Buying Strategies

HRIS Requirements Builder

February 15, 2021
Brett Ungashick

One of the first steps in buying a new HRIS is establishing your functional requirements. This process can be challenging for businesses that don't know what functionality to look for, however. OutSail now makes it easy with a self-service tool

Before you start your HRIS evaluations and open yourself up to time-consuming sales calls and demos, it is important to have a clear idea of what you are looking for out of an HRIS.

Building out your functional requirements can be challenging, especially for those who do not have an HRIS or are operating on legacy platforms, and therefore do not know what to expect in the marketplace.

OutSail's free services help teams build out their requirements, and then uses that data to show buyers which vendors are the best match. If you're kicking off this process, it may be worth reaching out: Contact OutSail

If you prefer to build your requirements yourself, this article will provide a step-by-step guide to building an effective requirements document:

1.) Start High-Level

In general, we recommend that buyers start their requirements gathering process with the big picture in mind. Talk to your teammates and stakeholders and get an understanding of what buying priorities are most important to them.

A few of those high-level criteria could include: user experience, reporting capabilities, cost of ownership, product roadmap, vendor's track record and viability, integration capabilities, customer support model and more.

2.) Determine Scope

Once a team is clear on their high-level needs, the next step in the process is to determine which modules will be in scope for the purchase.

The typical modules available in an HRIS include: Payroll, HRIS/Employee Records, Benefits Admin, Onboarding, Time & Attendance, Applicant Tracking System (ATS), Performance, Comp & Succession and Learning

3.) Select Must-Have's and Nice-to-Have's

Now that you know what modules are included, go through each category and determine what functionality you will need in each area.

OutSail offers a self-service survey that will allow you to go through each module one-by-one and decide which functionality you need:

OutSail's HRIS Requirements Builder

Once you've completed the survey, the OutSail team can share your results with you, so you can have your responses handy.

4.) Gather Input from Other Stakeholders

Now that you have your key priorities and your functional requirements, it is always a good idea to share your list with peers in HR, finance and IT to make sure that everyone's priorities are included.

Your colleagues will be impressed by your initiative and organization, and will be glad to add their input to the project scope.


At this point, you should have a comprehensive list of functional requirements and desired outcomes. The next step in the process is to shortlist the right vendors. You can use this guide to aid you in the process: 3 Ways to Rule Out HRIS Vendors Without Getting on a Demo.

You can also reach out to the OutSail team and have them build you your own custom vendor shortlist report, at no cost. This report includes costs, integration capabilities and pros/cons of each vendor. Get a Vendor Report

Subscribe to OutSail's Newsletter

Get industry insights that you won't delete, straight in your inbox.
We use contact information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information, check out our Privacy Policy.
Brett Ungashick
Brett is the founder of OutSail. He spent the early part of his career selling HR software before switching sides and going to work for the people buying the software.

More news

HR Software

Cannabis-Friendly Payroll Software

Even in states where cannabis is legal, many cannabis-related businesses still encounter payroll and banking challenges. Finding the right cannabis-friendly payroll vendor can remove a huge burden from those businesses in terms of operational efficiency and legal compliance.

Read Article
Buying Strategies

HRIS Buying Timeline

Buying a new HRIS is a large project for organizations. Before committing to the process, it can be helpful to have a clear idea of what steps are involved and how long the project should take.

Read Article
Buying Strategies

Best Practices for Buying an HRIS

There are simple skills and processes that can help buyers be more effective when purchasing HR software. However, those processes are rarely taught in HR programs or SHRM continuous learning lessons. Here's a quick guide:

Read Article