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Review: Iris “HR Manager”

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Iris “HR Manager” by Iris Business Software
Reviewed by Denis W Barnard

Do you believe that by paying a lot more you actually get more in the same proportion?

If you hire one of the big consultancies for £100K instead of a smaller one for £20K, are you getting five times the value and content? (no mention of Arthur Andersen, OK?)
Is a £50K car really twice as good as a £25K one?

Sometimes small really is beautiful, if only for the fact that it delivers the essentials at an exceptionally affordable price, and fitting into this class is the “HR Manager” HR record system by Iris Business Software.

Within five minutes of loading the CD and following the easy installation instructions, the application was up and running on my PC. No expertise needed, and of course it has a multi-user version if required.

Navigation is simple, and the processing is pretty intuitive. The site is divided into four main areas:

  • Employee: Personal Details, Job Title, Absences there is even a place for a photograph.

  • Training and Disciplinary (a fine juxtaposition!): Appraisals, Training History, Skills, Professional memberships and Disciplinary

  • Employment Details: Salary and Job Histories, Accidents, Medical and Exit Interview.

  • A User Admin section

These screens carry an appreciable amount of information, and in many places have the ability to attach a document to the screen detail, which is extremely useful when collating employee correspondence.

A couple of boxes that worried me were the ones that indicated “Smoker” and “Disabled” followed by “Disability Number”! No doubt these will be sorted out in a future upgrade.

I particularly liked the Absence recording, which showed as a calendar, with a Detail tab behind it, although there were no running totals for each category of absence. The Absence module also includes an automatic authorisation generator that fires off an email to the immediate superior for approval.

Holidays were meant to reduce from the entitlement as they were used up, but I couldn’t get it to work when I added a holiday retrospectively.

Correction of records by deletion or editing is straightforward, although I can find no audit trail to summarise corrections.

There does not appear to be a Bulk Entry Data Importer with this version, which can be a tedious task if you have to correct 100 salaries at salary-review time; it’s smarter working to import straight from the working spreadsheets.

Reporting is basic within the main headings of Personnel, Appraisal, Absence, Skills, and Pay, and sub-headings beyond that.

Staff Turnover is included but is a Leaver summary, rather than the result of the accepted formulae used in HR.
The reports can be exported as Excel, Word or PDF files. In the case of the former, this has real value, as the data can be manipulated and formatted further, outside the application, perhaps for integration with other data sources.

Security is simple, with varying powers to view and / or change data assigned to four levels of authority.

There are a number of Templates incorporated into HR Manager, such as Interview Letters, Contract of Employment and Completion of Probation. I understand that the format of the standard letters can be modified to suit a client’s request, so long as the body of the letter is populated from the existing fields used in the software, such as Date of Start, Salary, etc.

Iris assure me that this application is intended to integrate with their Pay, Accounting and P11D programs whenever required. In the pipeline also is a Self-Service version of HR Manager.

All in all, the HR Manager is a very workmanlike application, and could prove a very good buy for companies of up to 100-150 employees or so. Beyond that, I would imagine increasing levels of sophistication would be demanded, particularly in the Reporting function; I shall watch with interest over time to see if the clear success that Iris have produced turns out to be scaleable in size.

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