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human resources management application

Been thinking about developing a human resources management application for sometimes now (ok, I know, thinking is not developing; I should just go ahead and develop it).

My ideal is to develop a simple, easy to use apps, targeted small firm, say with 10 to 30 people. As of what I understand, they might currently using
1) no human resources management app at all
2) Hardcopy filing
3) Excel or Access

To them, Human resources management application on the market might be too expensive and complicated. Must as well make do with what they have now.

A quick google didn't yield any impressive looking human resources management software. And surprisingly, the current so-called web 2.0 wave didn't really cover this area, yet. 

So, my questions,
1. Could it be that Human Resources Management Software is not the type worth venture into?
2. Or there are actually big players exist, just that I miss it on my search?
3. Will company consider hosting their Human Resources application online, since these are actually private and confidential stuff?
4. Any better term for this long winded "Human Resources Management Software"?

Thanks for the advice in advance, and sorry for the long post.
kf Send private email
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Hi KF:

A few years ago, when looking for a product to create, I seriously considered doing an HR application. I probably did a lot of the same searches you did and didn't find very much either. In the end, while it looked like a worthwhile venture, I didn't pursue it because of my serious lack of domain knowledge. I realized that HR can be pretty dang involved!

To take a stab at your questions:

1. I believed, and still do believe today, that HR software is definitely worth venturing into. There are several companies that offer HR packages to mid-sized to large businesses but much of the small business market is ignored. If you can come in and fill this niche, I think it could be very profitable for you.

2. There are a few big players in the market. Not many, if any, are serving the small business market. This presents an opportunity.

3. As I'm finding out with my new HostedEMR venture, storing personal information online can be a minefield. There are laws and regulations you need to deal with and your potential customers are going to want assurances that you are following the law and keeping their data secure. This will probably be one of the big objections you'll here. Many will think it's not legal to place this type of information in an online environment. Education will be a key selling point here.

4. HR types are bureaucratic by nature. They LOVE complicated "official" sounding stuff. Human Resources Management Software sounds just about right :-)

In the end, I think that you could make some money if you focused on a particular segment of the market. Don't try to create something that will appeal to everyone from Joe's Flowershop to Microsoft. It won't. One size DOES NOT fit all in this case. Find an underserved segment and write your application to that.

Just my $0.02..worth about that too :-)
Anthony Papillion Send private email
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
+1 anthony

The big $$$ HR packages will give you a starting point of features to pick from in your slimmed-down product for small biz.

Definitely don't go with hosted solution.
Mike S Send private email
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Thanks for the advice, that is a really informative and useful insight.
1) & 2) Well, that is what I think as well. There are complicated HR software for large enterprise, but it seems none or few cater for smaller firm. For them, they just want a simple HR tools for processing attendance, leave application, etc.

3) I am pondering between having the data online, or having it as an intranet apps. For a small firm, especially non-IT firm, there might not have the necessary resources (time, expertise, and budget) for setting up a intranet just for an HR tool, or they simply don't want to put their resources into something which is not their core business. Then, an online app might make sense. But as you said, storing personal info online can be a minefield, there are laws and regulations to deal with, which could be overwhelming for a one person development 'team'> me.

4) Well, maybe you are right, Human Resources Management Software sound complicated enough, but it is so uncool, and it makes my tongue twisted every time I try to mention it. :-)

Yup, I fully agree with the focus only on a particular segment of the market. That should be the key to survive. Again, thank for the advice.

Yeah, those big $$$ HR packages should be a great place to get idea. As Paul Graham said, a lot of software suck, to try to beat them, just create software that is less suck, easy, isn't it? :-)
Yeah, there will be too much to deal with for hosted solution.
Thanks for the advice.
kf Send private email
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I think just saying "I want to write HR software" isn't focused enough.

You ought to start with something like a benefits management package, or an expense reimbursement package.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I'm amazed at how poor the large, expensive HR apps are.

Out of the box, at least one of them[1] doesn't support something as simple as employees transferring holidays into new holiday years, and managers have to give them discretionary days by hand to implement such a policy.

I'm not quite sure what all that money buys.

[1] To whose tender mercies I was subjected.
Katie Lucas
Thursday, August 03, 2006
True. Should focus on a special function instead of just saying HR software, especially for a small wannabe ISV, better be specialized on one area that being distracted trying to compete with those "large, expensive HR apps". What I am thinking right now is to start with Leave, Attendance and perhaps Payroll as well.

Oh yes, my company HR apps is having a similar limitation as well, you just can't apply leave for next year, which kind of puzzle me why an HR apps used in such a large organization couldn't support that.
kf Send private email
Thursday, August 03, 2006

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