Technical Insights from a System Integration Engineer

April 12, 2022


Written by Troy Robinson


My role at HRchitect is Technical Consultant, and I specialize in systems data integration. My role on most consulting projects is the role of Integration Engineer. This is a fancy term for the person that helps get your HR employee data flowing between your different HR systems, like syncing timesheet data to your payroll system.

Many times, during the process of integrating multiple HR systems, this leads to additional technical consulting needs being uncovered. A question I hear during every project, albeit in different use cases, is:

“We need the system to do XYZ, to meet our business processes. Can you make that happen?”

Most of the time, the answer is yes. Your Integration Engineer can perform back-end technical work to get the desired output that meets your business processes by using the available APIs, web services, and scripting solutions.

However, knowing that we can make something work doesn’t always mean that we should make it work for the good of your HR team and your organization.

When an Integration Engineer pauses before answering your question, I promise they’re not trying to rain on your company’s parade. Your Integration Engineer is thinking about the long-term supportability of this code they are about to dream up and write for you. Items that need to be taken into consideration are:

  • How is the custom code developed and used?
  • What is the long-term impact? It’s critical to consider your future ability to perform system upgrades and the impact to future testing plans for those upgrades.

It is a delicate balance of wanting to provide the absolute best solution to meet your requirements and, at the same time, trying to save you money in the long run. Sometimes, the business requirements help dictate the answer to those go/no go questions related to custom coding, but it’s worth noting early in the project. Overall, your consulting partner’s goal is always to provide you with the best implementation configuration that meets your business requirements, following vendor best practices.

Sometimes we run into system limitations that result in a business process not being able to be met via custom code. It’s tough to have to tell someone:

“No, sorry, the system does not offer that functionality. Future software releases may meet your requirements, but currently, the system cannot do what you are asking it to do.”

Rest assured that we’ve explored every possible workaround before sharing this news with you.

So, when an Integration Engineer cannot custom code a solution for you, what happens next? Compromise, in the form of a change to business processes, is usually the answer. A business process change is actually a very good thing. Moving from your homegrown system to a new system can actually be a very good thing. Some business process changes are expected when you deploy a new system.

Moving from your home-grown or on-premise solution to a cloud-based SaaS solution is the perfect opportunity to evaluate all of your business processes and make adjustments so that your business processes are more efficient and sustainable for a cloud-based software environment.

The mindset of “Our previous system did it this way” or “This is how we have always done it” should not be reason to force the new hosted system into performing code gymnastics to meet your legacy system’s requirements. Resisting change is human nature, but resistance to change is usually the biggest hurdle in a system implementation project. Shake that mindset off and look at this system change as a natural opportunity to improve internal business processes!

In rare instances, it’s possible that your organization did not select the correct HCM technology solution for your specific requirements, or work through the detail of your business processes in the sales discussions. In that scenario, no matter what you try to change from a business process standpoint, you’re likely to have a bumpy implementation experience with extra costs for change orders, add-on products, additional middleware, and general project frustration.

So, how can HRchitect help? If you’re mid-implementation and are in need of system integration and technical consulting, we’re a resource for that. If you’re earlier on in the process and want to ensure the system you choose can meet all of your organization’s business requirements, talk to HRchitect about a secure System Evaluation & Selection. Request a Consultation today!


Troy Robinson is an HCM Integration Engineer with more than 20 years of experience as a software consultant. In his role at HRchitect, he leverages his unique experience as both a consultant and end-user of HCM systems to lead clients through successful workforce management systems implementations.


Learn more about Troy on LinkedIn.