. This frees up employee creativity and develops more human capital, giving the companies a competitive edge. However, human resource management is not all repetitive. The task of strategic human resource management is the motivation of employees and that cannot be automated. However, CheckPoint has a solution in this area in the form of self-service applications for employees and managers. Using these applications, the employees, and the managers can answer their own questions. Thus this is a very good empowering tool. Using these applications, the employees, and the managers can also evaluate different company benefits on their own and enroll as they see fit. Administaff offers a different business model according to which the company partners with client organizations to share HR functions. This is of strategic importance to the client organizations because, by outsourcing HR functions, these organizations can focus on their core competencies and thus further hone their strategic focus.
When it comes to adopting a human resource information system, the management of the organization contemplating this move has a major investment in its hands. Therefore it has to conduct an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis which will indicate whether the benefits of adopting the system will outweigh the costs. Automation does not always pay off because the process of adoption is out of alignment with the strategic focus of the company. Therefore the management has to make sure that it is automating the human resource functions not just for the sake of automating, but for a greater focus of resources on management of strategies for developing a competitive edge. Maintaining competitive edge means that the client organization will continue to change in terms of its work processes. At some point in its operations, the management might have to automate supply chain management as well. In that case, the human resource information system already existing must be integrated into the supply chain management system. Otherwise, the company will end up with two different systems maintaining which will be prohibitive in terms of cost. Therefore if I were the management in the market for HRIS, I would want to know from the vendors whether the systems they are selling are flexible and scalable to accommodate different organizational structures.
Key products and/or services provided: The company provides payroll processing services which allow client organizations to submit their payroll details via phone or the web to local payroll specialists in the employ of Paychex. At the end of each period, Paychex sends payroll packages containing all processed checks to the client organizations. The company also helps clients in the area of tax services and administration of employee benefits.
Customer profile: the products and services described above are customized towards both small organizations with 49 or fewer employees and large organizations containing 50 or more employees.
Indications of organization size: The company has offices all over the US and also in Germany. Currently, it is serving approximately 561,000 businesses all over the US.
Brief company history and background: It was founded in 1971. At the time there had been other payroll processors in the market. However, none of them had been paying attention to smaller organizations with fewer than 100 employees. Yet these organizations constituted the majority of American businesses.
The primary focus of operations: To offer outsourcing solutions for administrative tasks so that client organizations, both large and small, can free themselves of administrative hassles and focus on the bottom line.
Recent financial performance: revenues in the year 2007 exceeded $1.9 billion.
Key products and/or services provided: Administaff is a professional employer organization that in the form of strategic alliances with client organizations offers services in the areas of training and development, employer liability management, benefits and performance management, recruitment and selection, government compliance and employment administration. Administaff also has an e-business model which facilitates the availability of information.
Customer profile: the company provides these services mostly for white-collar and skilled blue-collar workers in industries where unemployment risks are low, such as technology, engineering, real estate, light manufacturing, banking, insurance etc.
Indications of organization size: The company has 47 offices in 23 markets and is publicly traded on the NYSE.
Brief company history and background: the company was established in the year 1986 in April. The current chairman and CEO is Paul J. Sarvadi. In 2003, Administaff was named in Fortune’s Most Admired American Companies for the fifth consecutive year.
The primary focus of operations: Sharing of human resource management with the client organization in the form of a co-employment relationship.
Recent financial performance: 2006 revenues: $1.4 billion.
Key products and/or services provided: The company has a Total HR services model with which it helps client organizations develop not only effective human resource information systems but also helps them build those systems on the platform of integrated technologies.
Customer profile: Trinity offers services in three industries: technology, financial services, and professional services.
Indications of organization size: Trinity is part of General Atlantic company portfolio and has strategic alliances with Oracle, Fidelity Investments, Accolo, and SuccessFactor.
Brief company history and background: Martin Babinec founded Trinity in 1988 with money from friends and family. By 1995 it had reached Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing privately held US companies. In 1995 it was included in the magazine’s hall of fame.
The primary focus of operations: Trinity's mission is to speed up and simplify HR operations so that employees in their client organizations have more time to focus on strategic management.
Key products and/or services provided: At the heart of CheckPoint’s offerings is the development of a human resource information system that empowers employees and managers by giving them self-service facilities. Self-service allows the employees and the managers to answer their own questions and enroll in different programs and benefit plans. The services are focused in the areas of payroll processing, recruiting, training and HR outsourcing.
Customer profile: CheckPoint works in association with CPAs, HR consultants, banks, insurance brokers and financial planners. The company works with clients with an employee base from ranging from 50 to 5000 people.
Indications of organization size: CheckPoint is currently serving 35,000 worksite employees.
The primary focus of operations: Facilitating HR business process outsourcing.
Key products and/or services provided:
Customer profile: Small and mid-size professional employer organizations.
Indications of organization size: PayStaff offers services in the areas of Payroll processing, benefits administration, HR, risk management and recruitment. In these areas, PayStaff works in association with professional employer organizations so that it can address the HR functions of the client organization. The company can perform functions based on the traditional model or it can develop the technology to automate the routine functions as applicable to a particular organizational structure.
Brief company history and background: The company started operations in 1994. At the time it was offering services solely in payroll processing and benefits administration. But then subsequently through the formation of several strategic alliances, it diversified its services to encompassing all the major HR functions.
The primary focus of operations: Helping client organizations outsource routine business functions to PayStaff.
Recent financial performance: In 2004, company revenues were $532 million.
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