How to Conduct a Successful HRIS System Demo

Trying to find the right HRIS partner can be challenging work. There are so many quality vendors on the market that can all present polished sales presentations. This makes it difficult to show up to a demo and expect to be able to discern the good from the bad. A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to demo meetings.

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
July 4, 2023
user comparing HRIS systems

Introduction: The Role of a System Demo in HRIS Selection

In today's digital age, Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) have become essential tools for organizations to manage their human resources effectively. An HRIS streamlines administrative tasks and enables companies to make data-driven decisions, improve employee engagement, and enhance overall HR processes.

However, with numerous HRIS options in the market, selecting the right system can be daunting. This is where conducting a successful HRIS system demo plays a crucial role. This article will explore the key steps to conducting an effective HRIS system demo, ensuring you find the system that best meets your organization's needs.

Preparing for the Demo: Understanding Your Needs

Before diving into the demo process, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your organization's unique requirements. Consider the following steps to ensure you are well-prepared for the HRIS system demo:

  1. Identify pain points and challenges: Start by identifying the specific pain points and challenges you currently face in your HR processes. This could include manual data entry, inefficient communication, lack of centralized information, or difficulty generating accurate reports. By understanding these pain points, you can focus on finding an HRIS system that addresses these specific needs.
  2. Determine critical functionalities and features: Consider the functionalities and features critical for your organization's HR operations. This might include modules for recruitment, onboarding, employee self-service, performance management, payroll, benefits administration, time and attendance tracking, or training management. Make a list of these requirements to ensure you can evaluate the system's ability to meet them during the demo.
  3. Consider scalability and future growth: Consider your organization's current size and future growth plans. Determine whether the HRIS system is scalable and can accommodate your organization's growth without significant limitations. Scalability is particularly important if you anticipate an increase in the number of employees, expansion into new markets, or changes in your HR processes over time.
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During the Demo: Evaluating Functionality, Usability, and Fit

When attending an HRIS system demo, it's important to focus on three key aspects: functionality, usability, and fit. Functionality refers to the capabilities and features of the system. Evaluate whether the system offers specific functionalities that align with your organization's needs. For example, if you require robust reporting capabilities, ensure the system provides comprehensive reporting options.

Usability is another crucial factor to consider during the demo. The system should be intuitive and user-friendly, allowing HR professionals and employees to navigate and perform tasks easily. A complex or cumbersome system may lead to frustration and reduced employee adoption rates.

In addition to functionality and usability, system fit is paramount. Consider whether the HRIS aligns with your organization's size, industry, and unique requirements. A system that works well for a large corporation might not be suitable for a small startup. Pay attention to industry-specific features, compliance requirements, and integration capabilities with your organization's other software.

Asking the Right Questions During the Demo

Asking the right questions during the demo is crucial to gather the necessary information. Consider the following key areas and prepare relevant questions:

  1. Data security: Inquire about the system's data security measures, including data encryption, access controls, and compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA.
  2. Customer support: Ask about the vendor's customer support options, response times, and availability. Understand the level of support you can expect during the implementation process and afterward.
  3. Implementation process: Seek information on the implementation timeline, potential challenges, and the vendor's support in the implementation phase. Understand the level of involvement your organization requires and the resources needed for a successful implementation.
  4. Training resources: Inquire about the training resources provided by the vendor. Assess whether they offer comprehensive training materials, tutorials, user guides, or onsite training sessions to ensure a smooth transition and efficient adoption of the HRIS system.
  5. Pricing structure: Ask about the pricing model, licensing fees, and any additional costs associated with the system. Understand the terms and conditions related to the pricing and ongoing maintenance or support fees.

After the Demo: Assessing and Comparing Systems

Once you have attended multiple HRIS system demos, it's time to assess and compare the systems to make an informed decision. Consider the following steps:

Step 1: Structured evaluation framework:

Create a structured evaluation framework to assess each system based on your organization's requirements objectively. This framework can include functionality, usability, system fit, vendor reputation, cost, data security, customer support, and scalability. Assign weights or scores to each factor to quantify their importance in decision-making.

Step 2: Stakeholder feedback:

Seek feedback from key stakeholders who attended the demos. Their insights and perspectives can provide valuable additional viewpoints to consider. Gather their opinions on each system's strengths and weaknesses, and consider their preferences and concerns.

Step 3: Consider vendor stability and long-term support:

Evaluate the stability of the HRIS vendor by assessing their reputation, industry experience, and financial stability. Research their track record and consider factors such as customer satisfaction, client retention rates, and their ability to adapt and innovate in response to evolving HR technology trends. Additionally, inquire about their long-term support plans and future system enhancements or upgrades.

Step 4: Request references and case studies:

Reach out to the HRIS vendors and request references or case studies from their existing clients. This will provide insights into the practical experiences of other organizations using the system. Ask about their satisfaction with the system, challenges faced during implementation, and the vendor's ongoing support.

Step 5: Consider system scalability and integration capabilities:

Assess whether the HRIS system can scale with your organization's growth and whether it can seamlessly integrate with other systems or software your organization uses. Consider future requirements and ensure the system can accommodate changes in your HR processes or technology landscape.

By following these steps, you can effectively assess and compare the HRIS systems after the demos, enabling you to make an informed decision that aligns with your organization's needs and objectives.

Conclusion: Making the Most of HRIS Demos

Conducting a successful HRIS system demo is crucial in selecting the right system for your organization. By preparing adequately, evaluating functionality, usability, and fit during the demo, and asking the right questions, you can gain valuable insights into each system's capabilities. Following the demos, a thorough assessment and comparison of the systems will help you make an informed decision.

Remember, selecting an HRIS is a long-term investment, so consider your organization's current needs and future growth and requirements. By following the steps outlined in this article, you will be well-equipped to find an HRIS that optimizes your HR processes, empowers your employees, and contributes to your organization's overall success.

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Meet the Author

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
Brett Ungashick, the friendly face behind OutSail, started his career at LinkedIn, selling HR software. This experience sparked an idea, leading him to create OutSail in 2018. Based in Denver, OutSail simplifies the HR software selection process, and Brett's hands-on approach has already helped over 1,000 companies, including SalesLoft, Hudl and DoorDash. He's a go-to guy for all things HR Tech, supporting companies in every industry and across 20+ countries. When he's not demystifying HR tech, you'll find Brett enjoying a round of golf or skiing down Colorado's slopes, always happy to chat about work or play.


Everything you need to know about OutSail
What is OutSail?
OutSail is the first-ever broker of HR Software. We offer market insights, evaluation tools & advisory services to help organizations research, evaluate and select the right HR software. And best of all - OutSail is free!
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OutSail is free due to our one-of-a-kind software broker model. When a company makes a purchase through OutSail, the winning vendor owes us a small fee for making the introduction.

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