Bugünlerde, ITWorldCanada dergisi açık kaynak kodlu İK yazılımları üzerine bir araştırma yapıyormuş. Bu sebeple OpenHRIS hakkında bana bazı sorular sormak istediler. Aşağıda cevaplarımı bulabilirsiniz.

Nowadays, ITWorldCanada is working on a story about open source HR software and for this reason they requested to have an interview with me on OpenHRIS. Below you can find my answers to some questions.

ITWorldCanada: What inspired you to create open-source human resources software?

UCY: Along my 5 years of HR experience, I saw the importance of infrastructure in properly deploying new HR applications. Advanced HR applications (such as target deployment, performance management, competency management…etc) are difficult to implement and control with paper & pen and quite expensive to run and maintain with incumbent commercial solutions, which require considerable investment on both server and client side. Moreover, installing these comprehensive and integrated software packages with all necessary infrastructure isn’t sufficient for full utilization, as it is also required to receive consultancy from the vendor for customization of built-in HR models or for adaptation of the customer’s own existing models to the new framework in expense of a couple of more zeros on the right of the billed figure.

These solutions are not affordable for many SMEs, most of which are even unable to maintain a dedicated HR function within their organizations. Other small but inexpensive solutions are generally desktop based, and lack many features.

There, it came the idea of having OpenHRIS, which

  1. will be open source (will be free to use and will be developed collaboratively online)
  2. will be web based and will require no/minimal investment for infrastructure (it will be accessible from and fully operable on every computer with a browser and access to internet)
  3. will include basic built-in HR models so that it will be ready for deployment immediately after installation for any small enterprise

In short and medium term, we decided to leave most classical HR functions such as payroll management and attendance control out of the scope of this software project. Main focus will be on personal and organizational development areas where most SMEs are unable to store a solution.

ITWorldCanada: I’ve noticed that you don’t have a working copy yet: what have been the challenges so far in developing this software?

UCY: The greatest problem is time actually. We are unable to spare enough time to the project since our professional life is quite loaded. The other problem is that there are no professional programmers in the group yet. Group consists of HR people. Only I have an IT background, particularly in database design and web programming, and therefore I am trying to deal with technical issues at this phase. Actually my most dominant expertise is in personal development and organizational excellence areas. After completing the conceptual design phase, we were planning to search for support in programming.

ITWorldCanada: There appears to be only one company with an open source human resources solution, OrangeHRM. Why aren’t there more open source human resources solutions?

UCY: It is probably because HRM is a very complicated domain and therefore coming up with an HRM solution is a task that can not be handled with 1 or 2 ambitious programmers.

In my opinion, there are two factors boosting this complexity. First of all, HRM’s boundaries are still unclear because the domain continues expanding and evolving radically, and I don’t think that the pace of this expansion and evolution will decrease in the near future. 5 or 10 years ago HRM consisted of payroll management, personnel administration and industrial relations. Today it includes people alignment, internal communication, talent management…etc. Even today’s giant vendors are unable to provide a solution with such diversified functionality.

The other problem is the need for extreme flexibility. Some basic processes – such as employee registry management – don’t differentiate very much, they are almost the same anywhere on earth. But as far as the advanced HR applications are concerned, we observe that a company’s HR perspective is considerably affected from the company’s size, industry, culture, history, employee demography, political, economic and social environment…etc. Therefore it is possible to see ten different performance management practices in ten different companies in the same industry. For example, my company’s employee performance management system is completely objective based. One of our direct competitors uses a completely competency based system and an other uses a hybrid (both objective and competency based) one. My company employs a relative evaluation method such as the one employed in GMAC examinations and gets the performance results reflected to base compensation radically. However in some of our competitors, effect of performance in compensation is quite limited and it is fundamentally used as a reference in career decisions. These variations are quite normal and unavoidable. For this reason, flexibility is extremely critical in designing an HRM infrastructure and flexibility naturally brings complexity into picture.

ITWorldCanada: Some analysts suggest that the lack of these solutions can be attributed to the difficulty in writing software that is very industry-specific (ie: like HR), as the person writing it needs to be able to code AND have industry knowledge.

UCY: Yes I agree. Designing an HRM software requires considerable domain knowledge. But this difficulty can be overcome by forming the project group with a mix of programmers and HR specialists.

ITWorldCanada: Do you have any HR background yourself? If so, has that been how you’ve been able to work on this?

UCY: Yes, I have considerable experience and academic background in HR. Combined with my earlier IT background, I was able to see the lack of such a solution.

ITWorldCanada: Do you think that more people will start developing industry-specific open source software in the future?

UCY: Yes I agree. However, I believe that progress in this field will be a little slow. You know, open source lives by collaboration. The pace of growth of an open source software is directly proportional with the size of the user base. Since user basis of Ubuntu or Joomla are huge, they are growing and being brought to perfection quickly. From this perspective, developing industry specific open source software has some difficulties. In order to overcome these difficulties some kinds of sponsorship may prove useful.

ITWorldCanada: Do you have an approximate timeframe for when you’ll have a working copy of the product (this year? Next year?)

UCY: Actually there is no progress at this moment. We made some planning and conceptual design but we couldn’t step into hardcode programming yet. Since sparing time for this issue is problematic for us, we are planning to enlarge our group and get the support of a local university. If we could succeed this, we may finish the conceptual design this year and launch a working copy of fundamental modules in the following year.

ITWorldCanada: What do you plan to do with the product? Will it be purely free, available open source available through word of mouth, or will you market it and charge for tech support?

UCY: It will be purely free. It is possible to establish a business on providing consultancy and technical support for the companies who wish to implement a customized or extensive version of the solution. But at this moment we are far from making plans on this business.