Managing the Most Important Assets – II

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"The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people." 

Thomas J. Peters quotes (American Author and Consultant) 

In the last article we took a quick look at the Human Resource Management System. To recap, the essential features of a HRM system are: 

1.       Employee Personal Information System 

2.       Employment Information 

3.       Leave Management System 

4.       Attendance Management System 

5.       Payroll Application 

6.       Self Service 

7.       Reporting

Timetrex payroll module is configurable and the community forums are very active.
Additional Modules in the Human Capital Management Ecosystem. 

The applications/systems that are part of the HCM solution would be:

1. Talent Acquisition System: This deals with the processes that cover identifying, selecting and hiring people. It is a natural complement to the HRM system since this is the first step of the employee processes. It also provides information for analytical reports that can tell you how receptive is the workforce to your organization's needs.
2.  Performance Appraisal System: Once an employee has joined the organization, it is natural for her to expect to see a career path. It is quite easy to integrate that process into the HRM system since it is a natural extension of the base HRM system.
3.  Benefits and Compensation Management System: The salary is just one aspect of what the employee derives as compensation for the time and effort he puts in towards the functioning/growth of the organization. There are other benefits that vary from company to company and include medical benefits, education benefits, perquisites, stock options, variable compensation, flexible time, pension, training and so on. Since it is primrily concerned with the employee, it makes sense to try to extend the HRM system in that direction as well.
4.  Learning Management System: Every employee requires additional training and mentoring to be able to contribute successfully. While these can be tracked outside the HRM system, it is often bundled with it because it is normally a part of the performance goals and objectives. It also allows the organization to analyse the skill levels of the employees and identify any shortcomings.
You can expect all of these processes to be supported by most of the leading enterprise solutions like SAP, PeopleSoft and Lawson (I quote only those that have mature HRM solutions). Many of the homegrown or non-enterprise closed source solutions that are available off the shelf here in India can be expected to contain parts of the core application, but do not expect a fully integrated solution. I have not come across any so far, I would appreciate an email with the product info if you disagree.
There are a few Open Source solutions that can offer some of these processes as a solution. You knew this was coming, right? Two that are really worth looking at are OrangeHRM ( and Timetrex (
OrangeHRM: OrangeHRM aims to be the world's leading Open Source HRM provided. It was started in 2005 and is now pretty stable on version 2.4. It has a very vibrant community, which proves its claim of being used widely, and has a host of features that revolve around the core HRM system. It also has a sprinkling of complementing systems. A quick look at its roadmap shown below shows that the growth is not very ambitious in its reach. It aims to provide the non-risky aspects of the HRM system, in my opinion, before attempting the bigger fish like Payroll, Compensation and the larger complements.
OrangeHRM Roadmap:
1.  Admin Module [implemented] 

2.  Personal Information Module [implemented] 

3.  Employee Self Service [implemented] 

4.  Report Module [implemented] 

5.  Leave Module [implemented] 

6.  Time and Attendance Module [implemented] 

7.  Benefit Module [implemented] 

8.  Recruitment Module [implemented] 

9.  Performance Module 

10. Training Module 

Some obvious advantages of using OrangeHRM are that you can keep track of your employee information, attendance, leaves and benefits. The reporting module will be useful to derive MIS reports to assist your team in making HRM related decisions. The recruitment module is a definite plus in planning your recruitments. What I would say is missing in this nicely developing product is a payroll module. The roadmap does not even list it, but according to a message in their forums it has been added to the roadmap after the Training Module. While it is understandable that a Payroll Module is fraught with difficulties given the widely varying regulations across the world, a basic configurable system might make it a more rounded product than it is today.

OrangeHRM helps you keep track of your employee information, attendance, leaves and benefits.
TimeTrex: Timekeeping and Attendance is the main focus of Timetrex. The payroll module is what makes this interesting to us. Most of us use manual payroll, or it is excel based. The HR spends considerable time putting together the paystubs and related functions. Timetrex payroll module is configurable and the community forums are very active. You can configure it to capture punch in and punch out using the web browser. Alternately, if you buy the pro version, you can integrate it with your existing access card/biometric system to capture attendance details.
What's interesting about this product is that the ease of setting up the payroll application. Create employees, set up your deductions and additional pay and you're ready to go. Use one of the time capture systems, free or otherwise, and your payroll will be ready every month on your pay date. Although the Indian tax calculations are not built in, it is fairly simple to set it up since we use the tax slab system. Did I say that it saves trees? You can refrain from printing paystubs completely if you wish. All our employees can download their monthly paystub as an Adobe Acrobat documet from their self service login. 

So what are you still doing those paychecks manually for? Spend some time conducting more meaningful transactions with your colleagues/employees. 

venkat-mangudi Venkat Mangudi is an Open Source Evangelist and Strategy Consultant based in Bangalore. After having worked across Europe, Asia and the US, Venkat returned home to set up a consulting firm called quite uniaginatively, Venkat Mangudi Consulting He can be reached at

Issue BG96 Mar09


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