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#8 – OrangeHRM – Human Resource Management

OrangeHRM is a web-based PHP/MySQL app which I’m confident will be unknown to most readers but hopefully will pique your interest.

OrangeHRM is, as its name suggests, a human resource information system. The project team have a roadmap detailing where they want to head, with three major facilities available now. The first is fairly obvious, capturing personal details of staff members along with name, contact details, next of kin, salary and so forth. A photograph and any supporting documents like a resume or copies of licenses can be attached.

Secondly, reports can be constructed from a range of custom search criteria and fields. The report definition can be saved and re-executed at any time. This allows HR to quickly identify staff based on the requirement at hand, be it all members of a certain team, foreign nationals whose working visas are due to expire, all employees who have attained a specific educational qualification or any other circumstance that can be imagined.

The third major facility of OrangeHRM is a comprehensive leave management module. This provides entire workflow for an employee to request leave, with any number of approvers being able to review the request. Approved leave is recorded in a company calendar. At each stage, the appropriate people are notified of the status of the request and any actions he or she must take. This alone is of great benefit to many companies whether small or large saving both paper and time, as well as showing at a glance who will be away on any given day or week.

This last feature can't be underemphasised. Let's walk through it: an employee, Bill, say, logs on to OrangeHRM from his desk to submit a request to take time off - whether a single day or a couple of weeks or more. His supervisor is notified right away. The request is approved or rejected. If it's rejected, Bill gets a note back to this effect with hopefully some comments. If it is approved, again Bill is notified, but so too are any relevant staff - like HR and payroll - and the leave is recorded against Bill's file and is listed in a public calendar. This is a boon to any business with more than a few employees. There's no filling in paperwork and worrying where the form has got to, there's no wondering how many people are absent on any particular day. This automates a very common and essential business process.

OrangeHRM is accessible to any staff member but offers finely-grained security. This allows HR staff full access, but means ordinary employees may only view and edit their own data. Any conceivable combination of security options can be defined and applied to any user or group of users. Managers, for instance, may be given read-only access to any member of their team.

With future plans including recruitment, performance and training modules, OrangeHRM is definitely an information system that will only grow in usefulness to any organisation. Even very small businesses can benefit, consolidating and filing all staff records in a single electronic spot.

One thing I find personally of interest is that OrangeHRM has a visual style reminiscent of another popular open source marketing and contacts web-based system called SugarCRM. I could find no statements that OrangeHRM is an add-on to SugarCRM, or that it shares source code or integrates with it in any way. Perhaps there is no relationship and the team just took a penchant to SugarCRM’s style, but if OrangeHRM can easily be used to extend SugarCRM I feel the developers would do well to promote that fact and capitalise on its installed base.


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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.