HRIS Programme history

The key objective of the HRIS Programme was to replace OPENdoor and to achieve a fully supported university HR system. The following functional areas were covered by the implementation of CoreHR under the HRIS Programme:

  • Key personnel functions (terms and conditions of employment, contracts, maternity and sick leave, management of fixed-term contracts, etc)
  • Staff recruitment (including online recruitment)
  • Training administration
  • HR information and reporting (including HESA and equal opportunities monitoring)
  • Payroll costing reporting
  • Workflow to support electronic processes replacing paper forms
  • Replacement of existing interfaces to relevant IT systems
  • Additional interface to X5
  • Replacement of the Midland payroll bureau

Business process review and streamlining was undertaken hand-in-hand with each new area of system functionality.  During the HRIS Review support was secured for the principle that use of key components of the systems and processes will be compulsory, in order to achieve the agreed objectives.

The programme was headed by a board chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Personnel and Equality), Dr Stephen Goss. Five process groups reported into the programme board; they comprised departmental and divisional stakeholders and were charged with reviewing and, if necessary, changing and streamlining existing HR processes. A programme team made up of representatives from Personnel Services and IT Services, were responsible for the delivery of the Programme. The Director of Human Resources (Julian Duxfield) was the final Programme Sponsor, replacing Alison Cross, the previous Head of Personnel Services.


Through consultation across the University, which involved stakeholders and representatives from departments, divisions, and central teams, the following overarching aim was been agreed.

"Applicants, employees, managers and administrators will benefit from online systems which support the electronic flow of information through the University in support of smooth, efficient and streamlined HR business processes. As a result, system users across the University will be released from time-consuming paper-based administration and provided with easy-to-use tools to manage staff effectively throughout the employment lifecycle in order to satisfy institutional objectives. The systems and HR business processes will embed university personnel policy and practice and strengthen financial control. Data monitoring, reporting and analysis capabilities will match the needs of the institution."


The Blueprint statement is a high-level description of what the University aspired to achieve in terms of its business processes, people, information systems and facilities, and data following a successful implementation of a new HR system.

The process groups worked to ensure that this blueprint was implemented across each of the five process areas.

  • The University, throughout its devolved administration points and central services, and linking with colleges where appropriate, will provide a smooth, efficient and consistent employment and recruitment experience for all staff and applicants.
  • Administrators and line managers will benefit from a reduction in the burden of routine paper-based administration through the capture of data at source, the electronic transfer of information, and the elimination of duplicate data and processes. A review of HR business processes will be a key component of the implementation project, seeking to build on existing best practice and standardising processes designed to streamline employment administration as appropriate. The HR/payroll system will be fully compliant with current and future employment law, regulatory requirements, and university policy. Usage of the system will be mandatory where appropriate.
  • Over time, through the deployment of user-friendly on-line self-service3 facilities, staff will be able to keep the University informed of changes in personal information, actively manage their own personal development records, arrange their annual leave, record absence, etc.
  • Applicants will benefit from a more timely recruitment experience through the deployment of e-recruitment facilities. The data input by applicants will become the starting point for the employee record, and will support comprehensive equality and diversity monitoring.
  • Through the provision of a powerful and easy-to-use reporting technology, managers at every level of the University will be able to access the data they require - both for internal and external reporting - in the appropriate format, confident of its accuracy and relevance. Business intelligence tools will support the monitoring and analysis of institutional performance.
  • Roll-out of the system will be phased at an appropriate pace in line with an agreed and published implementation plan. All those working with HR information will receive timely and relevant training and on-going support from a dedicated process and training team based in Personnel Services. This team will be responsible for providing clear guidance on the practical application of HR policy as regards use of the new technology. IT user and system technical support will be provided by Business Services & Projects.
  • The new system will be capable of offering a bureau payroll service and other HR services to colleges and university subsidiary companies.
  • Removal of risk of OPENdoor failure
  • Process efficiencies and streamlining of HR processes
  • Reduce slow paper-based activity
  • Standard processes across all university departments
  • Strengthening of financial control and management
  • Improved data capture and quality of information - providing a reliable, single source of information through standard web service

The requirements gathering through user and stakeholder consultation, and the selection process informed a comprehensive business case identifying the options, costs and benefits associated with the replacement of OPENdoor. The various decision-making committees (i.e. Personnel Committee, Budget Sub-Committee, PRAC, and Council) reviewed the HRIS business case, including the recommended solution and supplier. At its meeting on 22 June 2009, Council approved the business case and the selection of Core International as providers of a new HRIS system.

The HRIS Programme implemented at a rate of change acceptable to the University.  The incremental approach was organised by use of a series of tranches - each with a set of defined outcomes and benefits. The programme consisted of five major work streams: Staff Recruitment, HR Toolkit, HR Planning & Control, HR Information, and Training, each with an associated process group actively supported by process groups chairs and populated by members of the user community.

Early in 2008, the Registrar established a review of the University's people-related information systems with a view to replacing the existing HR system, OPENdoor, in order to address the risk of a major system failure.

The HRIS Review was a major consultative exercise across a wide cross-section of stakeholders within the collegiate University to define the requirements for the new system; to document existing HR business processes; to explore potential solutions; and to learn from the experience of other complex organisations, including other Russell Group universities.

The review resulted in a business case, which listed options for replacing OPENdoor, and their associated costs and benefits.

As part of the Review more than 80 stakeholders with a major interest in the new HR system and processes were consulted. In addition, a User Consultation Group was established, comprising representatives from divisions, departments, and central service functions with an interest in HR information. The need for 'Business process' review and streamlining was highlighted by the user consultation, and endorsed by Council as a key part of the implementation programme. Five process groups were subsequently set up to guide the HRIS Programme. Most members of the User Consultation Group are now involved with one of the process groups.

The programme team explored the market to learn as much as possible about suppliers and their systems. The team also visited several UK universities and other organisations to learn from their experiences of implementing a new HR system.

The HRIS team conducted a thorough procurement exercise based on a comprehensive statement of requirements.