Zoho has added a new module to its suite of business apps: a complete Web-based human resources system called Zoho People. Not being an HR professional I can't tell how well or poorly it compares with things like Taleo, but a quick run-through impressed me.
The app is, as all HR systems must be, a relational database of people, jobs, and departments, with complex rules on who can see what. In the Zoho case, there's also a self-service module so employees and managers can update certain records without going through HR. Zoho People also has some nice Web 2.0 features, such as the capability to create embeddable HTML code for a table of the company's job openings, to put it on a company site or blog.
Zoho People tackles the recruiting side of the HR equation with a full workflow system to handle the processing of resumes and candidates through the many people who deal with hiring.
When you do get someone hired, the app creates a checklist for all the things people in the company have to do for the new person (buy a computer, find an office, and so on). Of course, other activities create checklists too, and you can modify the components.
The system deals with tracking salaries, as well, but it is not a payroll app. It also tracks legal compliance issues (like Equal Employment Opportunity records and employee requests related to the Americans with Disabilities Act) but you'll have to bring your own lawyer.
The system even tracks employee travel approvals and expenses.
I worry about Zoho releasing so many apps so fast (see other Zoho coverage on Webware). It's one thing to build a complete suite of business apps, but quite another to build best-in-breed apps in each category. On the other hand, existing small business users of the Zoho suite will find this app welcome, and this app might help companies considering using a Web suite for productivity lean in favor of Zoho instead of another suite, like Google's.
I like where Zoho is going with this. HR software historically costs an arm and a leg, and Zoho is showing us that it needn't. Pricing on Zoho People isn't final, but Zoho's Raju Vegasna told me the app should cost around $50 a month for HR admins, with employee access running about $50 a year.