Five benefits of HR system integration



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4 mins

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The days of manually entering and updating HR data in multiple systems should be over; here are five ways your organisation could benefit from integrating its people systems

When a new business challenge emerges, or your come across a shiny new piece of technology, it can be really tempting to dive straight into deploying new software without fully considering how that application will fit with your wider network of systems.

This means things can get extremely complex – and even out of control – very quickly. A 2017 study suggested that HR teams at large enterprise companies use 90 different systems to look after their people data. But systems that aren’t integrated can cause more problems than they’re intended to solve, because the time spent on manual data entry, and correcting data errors, increases rapidly. Here are our top five benefits of using integrated HR systems.

1. Improved data accuracy

Having the same data duplicated in several different – and unconnected – systems will inevitably lead to reduced data accuracy. Because data is often used to make strategic decisions, it needs to be accurate and consistent. If you are compiling reports from unconnected software – such as a people management system and time and attendance software – you risk carrying out analysis on information that’s wrong or out of date. Integrating these systems via API, and ensuring that your HR system is the single source of truth for your people data, will reduce the need for duplicate data entry, and minimise the risk of human error. 

2. Increased productivity

Our quest for higher productivity is seemingly near-endless, both in our personal lives and at work. But whereas we, as consumers, regularly review the software and apps we choose to use, and substitute them for ones that operate more efficiently or in line with our needs, at work we can be more cautious when it comes to replacing technology that’s no longer fit for purpose.

Choosing to take the best-of-breed approach to HR technology will only be successful if you integrate the systems you deploy: done correctly, HR teams and employees alike will benefit from using best-in-class software, driven by a central database. Done badly – without integrated software – taking the best-of-breed approach will result in data inaccuracies, duplicated effort, and time wasted on inputting, finding or collating data. 

3. Greater flexibility to choose the right software, at the right time

When you have a robust central people management solution in place – one that supports integrations with other third-party software – then you can start to procure specialist tools that help to solve immediate organisational challenges. You’ll be able to ‘bolt on’ these systems as and when it suits you, even swapping out providers as your needs and requirements change, and your organisation grows and evolves.

 4. Speedier decision-making

Through integrated systems, users will also be able to report on key metrics in real-time, and usually from any device or geographic location, too. This means you’ll be able to identify – and resolve – problems as they happen. Conversely, those areas of the organisations can be celebrated, and enhanced even further. 

5. You can introduce single sign-on

Our final benefit is actually one of the most immediate results of integrating systems: you can bring them under a single set of user credentials, and enable single sign-on. It’ll make it quicker and easier for users to access systems and switch between applications, and will reduce the drain on IT support time that’s incurred when users need their passwords resetting. You’ll also be able to manage access levels more quickly, and rapidly deactivate access to multiple systems when a member of staff leaves your organisation, improving data security.

Strategic, security and efficiency benefits should all be part of your business case for integrating HR, L&D and business applications

This article was first published in November 2017. It was updated in October 2019 for freshness, clarity and accuracy.