Creating reports by gathering data through multiple software systems has always been a tedious and time-intensive task. In today’s connected world, the average U.S. company could have six or seven separate systems for storing and managing data. If those systems are not professionally integrated and automatically synchronized, collating and making sense of the data is difficult, if not impossible.
Usually, you’ll end up with a lot of disparate (or “dirty”) data. Dirty data can affect your whole payroll process. If information such as the total number of employees is held in different systems—say, a time and attendance system, a payroll system, and an HR system—when you come to create a report, there is no one single source of truth. Accurate and reliable integration and synchronization give you that one single source of truth.
For this to work, manual integration is simply not an acceptable option.
Dirty Data: A Case Study
A company is considering opening up an office in North Dakota. They don’t know whether they have to recruit internally or whether they have to hire from outside. Performance data for their employees is stored in one place, while another system holds information on whether that person is willing to move, the ages of their dependents, and various other pieces of information that might impact them moving to North Dakota. Meanwhile, information on employee skills is stored in yet another system.
Significant decisions on whether to go out and hire, or whether there is a pool of candidates internally that they can source from, must be made, but HR cannot provide the relevant report to the board of directors in a timely fashion. With dirty data, it could take someone up to six weeks to get that information by pulling it all together manually. Without an effective integration system, too many hours will be wasted making sure that data is the same in System A, B, and C.
The Fallout of Manual Integrations
In an example such as the one above, two people get blamed. First: the head of HR. Always. Then, the head of HR will turn around and point the finger at the vendors because integration or a specific feature function has been promised by the vendors but not delivered. If a vendor does not have the required functionality, they need to address it in integration with other products that do; they can’t leave their HR customer “holding the bag” on this. The only reason for the HR person being in this position in the first place is because nobody else in that whole infrastructure of vendors internally owns the project or the whole problem of integration.
Solving the Integration Problem
To get great reporting, you have to have full integration. It’s not as simple as just having one API talking to another API. APIs are nothing more than a list of data elements that feed the system. Between the two APIs lies all of the interoperability and all of the work that defines what the data means in each specific system.
The data may need to be extracted, translated, and perhaps verified it against a third system. That management of the data, from one system to the other, is what allows both systems to agree that the information is correct in any given scenario. After this process, the data is available for reporting correctly, regardless of what you’re using the reporting for.
Teaming with HR Professionals
Integration experts with HR experience aren’t rattled or alarmed by idiosyncrasies in the industry. They’re familiar with the software platforms commonly used to streamline data management and generate reports. There’s only one way to trust your software integration and that’s by partnering with HR software experts.