If your organization is seriously considering a compensation management solution, you’ve (understandably) got a number of questions. A lot, if not most of these, center around the implementation process. How long is it going to take to develop the system? How much communication will there be between the client and developer? What is required on our end to make the implementation process as smooth as possible?
While the developers will be the ones carrying the brunt of the work during development and implementation, the process requires an open line of communication to be as fast and easy as possible. Communication is an important factor from the very beginning – the first step in the implementation process is needs analysis. This step allows the developer and client to create a plan for completing the system, which is tailored to the needs of the organization and all of the system’s users.
Generally there are three separate types of users that we need to account for. Those groups are system administrators (typically the organization’s HR/comp department), managers (the end users) and executives (who will approve and set budget guidelines within the system). Most of these users are going to switch from Excel spreadsheets, an HRIS tool or a standalone compensation system, so it’s important to get an idea of the kinds of systems they’re the most comfortable with, and what expectations they have for the system and how it should operate.
The client and developer will also need to communicate about the types of pay programs that need to be incorporated into the system. Whether the organization uses merit pay, merit and bonus, incentive pay, and so forth all need to be laid out so they can be included in the compensation tool. The details surrounding specific programs to be included in the system are often detailed in a spreadsheet program and sent via email to the developers.
The initial analysis process takes two or so weeks of back and forth communication between the developer and the client. After the developers get a good enough feel of what the managers want (and need) to see, and how they want the system to look and function, a mockup will be produced. This mockup contains the desired layout of the system and serves as a prototype of the compensation solution. Once the mockup is sent, all that’s left is for the client to sign off on the project before the developers can dive headfirst into developing the system.
That this initial analysis is extremely important should go without saying. The communication between the two parties is mutually beneficial: clients can ensure that the developers know exactly what they’re looking for in the final product, and the developers have a clear and defined direction to follow while creating the system. This may seem less convenient than, say, purchasing some off-the-shelf program, but the effort put into communication (indeed, collaboration) ensures the development of an efficient and easy-to-use compensation system made exactly to meet an organization’s specific needs.
In the next post we’ll detail the second part of the implementation process: development.