HR shared services is a strategy in which a business consolidates several of its HR expenses – software, hardware, services, insurance, and/or IT – in order to reduce costs without making sacrifices. It’s essentially the same concept as buying in bulk or bundling products to get a better deal.

HR shared services goes a long way to save a company time and money. However, it requires a level of interoperability and expertise that often results in vendor lock-in because typically only the largest companies have the products and experience required to offer such broad solutions.

And, what invariably happens is the 500-pound gorillas offering HR shared services find ways to nickel-and-dime you to the point that it only looks like you’ll save money before you buy. Then you get hit with all the fees for everything from hardware rental to support (I guess they took a few lessons from cable providers).

Of course, by then, it’s too late. After all, you already went all-in, got locked-in, and are already anxious at meetings with your CEO or CFO.

But don’t worry. This white paper will show you how to reduce HR costs by implementing an HR Shared Services plan – while avoiding potential pitfalls like vendor lock-in. Read on to discover sources for HR savings that actually improve your HR infrastructure, capabilities, benefit offerings, efficiency, and bottom-line.

Benefits of HR Shared Services

  • Reduce HR Departmental Costs
  • Reduce Vendor Management
  • Stop Paying for Redundant Features Between Systems
  • Shared Databases Reduce Data Entry Redundancy
  • Reduce Mistakes
  • Automate Processes
  • Increase Productivity
  • Save Time & Money
  • Offer Better Benefits at Better Rates
  • Increase Employee & Customer Satisfaction

HR Shared Services Planning: 7 Best Money-Savers

1. Bundle HR Software to Save

Consider all of your options when looking into HR systems software. Many companies offer software bundles which will take care of multiple HR systems needs. Shop around to find the right bundle at the right price to fit your company.

Each vendor will have a different set of core offerings. Include all HR managment software in your research, including employee time and attendance, scheduling, leave management, benefits, and more. The best HR shared service plans include 401k and insurance plans to bundle as many HR-related expenses as possible.

A comprehensive list is provided in the next section.

2. Consider Including Business Process Automation

When shopping for software, look for vendors that not only bundle HR software – but can also combine it with manufacturing or business process automation software whenever possible. This will save money, while also creating a consistency of systems throughout your company’s operations.

3. Combine HR, Payroll, & Operational SW (CRM, ERP, e.g.)

Consider company-wide purchases when developing your HR Shared Services plan. Among the offerings from software vendors are CRM and ERP tools which can help your company with different operational tasks. You may be able to find a vendor that’s able to combine the functionality of both software applications, allowing your company to save money by bundling while also ensuring a consistency in your business systems.

4. Buy Hardware & Software from the Same Vendor

Many HR software providers also offer the hardware you’re going to need to implement the solution. Purchasing both hardware and software from the same company will save money in the long run, and make repairs or inquiries with the company much easier. Buying from separate vendors would not only be more expensive, but would also risk incompatibility between hardware and software and inability to use important features of both.

5. When Integration or Labor is Required, Bundle with HW/SW Purchase

Adding integration services also helps you save money – and a great deal of time and hassle. Bundling installation with the purchasing of HR hardware or software will ensure correct installation from experts who are very knowledgeable about the products. Strain on your IT staff and implementation headaches will also be avoided with this HR shared services strategy.

6. Signup for Annual Support

Most hardware and software vendors offer support programs for customers. These programs will ensure proper support from field experts for much less than the cost of an on-the-spot repair down the road. This investment can be viewed as a type of insurance for your HR systems to keep them running smoothly – and protect you from costlier breakdowns in the future.

7. Choose Flexible Vendors that Customize Solutions to Fit You

It is important to find a vendor who is flexible and has the best interest of the customer in mind. The right vendor should be able to customize systems and software to fit your specific HR needs. This allows companies to run easily and efficiently without the cost or hassle of unnecessary services.

Planning HR Shared Services: Systems to Consider Including

  • Software
  • Payroll
  • Applicant Tracking
  • Onboarding / Training
  • Personal Information Management
  • Time & Attendance
  • Benefits Management
  • Scheduling
  • HR Management
  • Employee Self-Service (Employee Portal)
  • Leave & Time-Off Management
  • Performance Management
  • Manufacturing & Production
  • Administration, Analysis, & Reporting
  • Hardware to Support Your Software
  • Access Control Systems
  • Credit Card Scanners
  • Office Equipment & Printers
  • Fax Machines (Switch to Electronic Faxing)
  • Bell Ringing Systems
  • Guard Tour Systems
  • Networked Wall Clocks
  • 401k Management
  • Insurance Management
  • Tax Preparation

When considering the integration of HR shared services, choosing the software you need is the most important aspect. First, you will want to write out a list of all of the functions you would like this software to perform. If you do not have adequate knowledge of these software systems, research them online and find out exactly what these programs are capable of.

This will allow you to make a detailed list of tasks, and seek out the right type of software package to fit your needs. Business software can control anything from simple HR functions such as payroll to time and attendance to manufacturing automation. These complex systems, when taken advantage of, can save time and create great gains for your company.

Also consider SaaS (Software as a Service) instead of licensed software. This will allow continued support and increased availability, and usually costs less in the long-run. The only companies that truly benefit from purchased, licensed software are large companies with more than a few thousand employees.

Next, you want to make sure you have adequate hardware. Having a complex software system can be pointless if your hardware is not up to date. Make sure that your hardware supports all of the functions your hardware offers to take full advantage of its functionality.

Access control systems are another option to consider when employing HR shared services. Many HR services companies offer hardware that has options for access control. Utilizing these features can allow you to control who can have access to certain areas, or to secure your business as a whole.

When purchasing shared services for your company, you should ask the vendor what other products they offer. While upgrading your systems, you should be able to get deals on related products you’re currently sourcing elsewhere. Know the products your vendor carries and if they would be beneficial to your business.

Guard tour systems can give an added sense of security to your company. These systems ensure that security guards make their rounds correctly and at the right times by placing RFID checkpoints in various areas of a building. These transmit and record data from wands that the security guards have on them. Bundling these systems with your other HR-related services, again, will help you reduce costs.

Of course, it is essential for all of these disparate systems to “talk” to each other – to interoperate, provide real-time feedback, and ultimately help you reduce HR costs. Acumen, for instance, ensures the use of open standards in its comprehensive HR Management software suite so business can take full advantage of HR Shared Services.

Acumen’s solutions allow for a smooth transition and easy interoperability no matter the preexisting infrastructure. Open standards allows Acumen’s software to interoperate with nearly any type of hardware, software, database, device, and so forth – saving you money with every added level of synchronization.

HR Shared Services: Pitfalls to Avoid

Vendor Lock-in

When using HR shared services, be wary of a vendor lock-in. If buying most or all of your HR hardware and software from one company, make sure it’s one you can trust. You want to find a company with great products and even better customer service. Flexibility is also key to ensure all of your needs are satisfied. If you buy too many services from an unreliable company, you may lock your company into business with a vendor that will give you subpar products with no service to back them up.

Never-Ending Hardware Rentals

Another issue to avoid when dealing with hardware vendors is renting hardware for an indefinite amount of time. You do not want to rent time clocks for multiple months or years at a high rate. In most cases, purchasing these clocks would save money in the long run. Renting multiple clocks for extended periods can weigh down your budget with unnecessary costs.

Hidden Fees

Make sure there are no hidden fees within your rental contract. Some hardware rental companies may have fees they fail to mention, such as service, installation, or extended period fees. Know all of the potential fees regarding the hardware before you make the purchase.

Not Shopping Around

Lastly, don’t make the mistake of purchasing hardware or software from the first vendor you encounter. Do your homework, and find the right vendor for your needs and budget. When choosing the carrier for your HR Services, it could make a world of difference to your company’s systems’ functionality and profits. Know their products and services, and make sure they fulfill your needs.

The most successful HR shared service implementations are the result of careful planning and research. A few pointers for your search:

  • Ask Colleagues via LinkedIn or Facebook
  • Find a Forum that Discusses Software in Your Industry
  • Expand Your Search Keywords
  • HR Shared Services
  • HR Management Systems
  • HR Consolidation Services
  • Workforce Management Software
  • HR Outsourcing (Be Careful Here)
  • Business Process Outsourcing (Again, Careful)
  • Compare Features & Bottom-Line Pricing
  • Ask Vendors to List All Fees Associated with the Services You Want
  • Ask About All Required Hardware
  • Comparison Shop for Recommended Hardware & Negotiate with Your HR Vendor

Federal Open Standards Initiative & SIF Compliance

To help reduce the costs and complexity of the Federal Government’s IT and HR infrastructures, several initiatives have been announced that carry-forward the same “open standards philosophy” that Acumen follows as a best practice.

For instance, SIF Compliance works toward a goal much like HR Shared Services. The Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) is a way to ensure interoperability between disparate systems and software. As described by

“SIF is an initiative driven by K-12 education technology providers and educators to revolutionize the management and accessibility of data within schools and school districts. SIF is not a product, but rather an industry-supported technical blueprint for K-12 software that enables diverse applications to interact and share data regardless of the platform hosting the applications.”

Using SIF compliant software can be a great advantage for local and state education agencies. Software that is SIF compliant can communicate and share data from a single source. This allows schools to keep their student applications in sync without the need for duplicate entries. This translates into significant cost and time savings for schools around the world.

Acumen supports the spirit of such initiatives the same way we support openness in regard to communications and interoperability standards. If you’re concerned with the interoperability of your business systems, contact Acumen today to learn more about integrating a complete solution that supports open standards.

Saving with HR Shared Services: Final Thoughts

When having the knowledge to take advantage of the benefits and avoid the pitfalls, HR shared services can do great things for your company. Knowing what services you need, and the right place to get them, is half the battle. Find a vendor with great service that will have the best interests of your business in mind.

Your vendor should be a reliable business you can trust. The larger, 500-pound gorillas in the HR industry do not have the one-on-one time to make sure your organization’s processes are running without a hitch. Find an HR systems vendor who is willing to take the extra mile by customizing your software, replacing old hardware, and providing installation by industry professionals.

It is also important to bundle your hardware and software to save money on your new HR systems. Finding an HR systems vendor who also offers manufacturing and operational software can be beneficial when bundling purchases, as well. Although bundling will save business costs, be careful to avoid vendor lock-in.

Here at Acumen Data Systems, we emphasize our Open Standards and multiple hardware and software options, which enable any company to easily adopt Acumen products into their system. Acumen’s software packages allow the opportunity to implement HR Shared Services, reducing the time and money companies spend on unnecessarily complex software and hardware terminals. Open Standards enable Acumen to customize software to fit your hardware and specific business needs.

Acumen Data Systems has a wide range of hardware and software products available. Our experienced professionals can help you choose a hardware or software package to fit your company’s needs. Acumen can then customize your software and install your system personally. Don’t make the mistake of settling for confusing software and lackluster service. Call us at 888-816-0933 or contact us to learn more today.

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