Dominion Systems' expanded platform simplifies the back office

This post was originally found on The Grand Rapids Business Journal

Historically known for its data processing and online payroll software, Grand Rapids-based Dominion Systems has focused on building out its all-in-one software to streamline the hiring, payroll and benefits process for employers.

The software company, 401 Hall St. SW, was established in 1970 as a data-processing business and over the last 40 years has expanded its portfolio to include payroll, time and attendance solutions. Recently, it has focused on developing efficient human resource management tools.

Dominion Systems currently offers online payroll, time and attendance, HR and benefits, and employee self-service products to more than 650 clients in West Michigan and across the state.

Jud Highhill, president and CEO, said the company has evolved to include several human resource products since it is often difficult to draw the line between payroll and HR management as the information applies to both operations.

“In our software you are able to keep different skills your employees may have, review dates and bring on new hires through our applicant tracking process. We have benefits administration, so your employees can sign up for their benefits online through our system,” said Highhill.

“Traditionally in the human resource world, they spend a lot of time feeding their employees information … and all of that has been available through our employee self-service portal.”

Paul Nysse, marketing team lead at Dominion Systems, said human resource managers now are assuming more payroll responsibilities, which led the company to build out its platform to include both payroll and human resources.

“We feel applicant tracking is a significant product in the human resource industry,” said Nysse. “We just previously finished doing a benefits portal, which was quite huge in the HR industry.”

Recognized in March 2014 as one of 50 Companies to Watch in Michigan by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, Dominion Systems released an updated version of its Employee Self-Service platform in May, a new benefits administration product in July, and a redesigned leave-management portion within the ESS product in November.

The company released an updated version of its applicant tracking software Jan. 30 to streamline the hiring process. It includes features such as one centralized applicant hub for cover letters, résumés and employee profiles; a web-based platform; and a dashboard summary for statistics and analytics.

The initial launch of the software product coincided with the economic downturn around 2008, Nysse said, and not many clients were interested in it due to a lack of hiring. However, in the last year, he said, there has been an increase in need.

“A lot of people are starting to hire,” said Nysse. “When we go out and talk to current (clients) — or prospective clients, for that matter — they are all kind of talking about what (we) can do to help with applicant tracking. So we decided to take that on as a company and make it more user-friendly for a lot of our clients.”

Since the team at Dominion Systems has done the majority of the programming and developing of the software products in-house over the years, Highhill said the company has been able to build the management solutions on a single source database. By eliminating the need to interface multiple products, information flows freely from employees who want to review attendance policies and payroll.

“It allows an easy migration of data between different people in the organization who might have their hands in that. There is no need to sync up any systems,” said Highhill.

“Most of our competitors, when they want to have a new product, they will go out and buy a standalone piece of software and then integrate it into their current platform … and end up with a little bit less of a fluid product, I would say.”

The average investment for each new product developed at Dominion ranges from $400,000 to $500,000, according to Nysse. The programming and design of the benefits portal took nine months, while the applicant tracking took three to four months.

As the company continues to look for strategies to streamline the back end of business operations, Nysse said the Dominion team is trying to close the loop on the hiring process with a new “on-boarding” section within the applicant tracking system.

“When you are hired by a company, during that process of submitting a résumé, you fill out a lot of personal information … and a lot of the time when you are actually hired at the end of the process, you have to fill out the information again. We thought it was a little tedious,” said Nysse.

“So when someone applies to your company, all of the information will eventually sync into the payroll aspect and pretty much be all there for the first day.”

Not only is the on-boarding product designed to reduce a very paper-heavy process, but also it pushes the electronic forms into a document management system that is accessible to company administrators at a later date, according to Highhill.

“Our on-boarding product is going to allow administrators to send a link to their new employee, with all the electronic versions,” said Highhill.

“On the back end, once you have those forms filled out, you need to keep those organized if you ever get in a situation where you are audited or you have some incident where you have to go back and refer to those forms. You need to be able to get at them easily.”