The human resources (HR) department today plays an important role in the
strategic direction of a business, writes Peter Ibbotson, CEO at Praxima
Africa Payroll Solutions.

Apart from its role as the caretaker of an organisation's most important
resource, its employees, it must also provide detailed and critical
information on the workforce and more particularly profiles that are key to
the success of the company.
Technology is assisting the HR department in meeting the above requirements
and more specifically, HR solutions that incorporate workforce management
tools which enable it to drill down to the core of a company's workforce.
This provides accurate and up-to-date information on employees and their
roles within the organisation as well as maintaining a high standard of
Currently, there are a number of South African organisations that feature
sophisticated HR tools which enable them to manage their workforce optimally
while others still have to unlock the benefits that come with incorporating
technology into the overall management of the organisational workforce.
When opting for an HR solution, it is important that organisations
understand what they want to achieve with it, realising the benefits that
come with incorporating these tools within the organisation.
Make it simple and take it step by step; organisations should steer clear
from rushing to the end goal but rather map out the steps, measure their
progress before continuing to the next step.  By constantly re-evaluating
the steps set, it will provide organisations' with a clear understanding of
the progress they've made and path the way forward.
When implementing an HR solution it is important that you understand where
you are, where you want to be, and how you're going to get to that point.
The first steps are always the most difficult as it involves changing
certain aspects of the company culture.
For example, when implementing a more formal performance review process it
is important to ensure that you take the entire organisation along with you.
Once you get company buy-in it makes a new HR solution easier to implement.
The crux is therefore to keep it simple while applying change management
processes; it is after all the people that will lead to the success of a HR
In the near future companies will increasingly move towards implementing HR
solutions and workforce management tools that enable them to gain a clearer
understanding of their workforce profile.
These solutions will enable them to gain an important competitive advantage
as they will be aware of their weaknesses and strengths enabling them to
plan for the future more successfully.