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Open source HR software is software that is usually free to attain, but requires a business to have coding knowledge. There are a number of different open source HR software options available today.
Open source software is different to use than closed source software and has some advantages and disadvantages, but may benefit your company if it fits your needs and capabilities.
Open source software is free to attain and use, which may help to improve processes without putting strain on the organizational budget. If it is needed, support may be available at a cost, though it will be much less expensive than what an organization would pay for a full HRIS solution. Certain functionalities such as reports may not come standard with an open source HR software option, but these too may be available at an additional cost.
With open source HR software, you have control over your coding. This can be a pro or a con, depending on the expertise of your IT department and others within the organization. If issues occur, you don’t have to wait for a vendor to fix them, but you will have to put man hours into fixing them yourself.
You can make changes to the coding that will enhance the functionality of the system and make it work better for your company. This is never an option with closed source HR software.
You also don’t have to worry about a vendor going out of business or discontinuing your particular product due to decreases in demand. With closed source software, you may be forced to suddenly switch to a new HR software option and quickly scramble to put everything in place. With open source software, there is no vendor to get in the way and there is always a patch or upgrade that can be applied to keep the system humming along.
When you use open source HR software, you have to comply with the licensing terms for the specific features that you are using, which requires some degree of understanding of the legal terminology. Some vendors make it easier to understand and comply with the licensing terms, however. With closed source HR software options, these needs are taken care of by the vendor, which may benefit your company if you don’t have the time or know-how to deal with the licensing issues.
Some companies may consider it a plus to have a community available to talk about HR software, while others may not. Open source HR software communities are usually pretty active, with other users offering tips and tricks, sharing information about the product, answering questions, and writing blogs about different situations that have been encountered. When you acquire an open source HR software solution, you will also be expected to become a part of this community and share equally, which may be encouraging or deterring depending on the nature of your company.