RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Software Review:
“InPower HR”: A Human Resource Application System
Developer: InPower, Inc

InPower (199?). “InPower HR”: A Human Resource Application System, InPower, Inc.

Reviewed by: David Wan

InPower HR is a state-of-the-art Human Resource Information System (HRIS) developed by Integral Systems, Inc. for the effective planning and management of human resources in an organisation. The system allows the user to compile, manipulate, evaluate and report HR information in a systematic manner. Its major application deals with all the key HR functions such as human resource planning, job analysis, recruitment and placement, training and development, performance appraisal, career management, job evaluation, compensation, payroll, benefits and labor relations.

The system features the use of relational databases that minimise the need to keep and maintain duplicate data. It organises HR activities and tasks according to key personnel and organisational events such as new hire, transfer, or promotion of employee. The system automatically “remembers” every change made in the HR system. It allows users to make changes in defining personnel rules, policie, and procedures, modify as well as create reports for their specific needs. The use of drag-and-drop facility is reasonably user friendly for data entry and retrieval. InPower HR also has its own full security management system.

A powerful Graphical User Interface builder in InPower Toos is available with InPower HR. InPower Tools has two main navigators, the Event Navigator which allows user to access any function from a directory tree, and the Data Navigator allows the user to look at any predefined data set from a directory tree. InPower Tools also allows the user to define their own work practice in the form of a Workflow, while through the e mail, various functions involving various interested parties may be linked up in a single workflow. InPower Tools allows the user to build new screens from existing objects in the database, or from the ground up, thus empowering the user with the flexibility to re-use information already delivered with the system.

Basically, InPower HR incorporates different (but interrelated) modules for performing specific functions. These include: Position Staffing Management (e.g. position planning, recruiting source management, hiring process management, succession planning, transfers, termination); Human Resource Management Structures (e.g. job/position definition, job categorization, job promotion ladders, skills inventory, duty/responsibility definition); Total Compensation Management (e.g. job evaluation, pay and benefits, salary structure, flexible compensation); Work Force Development (e.g. needs assessment, schedule training and development, correlation of training ande development to performance, health and safety, and regulatory requirements); Work Environment Management (e.g. health and safety incident management, employee grievance management); Work Force Deployment (e.g. performance appraisal, corrective actions, tracking of undesirable behaviour); and Labor Organisation Relations Management. While a full scale adoption of the computer package is feasible, there are certain issues that require the users’ attention:

Firstly, since InPower HR is developed as a comprehensive HRIS and not as single applications, it is more suited for larger organisations that employs 500 or more employees.

Secondly, the system is developed in the United States. Although localization of many functions has been done, customization effort is still required to suit each customer’s specific needs. There are also some functionalities like equal employment opportunity legislation, requirement for affirmative action and computerized employment equity reporting which are not necessary at all locally.

Thirdly, to maximize the effectiveness of the software programme, the user has to first of all define his organisation’s needs and requirements. The beauty of InPower HR is that it allows the user to build up the foundation himself, using the relevant facilities provided by the package and with the help of the consuting services provided by the software distributor.

Last but not least, the system has not been systematically tested in Singapore, the many advantages promised by the package still needs to be ascertained and improved on.

All in all, InPower HR has the potential to become a major brand name in Singapore and in the regional markets. This is because InPower HR provides management with the opportunity to use HR information to enhance organisational human resource planning and decision-making. The system therefore can serve as an imortant tool in the alignment of HR departmental goals with the goals of company-wide strategic planning. And this is what strategic human resource management is all about.

I am most grateful to Mr Chiam Yiak Joo and Ms Chua Nga Woon of CSA Private Ltd., Sinapore, for their time and assistance.

David Wan
Faculty Business Administration
National University of Singapore