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Integrating separate HR systems such as HRIS, ATS, LMS, and payroll has many advantages. The information can be easily imported and exported from one area to another and can be cross referenced on reports to help with decision making and pattern spotting in order to improve efficiency and drive dollars to the bottom line. Unfortunately, integrating disparate systems comes with a few challenges when it must be completed after all systems have already been implemented.
Integrating HR systems takes time and money that would ordinarily be used for other tasks within the organization. It can put a strain on regular business operations and can result in overtime pay or at least high levels of stress as workers are asked to complete integration tasks in addition to their regular daily tasks. Even with a well-thought out budget, the devotion of resources that is required to complete a systems integration after implementation has been completed can be taxing for the organization.
The HR systems being integrated are generally used by different departments within the organization. This adds a level of difficulty in integration, because these departments must learn how to work together, adopting or at least learning about the different systems and protocols used within the other department. Since people can be problematic and resistant to change, the integration between departments may be the hardest part of the integration to reconcile.
Since employees that had worked in departments that were basically separate entities before the integration must now coexist and communication, misunderstandings are bound to arise. There may be disagreements over the most effective way to accomplish tasks that must now be shared and there may be issues over data that one department enters in that now directly affects another department. Some team members may also fear the integration itself as a sign of downsizing or automating the work place, with the potential to cost jobs.
Some systems are not readily able to be integrated with other systems, so there may be glitches, delays, and even system failures after attempting to connect the systems. In some cases, it may not even be possible to integrate systems and it may be necessary to look into new vendors and software solutions. These technical difficulties can affect the accuracy of information and even payroll, which may cause issues with morale and compliance.
Even if the entire integration process goes smoothly and all systems begin working together well, some employees and managers may have difficulty adjusting to the new processes used to accomplish tasks. Errors may be made and frustrations may develop. It is important to offer support and focus on change management when integrating systems, just as when new systems are implemented.
Many integrating complications can be avoided by purchasing a HRIS system that covers most aspects of HR management or by integrating systems during the implementation of a new system. It is generally harder to go back and try to make systems work together that have been separate than it is to introduce a new system that takes care of all functions. If it is necessary to go back and integrate systems after the fact, take action to mitigate these challenges to make the process go as smooth as possible.