October 2021

As an HRMS has such a wide impact on the organization, the deployment thereof is usually met with trepidation and can be challenging to all stakeholders.   Yet with solid preparation (and some tenacity), strategic planning, and internal collaboration companies can drive maximum business impact from their HR investment.   However, a trusted partnership with a well-qualified implementation vendor organization will be the single most important factor to ensure successful HRMS deployment.

The journey begins with choosing the core HR platform (HRMS) that best fits your organization’s needs.  With innovative technology becoming increasingly accessible to Companies, they now can select vendors that provide agile and flexible solutions around their workplace requirements.  While significant effort goes into assessing and selecting the right vendor for implementation, companies need to remember the ‘back to basics’ principle when choosing an implementation partner.  Get references where the vendor has done similar industry deployments and built a  track record. As the saying goes,  “past experience predicts future performance.”  Research has shown the size of the partner organization itself isn’t as important as is their applicable experience.

gulfHR has taken the key insights gained over more than a decade of diverse implementation experiences and summarized what we consider to be vital for a successful HRMS implementation.  

gulfHR’s Nine Success Dimensions for Implementation

1)   Executive Sponsorship and Governance

Although every textbook drives this argument, we believe that a considerable amount of knowledge transfer and tacit understanding of the HRMS happens along the course of the deployment.  If the executive sponsor is directly involved in digesting and assimilating this information it significantly increases the likelihood of a successful project outcome. Senior management sets corporate direction, and an HRMS is the driver to align HR with those objectives, it is sensible that early strategic direction will parallel company goals with the HRMS capability.  A further benefit is that Executive Sponsorship can ensure the overall standardization and consistency that is needed to ensure a clear vision of the HRMS.

2)     State of Readiness of Companies

We have found that companies that spend time planning and preparing before embarking on the implementation of an HRMS, reduce Implementation effort significantly.  

This ‘state of readiness’ implies understanding how existing processes need to change and prepares the buy-in of all parties to the HRMS. Factors companies need to consider are:

  • When skilled resources, in particular from HR, are committed to supporting the implementation process, it will ensure the team stays focused on early planning, preparation, application insight, and communication.
  • Furthermore, a coherent HR strategy that is well defined before implementation allows companies to choose a selected platform and approach to implementation that is best suited to meet their HR goals and support the organization’s business priorities.
  • A risk assessment will identify risks in advance and outline how they will be managed or overcome. Aspects to identify would be who will be resistant to change? Are there any corporate initiatives that will conflict with the timing of the HRMS implementation?  What aspects will reduce stakeholder availability?  As a significant amount of effort is involved in implementation,  the time budgeted for the implementation also needs to be considered as a potential risk so that alternative plans can be developed to address the potential conflict of day-to-day operations and the time needed for the implementation.
  • A further suggestion is for companies to conduct a job analysis. The organization structure needs to be defined, along with the talent requirements, grading, position categories, and salary guidelines. If this had been done prior to implementation, it will be more likely to fully utilize the position management functionality in your HRMS.
  • Companies should also consider a Business Process overview (BPO). A BPO involves mapping data sources, procedures, and interfaces with other software. Typically the future state with the HRMS implemented will be quite different from the current state – for example, transferring of data between the HRMS and other software may now be possible electronically (back-end transfer) rather than manually (uploads), or redundant data may be cleaned as part of the change procedures.  The BPO provides a vision of the future state and acts as a guiding light throughout the implementation, to keep your team focused on the desired outcomes.
  • Investing the time and resources to take into account data issues such as data migration, accuracy, and governance before initiating a core HR implementation project greatly improves the successful outcome of the deployment.
  • It is also advised to create a data dictionary containing a set of common global definitions before starting an implementation since common terminology can vary wildly from one country to the next. As an example, the definitions of “permanent” vs. “temporary” and “full-time” vs. “part-time” need to be outlined so that these data elements mean the same thing across the global landscape.
  • Lastly, a well-prepared organization will do a comprehensive internal data audit before the implementation can help make sure all potential data implications have been thoroughly considered and addressed.
  • Having a well-defined delegation of authority is critical as workflows within modern HRMS platforms are reliant upon these defined structures.

Our experience showed it is very unlikely for organizations to be this prepared for an HRMS implementation. These key points can serve as a guideline for companies to make them aware of factors to consider when implementing

3)   Prepare for change

HRMS implementation can actually be a catalyst for internal change in an organization.  As seen from the previous discussion, we encourage companies to prepare themselves for a state of readiness. Furthermore, we also encourage companies to create openness for the change process.   This facilitates the opportunity for creative solutions and reporting possibilities, and can actually increase the success of an implementation beyond original expectations.  The basic premise of a change process – communication, clear direction, and transparency, should be adhered to.

4)    Holistic approach to systems integration

The implications of the new HRMS on legacy systems and engaging other systems owners early in the project need to be considered to create a thoughtful and strategic approach to integration. Establishing well-defined integration requirements helps organizations avoid having to rework the solution at a later stage, thus saving time, money, and frustration. Therefore, a complete and comprehensive systems integration strategy is central to the overall success of a company’s core HRMS deployment.

5)   Single Point of Contact (POC)

A dedicated, accountable, single POC with HR domain and/or technical experience will streamline communication, increase accountability, and provide better management of the client’s resources (i.e. time, people, and money).  The POC will typically manage overall communication to key stakeholders.   Additional members that actively engage in the project team can include the executive sponsor, the system administrator, a project manager, and super users and trainers to assist with the adoption by all employees to the new system.

6)   Implementation Methodology

A simplified definition of implementation methodology is the approach and the guideline the project plan follows. A methodology will eliminate surprises, reduce scope creep and unexpected costs, create specificity of the deliverables and establish a joint project plan and timeline.

A project plan consists of the individual components, series of tasks, and project milestones with associated due dates and responsible parties/people. The implementation methodology provides content to the project plan, and the project plan delivers the methodology. In gulfHR we summarise the implementation methodology in the Project Charter, create a Scope of Work,  and determine a realistic Project Plan after the kickoff meeting.

Reviewing, understanding and verifying Scope of Work Requirements are as unique as the organizations that have them because HR strategies align with corporate strategies, and corporate strategies are unique. Document your requirements concisely, and include reporting needs in this step. This will help to ensure that the HRMS is configured to allow for the tracking of any data that will be required to meet reporting needs.


  • Product Solution Overview

Typically, there is a large timeframe gap between product demonstrations during the evaluation process to the actual beginning or kick-off of a project. To reassert the proper expectations, it is advised to provide a product solution overview during the kick off meeting.  The gulfHR implementation team have found this Product Overview reduces application misunderstandings, clarifies implementation expectations and sets clear goals.

This is also the time where the Company stakeholders need to state their pain points, or requirements again, as the procurement team for the HRMS are most likely not an integral part of the implementation team.  It is therefore imperative that the assigned project manager of the chosen vendor validates and verifies the requirements of the Company and incorporates that into the Project Plan during the Product Solution Overview Training. Verifying and validating these requirements with the executive sponsor and project team members will provide the clarity needed for a positive start.


·        Project Due Dates and Deadlines

Meeting project due dates and deadlines sounds too obvious to be added here, but it is still too common to see clients and implementation partners miss target dates. Assembling the team on a regular basis to review project deliverables, assess accountability and set expectations and general project status is vital.

If deadlines aren’t being met, a review on the cause need to be determined, and new achievable dates need to be defined and mutually agreed upon. As little as one week of delay can lead to significant milestone delays down the line.


7)   Project Collaboration Tool

Utilizing an effective project collaboration tool provides a connected hub where team members assigned to the project can create, discuss and organize work efficiently.  This ensures synchronisation and everyone in the team will understand the context and implications of the decisions  in real time.

8)    End user adoption

It is necessary to ensure your users can adapt quickly and easily to the new system and receive the full training they need. This is where your trainers come in- making sure every employee is comfortable with the system and any concerns or questions are addressed before they need to use it as part of their day to day job role.

9)   Evaluate the system

Evaluating your system after it has been implemented is incredibly important as there are always ways your processes can be improved. Feedback from super users is important during this stage as their role is to fully immerse themselves in the new system and highlight any areas for development. During this stage, the system should be fine-tuned and perfected.

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