hSenid Business Solutions: The Sri Lankan multinational driving a global HR transformation

In the realm of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), hSenid Business Solutions is a local pioneer. At its inception, the company was among the 1st to introduce true HR systems to Sri Lanka. Today, the company has grown tremendously with offices in 6 countries. Likewise, its products have evolved greatly to empower several large organizations both locally and internationally. Recently, hSenid Business Solutions launched PeoplesHR Neon – the latest version of its HRIS to meet the evolving HR needs of a millennial workforce. Here’s how the company grew from a startup to a multinational that continues to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs of HR departments everywhere. 

From Startup to Indengious Sri Lankan Multinational

Reflecting on their beginnings, Sampath Jayasundara – CEO of hSenid Business Solutions shares, “When we started, there were many payroll systems but no HR systems. We had to bring training & development, performance appraisal, recruitment, Talent management, and several other areas on top of operational HR and payroll. HR is a broad area. We are the pioneers that introduced HR systems to Sri Lanka in the late ’90s. Since then, our products have evolved considerably to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients.” 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
The story of hSenid began in February 1997 when Dinesh Sapparamadu – Chairman of hSenid had a fateful conversation at a Rotaract meeting and offered to build an HR system for the guest speaker

Since its inception in 1997, hSenid has built 9 versions of its HR system. Many of which first found life inside some of the largest conglomerates in Sri Lanka. When one looks into the evolutionary journey of these products, it’s akin to a walk through time to see how enterprise technology has evolved. 

The original HR system by hSenid was born as a desktop application, which required servers to be installed onsite. In a time when companies were only beginning to understand the power of computing, these systems were groundbreaking. As technology progressed, the company was quick to utilize innovations into its product. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
Sampath Jayasundara – CEO of hSenid Business Solutions, looking back on the company’s journey with pride as they were among the pioneers to introduce true HR systems to Sri Lanka

Describing this evolution, Sampath shared, “From client-based systems, we went to web-based systems. Back in 2000, we were the 1st to introduce ASP-based payroll to the market.” Now in 2020, hSenid’s latest HR system – PeoplesHR Neon, operates in the cloud, accessible on a wide range of devices anywhere in the world, and serves millions. With a strong track record of adapting to technology and the evolving nature of HR, hSenid has built a global footprint with its solutions being utilized beyond Sri Lanka. 

In 2005, hSenid entered the APAC region by opening an office in Singapore. Only a year later, the company also expanded into Africa. As time progressed, over 15 years hSenid has established a strong presence in Asia and Africa. Particularly in the APAC and East African regions. With this success, the company also expanded its global team. While Sri Lanka remains the hub where innovation is born, hSenid has offices in India, Australia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Singapore. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
Today, hSenid operates in 35 countries and has 1200+ companies utilizing its products. Recently, the company celebrated 14 years in Africa, where it works with large manufacturers and even governments. 

Describing hSenid’s journey, Sampath said, “At the moment, we have 1,200+ companies utilizing our product, which has been deployed in 35 countries across the world. So we proudly consider ourselves to be an indigenous Sri Lankan multinational company. We have offices operating in 6 countries, which are all managed by the head office located here in Colombo.” 

PeoplesHR Neon: The HRIS for a millennial workforce

“It’s an HR system built for the millennial generation. It’s built with social features to foster engagement, offer performance, and high security,” is how Asitha Goonewardena – Chief Product Owner describes PeoplesHR Neon. This is the latest HR system by hSenid Business Solutions. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
Sampath and Asitha pictured at the event announcing the launch of PeoplesHR Neon, the latest version of the HRIS by hSenid Business Solutions. (Image credits: hSenid Business Solutions)

Being a cloud-based system, PeoplesHR Neon offers several benefits to organizations. One of them is the ease of scalability. “Our earlier versions supported several large-scale organizations. Now we’re also expanding our support to governments, where the system needs to support 10 times more individuals. With PeoplesHR Neon we confidently say we can easily support 50 employees to 500,000+ employees,” explained Asitha. 

Adapting to the needs of millennials in the workforce

In the era of a millennial workforce, every self service feature of this HR system is accessible on any mobile device or any kiosk terminal. Whether an employee is applying for leave or if the Head of HR needs to access an employee record, both of them can do so from anywhere with a few taps on their phone. Of course, it’s not merely about making HR accessible on mobile. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
Being a cloud-based system, every self service feature of PeoplesHR Neon is available on every device, including smartphones. (Image credits: hSenid Business Solutions)

Asitha went on to share that hSenid has built several social features into the system. A necessity in the age of the millennial workforce. To that end, the company built a social network called Juraa. It offers organizations their customized social network where employees can connect and discuss ideas. 

Such features are a reminder that the workforce has changed drastically in the past decade. Describing this change, Sampath explained, “How you treat a Generation X employee and a millennial is very different. Even things like going to the office and working 9 to 5 have become immaterial. HR needs to adapt to this.” 

Empowering leaders with data to make the right decision

This has resulted in uncertain times for HR where many established tenets are being questioned. Hence, PeoplesHR Neon aims to give corporate leaders the data they need to make the right decisions. Towards this, the system harnesses the power of AI to offer advanced analytics and simulations. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
With HR entering uncharted territory, PeoplesHR Neon offers several features around analytics to help leaders make decisions backed by data. (Image credits: hSenid Business Solutions)

These features can be described as: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. Descriptive analytics offer corporate leaders an overview of the HR status within their organization. Diagnostic analytics identify the reason behind different patterns in the overview. Predictive analytics allow leaders to simulate the results for the future of any other actions they take. Prescriptive analytics will support the HR how to navigate the organization to control what is going to happen. 

In other words, with PeoplesHR Neon an organization can analyse their labour turnover patterns. Assuming the organization has a high turnover, the system would analyse historical data to identify the root cause. It would then offer different solutions to address the issue and simulate the potential results of these solutions.   

One size fits all: The HR system meeting the specialized needs of all 

Since its inception, hSenid has been a company working with large conglomerates across industry verticals. “Currently, we operate in 18 very unique industrial segments, we specialize in 4 verticals in global markets,” explained Sampath. These 4 verticals are banking and finance, manufacturing, hospitality, and retail. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
Banking & Finance, manufacturing, hospitality, and retail are the 4 verticals in which, hSenid specializes in. Nevertheless, the company is easily able to adapt to the needs of other industries. 

Currently, 50+ financial institutions utilize hSenid’s HR systems. These institutions include famous names such as Hatton National Bank, DFCC Bank, Sampath Bank, Nations Trust Bank, LB Finance, and Bank of China. In the retail industry, Gill Capital, which manages the franchise of H&M in Asia, also utilizes hSenid’s systems for its HR requirements across the APAC region. Even in Sri Lanka, you’ll find the retail operations of Softlogic, Abans, JayKay Marketing – the parent company of Keells Super, and several other conglomerates are reliant on these systems. 

Looking towards the manufacturing industry, you’ll find local giants like Brandix, Omega Line, and Timex, also utilizing a version of hSenid’s HR systems. Even internationally, companies in this sector turn to hSenid to manage their HR needs. One such company is Style Industries, which operates in Uganda, Kenya, & Tanzania.

Similarly, in the hospitality industry, several hotel chains including Cinnamon Hotels, Jetwing Hotels, and Aitken Spence Hotels are among its clientele. A sector, which Sampath confirmed, “Has very unique HR requirements.” Of course, this statement applies to each of the other verticals as well. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
While hSenid specializes in 4 industries, it’s easily capable of adapting to the unique needs of other industries. By adapting the unique needs of companies like Sri Lankan catering, the company has found much success (Image credits: Aviation Voice) 

By meeting these unique requirements, hSenid has found much success. As Sampath describes in his own words, “We can cater to the needs of any industry. Sri Lankan Airlines has been using our systems for the past 20 years. Yet there are very specific requirements for the subsystems utilized by Sri Lankan catering. Because we were able to cater to these specific needs, Taj catering, Royal Brunei catering, and Royal Brunei Airlines also decided to use our systems.” Furthermore, their systems are also utilized by the Kenyan and Ugandan governments, with the latter adopting it for 400,000 government servants in 300 institutions. 

How hSenid builds a product to meet every HR need

It’s no easy task to build an HR system that’s flexible to meet the needs of several industries. It’s an even greater challenge to stay ahead of the curve to see how HR practices will evolve in these industries. To tackle these issues, hSenid has an internal R&D team exploring how HR will evolve. Further, it’s project teams are in constant communication with their clients to identify their needs. 

Working together, these teams benchmark hSenid’s offerings against those from its global leading competitors. Additionally, they also closely listen to their existing clients to identify their future needs and best practices, which can apply to others in their industry. Through this process, the company develops a detailed roadmap for features and technicalities. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
Asitha Goonewardena – Chief Product Owner at hSenid Business Solutions shares that the company has detailed roadmaps to proactively meet the HR needs of the future. 

Explaining this process, Asitha said, “Thanks to our teams, we know what our customer expectations will be in 3 to 5 years into the future. So we can build a strong roadmap. HR is a norm where every company has their unique practices. That’s why nothing is static with the product. It’s dynamic where we can identify features, develop a workable solution, and plug it into the core product seamlessly.” 

Paired with this process, cloud computing has extended the flexibility of hSenid’s HR systems. Today, the company maintains a single codebase of its product in the cloud. This allows each of its clients to run their unique instance of the product, which has a customized set of rules to meet their unique requirements. Ultimately, this allows much of the complexity around HR to be in the backend, thereby bringing simplicity into the entire process. 

Looking towards the future 

Since its inception in the early ‘90s, hSenid Business Solutions has come a long way. While headquartered in Colombo, the company has offices in 6 countries. Collectively, it has a team of 240 talented individuals. As they continue on this journey of growth, Sampath emphasized hSenid’s strong focus to offer growth opportunities for its employees. 

hSenid | HR | HR systems
Over the course of 23 years, hSenid Business Solutions has grown from a local startup to an indigenous multinational. Looking to the future, the company aims to build a globally famous local brand and contribute to the development of the country. (Image credits: hSenid Business Solutions) 

“The skills needed for a local HRIS implementation are different from those required for global implementation. So as we grow, we’re investing heavily in developing both the hard skills and soft skills of our employees,” stated Sampath. To that end, the company assists its employees by covering the costs of any educational qualifications they apply for – be it a certification or a masters programme. 

Further, it works to maintain an open-door culture where anyone can speak and learn from anyone at any time. A necessity to ensure true learning and the exchange of ideas to foster innovation. It’s this focus towards growth and innovation that best describes its vision for the future. In his own words, Sampath boldly elaborated, “We are an indigenous multinational company. We love Sri Lanka and wish to see it develop into a more prosperous nation. Hence, our goal is to build a globally famous Sri Lankan brand.” 

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