Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Using the Balanced Scorecard to Measure the Performance of Your HR Information System

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Using the Balanced Scorecard to Measure the Performance of Your HR Information System

Article excerpt

The desk was piled high with documents to read, the phone was ringing off the hook with customers demanding improved service, and e-mail messages were piling up in the new HR Information System Program Manager's in-box. It was clear that managing the CIA's HR Information System to serve the needs of HR specialists was going to be a challenging assignment, perhaps taking years to understand and bring under control. But she did not have years--only a few months, since a new fiscal year would soon begin, and the program manager needed money to make the changes customers were demanding.

HR Information System History

Patricia Minard inherited the responsibility for the Central Intelligence Agency's new commercial off the shelf-based HR Information System (HRIS) and the HRIS Program Office organization when she became program manager on the same day the system reached its initial operating capability on May 5, 1999. A commercial off the shelf package, Lawson, was to form the core of the updated payroll-personnel system. (1) And numerous custom modules had been coded to meet the requirements imposed on the CIA by United States law and by unique Agency payroll requirements. The system constituted the backbone with which a wide variety of personnel actions were performed, including compensation and rewards, benefits and leave, and position management and staffing. Minard's program office maintained oversight of the HRIS in order to serve the information needs of numerous HR specialists and payroll technicians (i.e., the HRIS "customers") throughout the CIA.

The Lawson product was implemented to overcome the known year 2000 problems associated with the Agency's former payroll system. Initially, very few of the HR capabilities of the Lawson product were implemented other than those necessary to operate its payroll module.

There was no strategic direction for the Agency's HR Information System, and only minimal information existed about the mission of the system or about the HRIS government program organization (i.e., the government employees and contractors) that existed to operate and maintain the new system. Minard realized that she needed a performance measurement system to help her understand and explain how well her people, processes, and technology were performing and serving the needs of their customers.

After appointing a leadership team and partitioning the HR Information System responsibilities among each of the team's members, Minard sought the assistance of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), her systems engineering and technical assistance contractor, to help determine a strategic plan or road map for the future direction the system would need to take. (2) EDS was challenged to develop a method by which customer requirements for improved service and new system functionality could be captured, evaluated, and prioritized for incorporation within a future build of the CIA's HR Information System. Minard would then use this information to obtain the needed funding from the Agency's executives to make the needed HR Information System enhancements.

Several EDS and government staff formed a HR Information System Strategic Direction Team to develop the method to determine which customer requests for change and new functionality should become Minard's top priorities.

The balance of this article explains the methodology that was jointly developed by the CIA and EDS and used to evaluate how well the HR Information System (i.e., people, processes, and technology) was performing. The same methodology could be used to evaluate how well your own information system, HR-related or otherwise, is performing.

Methods and Tools

The HR Information System Strategic Direction Team developed a dozen criteria that could be used to evaluate each customer's request for new functionality. The criteria were clustered into three categories designed to assess the technical feasibility, political/cultural feasibility, and alignment of the request with other current and planned Agency initiatives. …

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