Using point solutions versus traditional HR information systems could help your team run more smoothly — but they could also be limiting and costly.
In some ways, HR teams are only as effective as their tools. Of course, that’s not entirely true; HR teams are well-trained, highly skilled professionals who know the ins and outs of their career opportunities. In years past, before things digitized and developed, this wasn’t the case at all. However, these days, without the software and the systems to make protocols run smoothly, HR managers cannot do their jobs properly or efficiently. The software they need will likely fall into one of two categories: integrated solutions or point solutions.
A point solution is an HR system tailored to a specific function. They offer robust support for one or two issues but don’t boast much beyond that. They are extremely useful for helping efficient teams polish their approaches and beef up certain processes.
HR point solutions help improve efficiency within teams, but they may not be for everyone.
Then you have integrated solutions, which boast a broader set of functions. On the flip side, due to their more specialized nature, point solutions may not integrate well with other HR tools. That means that if you are after handy software that features every HR bell and whistle you’ll ever want or need, point solutions are not your best option. You need something more comprehensive, such as a human resources information system (HRIS). An HRIS is an example of an integrated solution.
How to tell a point solution from an HRIS
Any time you see the words “all-in-one,” “comprehensive,” or “all-purpose” in reference to an HR tool, you’re looking at an HRIS. There are tons of them out there, so sifting through them can be overwhelming. Zenefits is an excellent example with full-service payroll, time management tools, software setup, and more. It offers everything HR teams need to function on one convenient platform, which disqualifies it from being classified as a point solution.
There is more than one kind of HRIS. Common types include:
- Employee information systems, which keep track of all your employees and allow managers to note progress, monitor numbers or behaviors, etc. It’s essentially a bird’s eye view of your employees, but with more detailed information.
- Applicant placement systems, which allow managers to make more informed decisions about which candidates they can start moving through the process and which ones need to be weeded out. These are important for vetting. These systems are proficient at flagging unqualified applicants, pointing out potentially good fits, and helping employers view how many people have applied to their job posting.
- Government reporting and compliance systems, which help HR teams follow federal and state regulations. This is important for creating a federally compliant workplace.
- Position control systems, which are a bit similar to task managers in that they manage tasks, assignments, jobs that each employee is working on. These help ensure productivity and accountability, as well as allow managers to see who’s on time with their work and who is behind.
Point solutions, on the other hand, have uses as varied as the responsibilities and tasks of an HR manager — such as payroll, onboarding, etc. There are point solutions for any HR function you could possibly need.
The benefits of point solutions
If you are assembling an HR team or switching to another HRIS, you need to be aware of point solutions. Because point solutions are created with specific problems in mind, they have the potential to be more useful than if they were simply a feature on an HRIS. For example, a point solution solely designed to streamline payroll will probably be better, more robust tech than a payroll feature on an HRIS.
Point solutions are created with specific problems in mind, so they can be more useful than if they were simply a feature on an HRIS
Another benefit of point solutions that often get overlooked is the fact that they are updated frequently. Niche software is less time-consuming to tweak than a robust platform, so new versions are rolled out far more often. This could be valuable for teams wanting to grow and improve alongside this software.
The biggest case against point solutions is the limited nature of what it offers. The reality is that bigger or newer teams needing all-in-one software will probably gravitate toward an HRIS. And why wouldn’t they? It allows for a unified HR process right from the get-go and minimizes manual entry of personal information. It’s making HR teams more productive and more efficient than ever. The upfront cost may be significant, but the long-term benefit and functionality of a powerful HRIS are things managers may find worth the price tag.
Point solutions vs. HRIS
One of the biggest issues HR managers face is determining whether to keep using point solutions or to switch to an HRIS. At first, switching to an all-in-one HR platform may seem like the way to go. And who knows? It might be. However, there are two strong reasons to give this careful thought. The first reason is that a point solution just isn’t as disruptive to your current protocols. It can’t be, because it doesn’t require you to replace your processes entirely.
Introducing best-in-class HR software that solves or streamlines the single issue you’re having is usually a better business decision than shelling out for an HRIS that you’ll then have to train your entire team to use. Basically, if a point solution smoothes out the one wrinkle holding your HR team back, then there’s no reason to splurge on software that would likely just complicate the process.
Cons of relying on point solutions
It’s in your company’s best interest to consider all avenues and be intentional about what kinds of tech you use for your HR processes.
As great as point solutions can be, they aren’t designed to have more than one or two functions. If your HR processes are just a combination of several different point solutions, you may not be going about it in a cost-effective way. In fact, going this route can actually end up being far more expensive than an HRIS. Again, though, this is only a con if it doesn’t fit what your company needs. It could just as easily be the thing that takes your HR management to the next level. It really is a case-by-case thing.
Why choose point solutions
The presence or absence of point solutions can mean the difference between a successful HR team and a failing one. A good point solution (e.g., a piece of software or a solid solution) will help you address issues efficiently. An HRIS is best implemented sooner rather than later in your company’s development because that way you don’t need to make a jarring switch after your team has learned or grown accustomed to one software. An HRIS helps reduce the number of administrative tasks your HR team takes on. This by itself is enough to get a manager’s attention.
It’s in your company’s best interest to consider all avenues and be intentional about what you use for your HR processes. It’s just as important to stay current on:
- What kinds of tech are coming out
- How they’re improving on old software
- How these developments are relevant to your team.
Choosing the wrong software can cost you time, energy, and money, all of which are incredibly valuable resources for every professional.