Human Resource Information System In Pharmaceutical Industry Information Technology Essay

This paper generates propositions analyzing the association between Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and the reliance, pharmaceutical industry places in the technology and models the effect of those associations on HRIS implementation success. It gives information about the human resource management at different levels and how the information technology is used in human resource department to fulfill all its functions with ease. It also gives information about the aspects that help in effective and optimal use of Human Resource Management system and effectiveness in integrating the HR activities with IT. It gives the idea of the uses of different modules of HRMS and other software related to Human resource management. It says about the margins of error and the performance level of current HRMS.

It provides with the clues about the challenges faced by most of the pharmaceutical companies in which HRMS assists them to successfully deal with it. It enlightens the pros & cons and the outcomes of usage of human resource information system used in pharmaceutical industries. This system adds value to the Human Resource functions but also changes the competencies that define the winning of human resource professionals.

This paper also generates the importance of HRIS in Novartis International AG. It also explains its various challenges while implementing the system in the company.


The main use of technology advancement in the corporate has driven the change of means, needs and styles of working. When advanced work effectiveness and output, falling in line with time management agendas and devotion to punctuality guidelines, there are more profits to employees effectively, and best utilization of available resources and a successful deal with corporate. The term, Human Resource Management System (HRMS) or Human Resource Information System (HRIS), matches to all the features in the business system. HRMS is the procedure engaged by the combination of better ways of technological development with conventional ways of the human resource mode of functioning. A Human Resource Management System or Human Resource Information System (HRIS) or HR system is the systems and processes between human resource management (HRM) and information technology (IT). HRM is a discipline which blends its basic HR functions and processes with the information technology. HRMS software was provided by the PeopleSoft.Inc.

Earlier, most of the administrative jobs constituted tiresome practice of manual paperwork like determining payroll, tracing data, conserving the collection of database, maintaining and evaluating productivity records, keeping employee personal information, addressing issues and resolving conflicts and scrutinizing employee welfare schemes have now become a simple, time-saving and cost-saving process. There are other functions such as monitoring and retrieving periodic employee performance, planning, controlling and coordinating activities, organizing tables, figures and statistics and evaluating them. This technology is used as a device to make the work environment simple, standardized and user-friendly.

Importance of Information System to HR

Better safety

Better service

Competitive Advantage

Fewer Errors

Greater Accuracy

Improved Communication

Increased Efficiency

Increased Productivity

More efficient administration

More opportunities

Reduced labor requirements

Reduced costs

Superior managerial decision making

Superior control

The Human Resources Department needed more management-level information and support to encounter all the expectations. These practices have now begun to branch into the different trends that makeup many organizations today. The huge part of human resources is now E-business. Many companies have implemented a web-based system known as the Oracle Human Resources Management System which helps data access through centralized core HRMS system, enabling companies to control and measure their workforce potentials and allows them to manage risk by recording and monitoring compliance with statutory, regulatory, and industry requirements relating to their employees. The stronger use of technology has allowed HRM professionals to invest more time in counselling, selecting, and coaching managers and front-line supervisors.

History of HRIS

1950’s – virtually non-existent

1960’s – only a select few

1970’s – greater need

1980’s – HRIS a reality in many organizations

1990’s – Numerous vendors, specialties

Aspects helping in effective and optimum use of HRIS

HRIS is useful for the employees according to their needs. It can be accessible by adding or modifying the modules and also by offering different facilities to them.

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Also, HRMS is

The best means by which the employees of different departments within the company can communicate.

It gives information to support and analyze the company’s continuous development.

It establishes the level of knowledge which is helpful for upgrading the process and research-based practices.

It creates the company’s planning agenda and defines its decision making process.

It Verifies & validates the company’s mission statement.

Effectiveness in integrating the HR activities with IT

To prevent from moderating data and viewing information, a role based security is designed.

To make the functionalities easy, various functional roles are available which provides ways of data recording, forwarding, reporting and authorizing.

It helps to record and view information for different plant, locations, department and employee.

HRIS have different segments categorized as modules like payroll module, HR management module, training module, employee self-service module, etc.

The maintenance work consumes less effort due to its different way of designing.

Uses of different modules

There are different types of HR modules in Human Resource Information System, and they are as follows:

Payroll module: This module mechanizes the pay process and calculates different deductions and taxes, by gathering information on employee presence and their work timings. It helps to generate periodic pay checks and employee tax reports. For calculating automatic deposit and manual checks, data is generally available from the human resource department. It contains all employee-related dealings as well as all the information is combined with financial management systems.

Benefits administration module: Employee benefits programs such as encompass insurance, compensation, profit sharing and retirement of the employees are being tracked and managed by this system for the organizations.

HR management module: This module covers different aspects from application to retirement. All the basic information of the employees such as their demographics, address data, selection, training and development, capabilities, skills, compensation records and other functions are recorded with the help of this module. This module helps the system to offer the facility to read applications and enter appropriate data to specific database fields, informs employers and helps to provide position management and control which are not in use. Human resource management system’s work is mainly the job placement, recruitment, training, compensation, evaluation and developments of the people working in the company. Mainly, industries use computer based information systems to create pay checks and payroll results; to maintain personnel records and information of the employees; and training and developing the employees.

‘ATS’ module: Nowadays, online recruiting has become very popular as the key method of employment by the human resource department. This helps in gathering potential and eligible candidates for the available positions in a company. ATS module generally helps in the following ways:

It investigates personnel usage in a company ;

recognizes potential applicants for the available positions;

It helps in recruiting through company-facing entries;

It provides help in hiring through online recruiting sites or publications which is marketed to both recruiters and applicants.

Training module: It offers the system for the companies to help in managing and tracking employee training and growth efforts. This system is generally known as a Learning Management System and it is a stand-alone, that permits the HR to track all the information of the employees regarding their education, qualifications and skills, as well as recording their training courses ,books, CDs, etc. whichever are available to improve their skills in different areas. Thereafter the employees are registered for the appropriate courses which are offered at a particular dates with specific sessions, with delegates and training resources by which they are being recorded and managed within the same system. The learning management system helps the managers in approving training, budgeting and arranging together with performance management and appraisal metrics.

Employee Self-Service module: This module is useful for the employees of the companies to ask question to the human resource about HR related information. They can also perform HR transactions through the system such as querying about their attendance records from the system without asking the HR personnel. This module also provides service to let the upper managers approve overtime requests from their subordinates without disturbing the functions of HR department.

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Benefits to the Employees

The ways in which employees can be benefited by the HRMS are as follows:

Identification of employee’s key skills for retention excellence.

Automated and precise performance appraisals promote healthy relations.

Expedite employees recruiting process.

Multitude data pulling from single entry can cut in various reports.

Helps building a successful environment where employees strive to perform well and exceeding their goals.

A collegial flexible work place, Employee input in to how the work gets done, trust in senior management and lack of hierarchy flexible work arrangement.

Web-based management system can streamline improvement plans by collaborating creation, implementation and monitoring phases.

Help manage workforce and resources.

Focuses and aligns staff development and resources.

The margins of error

The margin of error for the HRIS system is very minimal. The HRIS system maintains and updates its form of modifications or additions of HR modules on a regular basis. The performance level of this system is ideal.

Unique areas where the pharmaceutical company uses HRMS effectively

The HRMS system, implemented in various pharmaceutical companies, is highly sophisticated and provided with latest versions. Consultants who are expertise in making the software, seeks suggestions and advice on the implementation of the HRIS software in their own company.

All the pharmaceutical companies customize its HRIS as per the needs and requirements of the personnel and staff. The unique areas where the pharmaceutical company uses the HRMS effectively are:

It contains all the personal information of the employees such as their training, experience, education, leave, job description, pay description at a single point of access.

All the information about the leave allocation and movement can be easily drawn with the help of it.

It helps in searching appropriate applicants for the available vacancies and in the interviewing process.

It is also helpful in managing the insurance of the employees easily.

It is important for the growth of the employees which are under their respective training given for their skill development.

It is helpful in development of the employee’s performance appraisal system.

It is also helpful in managing all the policy documents at a single source depository.

It is also used to do online survey about the company’s environment by the employees.

By the help of this software, an employee gets the benefit of suggesting any useful advice for the company’s well-being.

It facilitates with an extra benefit to the employee by notifying about the urgent and critical notices or important messages from a single point.

It gives an access to collect opinions easily, fast and with security and confidentiality companywide.

It can be used as a budget allocation and consumption tool.

The long term benefits

The HRMS software is a customized tool and due to this reason, it had very high level of flexibility and the company gets the advantage of adding more features and HR modules according to their specific needs of the management and employees. This provides the company to communicate the employees with their respective department’s even better day-by-day. Recently online HRMS newsletter is introduced which enables the employees to share news and information. Through this, it is involving the employees to participate in sharing and gaining knowledge and capabilities with the other departments of the company.

Reasons why HRIS fails sometimes

Unclear goals/objectives

System solves the wrong problem

Improper vendor/product selection

Low user involvement

Planning overlooks impact on clerical procedures

Lack of HR/functional expertise in designing

Underestimate conversion effort

Management- unrealistic expectations

Lack of overall plan for record management

Lack of flexibility and adaptability

Misinterpret HR specifications

Poor communication between HR/IS

Inadequate testing

The HRIS software is sold by different vendors. Some of the contacts of the vendors are PeopleSoft, Oracle HR Applications, Ascentis Software, Eric Systems Inc., Infinium, and Spectrum.

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Novartis international AG case

Now, let’s take the case analysis of Novartis International AG. It is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland with 140 branches worldwide. Around 100,000 associates work in this company. This company manufactures drugs such as diclofenac, carbamazepine, letrozole, methylphenidate, etc.

There were various issues that Novartis faced regarding its Human Resource System. Some of the issues are as follows:

Significant priority of the company was to implement a firm wide HRIS that would convert many of transaction-based HR core processes to an internet-based system.

HRIS project was an integral part of Novartis long term strategy for improving overall HR service delivery to the organization that would result in a full HR transformation.

A gap in the infrastructure priority was the lack of a global HR information system.

Managers in the company were unable to figure out quickly how many HR associates were working at Novartis.

Lack of number of associates within the company to fill the leadership position.

The existing IT systems within Novartis were not up to mark.

Centralization or standardization of HR data.

No consistent standards.

No consolidated database.

Difficult in supporting in the businesses in identifying, moving, and tracking talent.

Multiple fragmented systems.

Exposure for many small vendors with non-integrated niche application.

Exposure to legal/regulatory non-compliance.

Employees are feeling stretched because of initial post-merger integration.

The top internal issue is little centralization or standardization of HR data. The company operated in 140 different countries. Due to lack of HRIS in the company, the company has many loop holes such as no consistent standards, no consolidated database, and no ability to provide data in form to reflect their matrix structure whereas has difficulty in supporting the business in identifying, moving and tracking talent etc. So, with the implementation of new HRIS, the company will be able to solve the problem easily and allow the managers and HR professionals to respond to the business challenges.

The top external issue is the Shifting of HR role from functional expert and transaction processor to strategic partner and change agent. The implementation of HRIS system will enable the HR transformation. It will cut down most of the administrative activities of the HR managers leading to be an evolution of the basic role of HR in the company. There will be requirement of more skilled and professional HR associates who can act as a strategic business partner and change agent.

Major challenges faced by Novartis in implementation of the HRIS:

1. The HRIS effort represented a major transformation in the fundamental role and responsibilities of the HR function within Novartis.

2. The new system changed the relationships of HR professionals with their business partners.

3. HR associates expected to play a more strategic, consultative role to the business.

4. Technical challenges for system implementation such as web enabling, SAP R/3 -a core transaction processing system, SAP business warehouse (BW), an enterprise HR portal solution etc.

Competencies needed by the HR professionals at Novartis for using HRIS

The HR professionals at Novartis should have more human resource knowledge; understand their business and its language.

They must have expertise in staffing, development, compensation, etc. They must be able to deliver innovative HR practices that add value to the company.

HR professionals need to be effective, able to detect trends and early signals and initiate flexibility in fast changing environment.

With implementation of HRIS, the HR professionals have to be a technology expert to deliver services to employees and help them to understand the new system. They must be proficient in using technology to collect data and producing it more strategically valuable information.

Hence, HRIS is very essential in the companies all over the world providing better safety, competitive advantage, fewer errors, greater accuracy, improved communication, increased efficiency and productivity and reduced labor requirements.

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