An information system (IS) avoids isolation among organizational units, provides a mechanism to exchange information and ideas across organizational boundaries allowing the opportunity of taking multiple perspectives into consideration during decision making and provides coherence and direction to the whole organization. An IS allows searching for shared information and then similar to any raw material, information can be processed or refined according to a certain plan or program and under certain conditions to generate new information. Information is capable of paying back much more than what has been initially paid to obtain it. The reusable nature of information signifies another important attribute associated with information system is the sharing of information over a course of time without any reduction in its value and effectiveness. The most valuable capability of an information system is it enables information to be available from multiple sources which leads to generation of knowledge. Added value as a result of information sharing takes place when a specific investment, like the purchase of a database, an electronic journal or book, is made; then what is purchased is downloaded into a system and made available to tens or even hundreds of end users. Until recently IS was only limited to sending emails, announcement, news letter, etc. and the concept of integrating IS in other disciplines of business operation was considered as unrealistic or unnecessary.
During the 1980’s a key issue in the management information systems was the growing sophistication of specialized information systems within the traditional functional areas of the organization. Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is one such system, which recently has become critical for the operations of personnel departments of large companies. During 1986, most organizations were using HRIS for personnel function, to ease the administrative workload of record keeping and pay administration, rather than a forecasting, analytical and decision support system. Reason for this low level usage of HRIS has stem from various reasons such as organizational size, culture, strategy, power and politics, and IT skills However, a fully utilized HRIS can result in managing human resources, especially for training and developmental purposes, planning, controlling, monitoring personnel and skill inventory.
HRIS is used to acquire, store, manipulate, analyze, retrieve, and distribute relevant information regarding an organization’s human resources. Users, managers, and employees who are unaware of the value-added potential of the HRIS system fail in development and implementation of HRIS and thus educating the users is critical. A question arises here that with so much focus on having a technological-based HR system in an organization and the need for educating employees about it, does that justify the need by providing any significant output or in other words value to the organization and its users? One answer to that can be found in the reduction of workload of the HR professionals from many routine paper handling tasks, thus relieving them to participate more in strategic decision making. Providing access to information via hierarchical structuring and networks is one of the most distinct ways of adding to the value of information. Due to the nature of information systems, information can be used and reused, i.e. its reusable unlike other assets in an organization. Another distinctive feature of information system is that there is no extent to which shared information can be used as compared to the investment made into it. In today’s world, HR function needs to shift its focus from being more administrative and transactional towards using information technology to harness the development of personnel and improve their performance.