“It is – what it does”

My fellow HR Technologists, continuing in my admiration of AMC’s TV series “Halt and Catch Fire” – about 1980’s PC startups – the group that reverse engineered an IBM PC to market a “portable” PC (less than 15 pounds!) – see my previous blog post – “The Thing” – I witnessed a scene in a later episode that had a line of dialogue that caught my attention.

In the show, the cool female savant “coder’ Cameron, the girlfriend of the main character Joe – the visionary sales guy behind the entire plot line,  leaves a chunk of concrete on the bed besides a napping Joe. He awakens and asks “what is that?” She says it is a “piece of the Hoover Dam” (they are attending the Las Vegas based Comdex – 83” trying to sell their prototype portable PC model). Cameron responds to Joe’s  “Why?” by stating: “I like it, it does what it does. It is simple, no wires, no switches, a form with one function – it is – what it does”.

I again found myself thinking about our world, my professional world of HR technology and my familiarity of the many multi-function HRIS / HCM or HRMS solution providers that I interact with daily.  All of whom offer a full spectrum of integrated HR, Payroll, Benefits functionality, along with many other functions such as Time and Attendance,  Performance Management, Talent Management, etc. that fall under the realm of the overall function called Human Resources.

As we know, these products are usually effective and supportive of the goal of any company (and especially the function of HR seeking to become more strategic) in influencing the effectiveness and efficiency of many aspects of the operations of the organization.

HR Technology that provides features and functions including portability, Employee and Manager Self Service (ESS/MSS), workflow, metrics and dashboards are now making a significant impact on the workforce with proven benefits and (hopefully) improved company financials.

However, in recent weeks I have had the opportunity to turn my attention to the  “niche” or “best of breed” HR technology providers. These vendors offer functionality whose product strength is focused and specific – aimed at doing one function or one thing superbly. “It is –  what it does” seems to apply here.

I have come across two such HR technology vendors: Archive Systems – for Document Management and HRTMS for Job Description Management. Both these “niche” vendors (who do not claim to be a comprehensive HCM solution) offer the best (that I have seen) functionality and workflow in their respective specialty functional HCM solution.

Here is some information and my perceptions about each.

Both Archive Systems and HRTMS offer cloud-based solutions with supportive integration via interfaces into most of the traditional HRIS/HCM “system of record” systems (such as Oracle/PeopleSoft, Ultimate, and ADP etc.)

Archive Systems (www.archivesystems.com) with their product called “FileBRIDGE for HR” gives HR professionals the ability to find and share HR and employee documents securely, while ensuring compliance with policies and regulations.

“FileBRIDGE for HR” streamlines HR processes, including onboarding, transfers, annual reviews and certifications, and oversight audits.  Their system automates HR document workflows, and monitors employee files to check for completeness, and sends alerts about missing documents or needed upgrades for a document within a function.

The product eliminates multiple data entry, and streamlines document handling.

“FileBRIDGE for HR” is a collaborative environment that creates a single repository of documents that is accessible to anyone with the proper authority.  easy to share securely with internal and external stakeholders.  “FileBRIDGE for HR” delivers controlled, secure links that are fully auditable and automatically expire.

The functionality provides workflow to deliver automatic notifications and control the process of updating expiring documents such as certifications and policy acknowledgements.  Additionally, support for mobile applications and web based access from anywhere will help any organization stay in compliance with Federal and Foreign regulations regarding privacy, retention, notifications and financial/operations audits.

HRTMS (www.HRTMS.com) delivers a strong software solution to any mid to large size organization seeking to build, maintain and administer detailed job descriptions – for any job you can think of.  Their approach is called “Job Description Management”. Their solution, “HRTMS Jobs” allows users to utilize their own content, or extract job description language from HRTMS’ own content library. They utilize a parent / child concept that takes “parent job descriptions” as the origin text for related jobs in the same job family. They fully use Dept of Labor’s Occupation data base that is updated regularly. Skills and competencies at all levels associated with parent/child job descriptions are provided.  Peer group collaboration and tracking of all “experts” who contribute comments or changes to any job description are tracked to assure continuity.

HRTMS provides integration with most recruitment, performance management, compensation planning HRMS systems.

I learned during my review and in discussions with executives at HRTMS, that accurate, up-to-date job descriptions provide the best evidence when supporting a company’s FLSA and compensation processes, practices, and decisions. Oftentimes a company’s job descriptions are viewed as a decisive factor in resolving employee discrimination, wage and hour and equal pay lawsuits.

“HRTMS Jobs” also provides access to market data, salary range, job evaluations, and budget responsibilities within the job description parameters.

“HRTMS Jobs” allows employees to view and sign-off on their validated job descriptions.  Employees can also indicate if their specific job description is inaccurate or outdated, allowing the company to initiate a revision process with the appropriate stakeholders like the hiring manager and the compensation team.

So, both HRTMS and Archive Systems are two vendors whose offerings are well worth a look and whose mission and goals align with those of any comprehensive HRMS in use.

Archive Systems and HRTMS offer capabilities that seem as solid as the chunk of concrete left at the side of the lead character in “Halt and Catch Fire”. Both of these vendors are fully in support of the intent of the comment “it is – what it does”.


August 18, 2014