HRIS vs. HRMS: Is There a Difference?

Pages: 6 (1156 words) Published: April 15, 2011
HRIS, HRMS - Is There a Difference?
Posted by Scroggin, Clay at Friday, 04/03/2009
As an HRIS Solution, a.k.a. HR software, HRMS solution, HR Payroll Software, web vendor, I am anyone in this industry are constantly searching for new keywords to improve our rank and thus, bring more users to our websites. Currently, we track over one hundred and fifty unique HRIS solutions keywords. The problem is many of these keywords define the exact same thing. So I ask the question: -Are we confusing the HR profession by refusing to offer a language of terms that is more consistent?- With this article, my intention is to provide definitions to many of the terms those in the HR profession are likely to hear regarding HR software.

Perhaps the reason for so many terms for HRIS software is online advertising itself. The vendors who market online are constantly searching for new terms with which to rank well and attract vendors. There have been some vendors who have a brand strong enough to create their own terms and then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. The terms 'Talent Management' and 'Talent Acquisition' are the two best examples I have seen. This improvement of terms by marketing gurus happens in other industries as well. My father owned a Chevy blazer known today as a sport utility vehicle. Now every auto manufacturer has jumped on the band wagon and uses the same term. The new term is cross over. What will the new term be for HR management software.

It seems like the more simple terms which may have been created by IT people or programmers slowly become replaced by more sophisticated terms created in the marketing world. An example is HR database versus human resource information system (HRIS) or applicant tracking software versus talent acquisition software. - HR Software - It used to be enough to say you were looking for HR software. Well, not anymore. Now saying you are looking for HR software is sort of like saying you are hungry but not providing any idea of what you are hungry for. Think of the term HR software as all encompassing. It includes all of the terms used below. - Personnel Software, Employee Software, HR Database, HR system - These were the common terms used to define what we know today as HRIS, HRMS or HRM software. These were terms likely created by programmers or technical people; in other words, non marketing people. These terms of yesterday seem to perceive smaller less sophisticated systems than the terms more commonly used today in HR software marketing. - Human Resource Information System, a.k.a. HRIS Solutions - This is the type of term you receive from marketing as opposed to terms used above created by an IT staff. Yep, it's all pretty much the same thing. However, an argument could be made that an HRIS application is more comprehensive in its capabilities than an HR database but this may, or may not, be true as there are no standards for the terms in our industry. In marketing, however, perception is reality. - Human Resource Management System, a.k.a. HRMS Solutions - Again, as far as I can tell, this term means the same as HRIS, or any of the other terms used above or most offered below. Overall, I believe HRMS is perceived as being a more comprehensive HR application than HRIS systems. - HRIS Solutions and HRMS Solutions: Is there a difference? defines HRIS as a system used by human resources departments to track employees and information about them. A HRIS is often a database system or a series of inter-related databases. defines an HRMS as a software application that combines many human resources functions, including benefits administration, payroll, recruiting and training, and performance analysis and review into one package.

So according to these definitions, HRMS software is more comprehensive than HRIS software. I would love to accept this but, in reality, I can name a dozen HRIS applications that contain all of the features listed in the HRMS...
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