Modern technology has streamlined the operation of the HR function and dramatically increased the modern HR department’s capacity. Less than a century ago, all administrative tasks were handwritten or typed on paper. It wasn’t until the early 1940s that General Electric developed a mainframe computer system to process payroll and file tax information. Once HR opened the door to this technology, other business functions, such as accounting, sales, and supply chain management saw the value and rapidly developed computer applications for those and other processes. It wasn’t until the 1990s that HR departments and information management professionals returned to their collaboration, digitizing areas of HR management and incorporating them within a company’s existing management information system.
Since then, human resources information systems (HRIS) have developed swiftly, and today can manage nearly every area of HR management, including compensation and taxes, insurance and other benefits, compliance with an ever-expanding set of legal requirements and regulations, performance evaluations, and many others. This has dramatically impacted the way HR professionals work and has enhanced their ability to produce meaningful reports and analyses based on the broadest range of data imaginable.