Is it possible to modernize your outdated HR systems without breaking the bank and making it more scalable to the mainframe of your business? Until today, modernizing legacy applications such as outdated payroll systems or even an on-premise HRIS required a rip-and-replace initiative which can cost a lot of money and take a long time to implement.
Organizations today are looking to become more agile and get more flexibility in their HR systems. Frankly, they are just a bit tired of the expense and headache of some of the monolithic traditional HRIS software that’s out there. Industries need a hybrid cloud that focuses on integrating all their data into one space and that can provide all the flexibility that other systems don't provide. This won't completely replace legacy but will make it more manageable and get rid of the dependencies of constantly having to upgrade and deal with the inability to customize a solution that fits the end user.
When it comes to upgrading and scaling their HR tech stack, one thing that organizations are often concerned about internally but don’t talk a lot about among the industry is cost. With the HR technology space shifting and starting to introduce more cost-effective technology strategies, it’s time for it to be innovated seamlessly and get rid of the additional disruptive workload to have a fully-managed team.
What is a Legacy Application?
Any outdated software, technology, or language that an organization utilizes is referred to as a legacy system. Although a legacy application can continue to be employed and may even be critical to the organization, it comes with a slew of issues due to technology, architecture, or functionality that obstruct the business or IT.
The Problem with Legacy HR Applications
You know that your HR system is a legacy system when you start experiencing problems or challenges because of your outdated technology. These problems could include:
Increased maintenance and upgrading resources, including costs and time of web-services
Performance issues that prevent you from scaling your HR processes
Inability to adapt to changing employee/customer expectations
Your system no longer supports certain 3rd party applications or vice versa
Your technology is not able to continue adopting newer technology
Increased risk of data-security or compliance violations
Inevitably, rapid changes in the world of work combined with the fast pace of technological advancements will leave us with legacy systems in all departments including HR.
But there is a way to avoid this inherent inflexibility and lack of adaptability that we see in many HR systems today with many organizations dealing with data-management. Databases can be messy and unorganized and we have to learn how to adapt to new technologies and make them adapt to our business-process.
Why Modernize a Legacy Application?
In addition to avoiding all the problems that legacy applications can cause as outlined above, there happens to be a business case for modernizing instead of replacing or developing in-house systems. Modernization can avoid the constant deployment of information migration that has to be done if switched to other application softwares. This can be a great digital strategy and provide more of an elastic solution as all web applications can be on one platform without having to switch all information to completely different softwares or upgrading the current software.This will provide business agility as there can be a prioritization of important business goals instead of worrying of the data migration for business operations to function smoothly.
The first reason is change.
Most HR systems are in place for about six to seven years, and some are, of course, much older. Many of these systems still function and get the job done. But the world is changing in this new digital age, and employee expectations are not the same as they were when these legacy applications were integrated in your operating system.
In fact, 77% of employees are saying that they’re frustrated with their HR technology. That number alone should tell you that it doesn’t make much sense to implement a system that is designed to stay in place for a long time, but in less than a decade, it will once again become a legacy system. Therefore, systems should evolve incrementally with society to have the enablement of integrations that speak to employees and disrupt the typical service level that is now falling behind.
The second reason is cost.
On average, HR technology costs increase 24% per year. At the same time, the average number of applications used is increasing 59% every year. This means that HR teams need more systems to cover their needs and costs are increasing with little ROI in terms of capabilities.
And lastly, feature bloat.
A study found that only 80% of features within applications are actually used in everyday business processes. This is common among performance management modules for example. You might only need to use a basic performance rating and survey function, but instead pay for a module that does a lot more than you may need. In this case, you end up paying an additional cost per employee for something that’s not customized to your company’s needs. Optimization of all your tools should be a #1 priority as it can give you a competitive advantage by only paying for what you are using. By having a more personalized as-a-service software, it will rewrite your processes to one that fits you personally.
How to Modernize Your HR Systems
Until now, modernizing HR applications meant taking out your legacy system and deploying a brand-new, user-friendly system in its place. As we mentioned, this could get expensive and take a toll on your employees and HR teams. In addition to change management, you risk losing critical business and industry knowledge that come with years of using your legacy system. So, what’s the alternative?
You can keep your existing systems, such as payroll systems, time systems, certificate tracking systems, etc. and modernize them by giving them more functionality through a cloud solution. For example, you can add mobile access to things such as accrual balances or paystubs, create automated workflows, or create reports and dashboards. Luckily, you don’t need to buy a whole new suite of software to obtain system modernization.
In the next section, we will introduce an approach that is much more cost-effective, gives you more functionality and is flexible enough to fit your particular company needs: composable applications.
Introducing Composable Applications
Composable applications allows you to – hence its name – compose an HR system made up of multiple sources of information. These sources could include legacy technologies, new HR technology, or even other business applications that make up the employee experience.
The composable approach is a little different than what we are used to thinking of as an HRIS. In a traditional HRIS, you have one screen for a particular module and another screen for a different module. With a composable application, you can compose your own view using data from other applications and implement them into one single data-center that can be constantly modernized with application development or with the integration of new systems. This will get rid of the legacy modernization problem as you will be able to customize your solution with new or with your legacy applications.
For example, in an employee profile you may have a compensation page which displays data from a salary benchmarking service, hours worked from your timekeeping system, the salary history and performance scores. This can then be used for reporting and making merit-based salary increases, for instance.
This can be done by connecting all your systems and tools to a platform that centralized all your data and processes using APIs and smart connectors. These cloud applications will get rid of your existing legacy systems and the additional technical debt they bring.
This is the way that enterprises will deploy software through cloud architecture. Among several reasons, the most impactful is the flexibility and agility it enables in common business needs. It eases the pain of maintaining or replacing existing applications through a cloud-based solution that creates an open-source to automate everything by migrating all your information to a cloud platform while providing cloud services to your employees.
PeopleSpheres Smart Connectors
PeopleSpheres has designed a platform that centralizes an organization’s HR data and processes by connecting any tool to build a software environment that is cohesive, intelligent, and simple to integrate as a Saas solution.
Unlike data-connectors, which merely synchronize data, the smart-connector also considers the user experience by allowing data to flow in and out of the platform, keeping it up-to-date and creating a smooth employee experience without the costs of removing your legacy software.
If you are ready to start modernizing and migrating legacy, the smart way, PeopleSpheres may be the solution you need. Through this solution, there will be a better virtualization of what specific needs your company needs and be able to customize your applications to reach this scalability. Digital transformation is continuously evolving and it's necessary to be more centric in the roadmap to software development rather than maintaining legacy IT systems that may damage the core business leaving the company with additional security vulnerabilities as well.