There is some strong rhetoric surrounding HRIS and their ability to address and/or solve many of the problems that HR and their organisations are experiencing. We are familiar with the ideas that: HRIS can automate many routine functions; they can free up time for the HR function to conduct more strategic activities; and that it can also enable the HR function to transform into a strategic business partner. Despite the power of these ideas and arguments, the picture painted by many organisations is one that differs from this greatly. More and more horror stories of IT implementation projects are being shared as the reality of strategic uses of the HRIS fail to be realised.
Processes associated with obtaining and inputting data is seen as one of the primary reasons why the dreams associated with the HRIS are not being realised. A recent article in WorkForce Management titled "When HR IT Goes Bad" shares the story of the Los Angeles Unified School District who are presented as a case to learn from. It is stated that almost everything that could go wrong with the organisations human resources payroll upgrade did. The story presented resonates with other articles of this nature, however one important point is made that I want to share. The author argues that 'Computer systems are only as good as the data they have to work with, so if a public agency or company starts out with bad information, there's not much a new system can do about it.'
This again raises issues regarding the limitations of HRIS. The system in and of itself can not address and solve issues within an organisation. Individuals, as the human capital assets of the organisation are responsible for the collection, input and then use of the data. Does this mean then that data is one of the most important components of the HRIS, or the most important component?