What is an HR database software
HR Software is a process for the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of employee’s data. It can provide tools for prediction and forecasting, based on data. Thus it can also be used for a wide variety of management decisions, financial decisions about manpower, performance of people, succession planning and removal of non-performers.”
Free HR Software, is it for real?
Many visitors on EmpXtrack’s website come to look for Free HR software. Because there are many software in different domains that come for FREE, they expect that there can be a Free Human Resources Software too.
This post will discuss “Is there any free lunch (software) at all?” for Human Resources Management. I will also try to bust the myths about the software available for free.
Why HR Software is NOT free?
Let me begin with why there can’t be free software in HR Domain.
My first argument is that it takes lots of efforts to develop an HR Software, because an HR Software is not merely a plain database of employees information fields (like in an Excel Sheet or MS Access) but a large collection of various types of information which are linked to each other in a logical way so that an output can provide a Common Sense View about the employees.
Such an important software, which provides a total MIS on human resources has to be created with great care. How can you get it for Free.
My second argument is is that there are huge number of HR Processes and policies. Almost every company has its own HR policies and practices. To develop a globally applicable HR software, the software vendor has to study hundreds of HR practices, analyse the data patterns, and then develop a good HR Software which can be customized to the specific practices/ processes followed by the user. Thus a good HR Software requires thousands of man hours of effort before it can add some value to HR. Anything which requires efforts at such a mass scale cannot be developed for free. Because there is no free lunch for the developers and no one else can do it!
But there are free softwares on Internet?
Yes, some of my friends will say there are free software available on Internet. To find the truth, I searched for “Free HR Software” on Google. Look, what I got:
Result 1: First result took me to a site which was displaying Google Advertisements all over with three paragraphs using keyword “Free Hr Software”. Brute SEO.
Result 2: Second result took me to a HR Vendor giving Free 30 Days TRIAL version.
Result 3: Third result took me to an Open Source Software. I downloaded it and even with three days effort I could not install it on my computer due to lack of knowledge of My SQL/ PHP . Only one of my friends who is a software engineer could install it for me. He charges US$ 50 per hour from his clients.
Result 4: This result took me to a site giving FREE DEMO of the software.
Result 5: Again a Google Adsense blogger with lots of Free HR Software text on his page.
Result 6: Next result offered Free Software DEMO only.
Result 7: Some article about HR software.
No more patience…my friend.
Please try it, individual results may vary according to the country you search from, but I bet not much variance. If you are still searching Free HR Software on Google, you are merely testing your patience.
Does Free Software mean not paying for it?
Consider you could search a Free HR Software. (I mean a feature loaded HR software not HR database based on Excel or MS Access). You downloaded it.
- In 90% cases you need to have knowledge of Computer Networks and Servers to install this. Then this will most likely not meet your requirements and you need to spend a lot of time figuring out what to do and then trying to configure it to meet your basic needs.
- Now you should have an HR Technology Expert (who knows both software and HR logic) to configure this for you. If you hire such person they can cost you as high as $ – 50 per hour. If they put in 2 weeks of effort = 128 hours their cost can go up to US$ 6400.00
- Let me hypothetically assume that one of your HR Managers on board can do it for you and they spend their 2-3 weeks to configure this – you have already paid about $2000 worth of their effort to your Free HR Software.
- Then you need to upload your data into it by spending long hours to re-align your data in a way that it can be uploaded in the system. Let me consider it will cost minimum US$ 500 worth of effort (15 days salary).
- If you want to change any feature of the software (say your leave management process or add an additional field in your database) you need to hire a software programmer. At a very cheap rate in a country like India you need to pay close of $1500 per month to a worthwhile programmer.
- Another option is to Buy Paid support from the developer company, which can cost you up to US$ 5000 that includes a free phone support.
Calculating the above costs, your Free Software for HR can COST you between to $1500 to 6500 (I bet many paid softwares are priced far cheaper) . And this without a guarantee that the software will run bug free, without much support at hand and with no surety of updates. Not to mention that complaints, work-halts, etc will come to you from your employees and the management.
Caution: These Free HR softwares DO NOT Guarantee the backups / data security. They indeed quote terms and conditions at the time of installation (but who cares to read those notices), people just install.
About Other Free Softwares:
I will repeat there is no free lunch. All Free Softwares are supported by Advertisers’ budget and you see these advertisements in the sidebar, and as a link in your email. Most free versions are limited versions-everyday prompting you to upgrade to paid versions. Indeed Free softwares are mere Advertisements of the products they want to sell without paying for advertisement cost in Google etc.
Would you like your HR Software to show your competitor’s advertisement to your employees?
Some are really free!
Yes, there are a few community driven software like OpenOffice, some programming software like Java, Operating systems like Linux, which are more or less a commodity, available for free download. However, at the back end they are supported by some profit making companies who provide paid training, paid support or make money otherwise.
The gist “There are no free lunches”. One or the other way, we pay for it!
The next alternate to Free HR Software is affordable HR Software. A software which can fit your budget, which costs you about half the annual salary of an HR executive, to say.
There are softwares that will fit every organizations budget. Now go to http://www.google.com and type – Top 5 HR software choices for small businesses. And decide yourself.
I need more Help! My Budgets are Low!
Then fill this form to get in touch with some one who can suggest you an HR software that can fit in your budget (staring from US$ 600 / INR 30,000 and above).