Top 12 free HR Software

Just came across a nice review of the top 12 free and open source HR Software solutions here.

It is good to see the leading open source HR solutions highlighted and reviewed there as well.

These include A1 eHR, OrangeHRM, Deskera, IceHRM



OrangeHRM Releases Version 3.12

Open Source HRM provider for small-mid organizations, OrangeHRM has released a new version of their HR Suite, Orange HRM 3.12.

This recent release includes features that are client-centered and security improvements. “…For this release, OrangeHRM’s engineering team wanted to make sure that information data continues to meet the highest security compliance levels. One such improvement was to improve the password hash security by using bcrypt to generate the password hash. Although all versions of our open source products and add-ons have been secure, this adds another layer of security to our platform for the ongoing protection of user data…”

You can find the news release here

Automating HR tasks using open source BPM solutions…


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While previously I have reviewed open source HR software from the applications side, there is also an interesting area that deserves mention.

Open source business process management (BPM) solutions such as BonitaSoft and Wira now have pre-built business processes that automate some of the most common HR tasks such as:

  • Employee Onboarding
  • Employee Leave Management
  • Recruitment and Selection

Interestingly for those who would like to have an easy start to HR, but without the depth that full blown open source HR applications such as A1 eHR provide, using a BPM solution might just suffice!

Open source BPM solutions also have the added advantage of automating even the most complex HR business processes due to their use and conformation to the BPMN Standard.

Nirvana would, however, would be HR Applications that use BPM solutions to automate their business processes and I should write about that soon.


Open Source Time & Attendance Solutions…


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Going through open source hr solutions, looking for integrated time & attendance solutions, it seems that on the very least basic time & attendance functionality is available.

OrangeHRM, catering to the SME market has the basic functionality as shown here (

A1 eHR also has some interesting news from their blog about their Time & Attendance module as found here ( As expected the depth to cater for a global workforce of a Mid-Large organization is there.

The big news from A1 eHR is in use of mobile devices for check-in/out, this is a feature at par with some of the leading human resource applications globally.

Looking at specialized solutions, I see TimeTrex has a very specialized open source vertical for Time & Attendance. This could be very well integrated with open source hr solutions that do not have inbuilt Time & Attendance inbuilt.

OpenSourceHR Guy

A1 eHR releases ePayroll!


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Big news for open source hr; A1 eHR, the leading open source solution for mid-large firms has released A1 ePayroll.

From our short review, A1 ePayroll is a fully web- based solution that includes Global Payroll capabilities as well as employee self-service in matters related to payroll.

There are also extensions for Loans Management in a fully automated application – approval process for employees.

For those interested, mode details can be found on the A1 blog here

We will be posting an in-depth review of A1 ePayroll capabilities in a later blog.

New Hot Trends in HR Technology


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Looks like the HR Market is ripe for new disruption! According to a recent research, 25% of firms are in the market for a new HR System, replacing the age-old legacy systems that have previously been in place.

The biggest disruption is probably going to be in use of Mobile and SaaS, and here is an article from Forbes listing the hottest trends in HR.

It will be interesting to see how Open Source HR Software firms will respond to this. At least a few vendors, A1 eHR, OrangeHRM, have already started their SaaS and Mobile offerings and only time will tell how well they will perform in this market.

But, considering that most open source hr software has only come of age recently, it would be fair to say that they should adapt a lot easily than the entrenched vendors who have to migrate their legacy clients to new technologies.

A1 eHR, OrangeHRM release new HR versions.

The world of open source hr has been quiet lately, but it looks like things are warming up again with the release of A1 eHR 1.5.

It seems A1 eHR has gone down the path of making a really competitive solution for the mid-large market with addition of modules such as global payroll, staff housing, transport management, gate pass & security management that would be of more relevance to mid-large firms.

A quick review of this solution seems that it can more than match the Tier 1 proprietary HR solutions such as from Peoplesoft, SAP & Oracle.

A quick look can be found here

OranheHRM has also released version 3.0 of their hr system with a completely re-engineered interface that meets the latest standards while focusing on usability improvements. 3.0 plans to enrich your experience with OrangeHRM while it can be now accessed via mobile and tablet PC browsers with ease.

We will be reviewing the new indepth features of these two flagship open source hr systems shortly.

Open Source HR: Employee Profile Management review


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This, after the initial setup, is the first port of call for most human resource software as they mainly center around the employee.

Various open source solutions have implemented this differently, the difference being the level of data that the solution captures as well as how it then maps this to the organization.

In our review I will briefly review what each provider has provided, the details and also any strengths and weaknesses.

A1 eHR

The employee profile is extensive as to be expected of a solution targeting the Mid-Large sector. By default captures employee details such as Staff Profile, Qualifications, Family Details. The Staff Profile goes ahead and captures data such as Personal Details, Family Details, Academic & Professional Qualifications, Organization Structure Reports, Employment & Deployment History, Contacts & Referee Information, Assets Assigned, Clearance Checklist etc

It allows for fully automated self-service where certain fields can be locked by the HR Admin such that for an employee to change them an approval request that goes through a pre-determined workflow is activated.

The employee profile trades thoroughness and comprehensive data for quick entry. However, it could be that not all the details are required for one to get started off.

Deskera HRMS

Deskera is a new open source platform that provides ERP, CRMS, HRMS & other modules. The employee profile is basic, and captures relevant information needed to use the rest of the modules in HR. The information captured initially is much less than the average HR application. This is not to say that the other HR modules are not up to scrtach, as some of them like Performance Management are pretty good.

The employee profile captures Personal Details, Dependant Details, Contact & Workshift Details, Organization Details, Qualification & Employment Details.


The employee profile is brief but detailed enough, and as expected for a solution targeted mainly at the SME market. By default it captures Personal Details, Contact Details, Emergency Contacts,  Dependents, Immigration, Job, Salary, Report To, Qualifications, Memberships information.

The employee profile is brief and would more than suffice for the SME market, but would need to be upgraded for larger and/or global corporates.


The level of detail in the employee profile is largely almost similar to OrangeHRM and as two products that target the SME market, this is to be expected. The employee profile covers Personal Information, Emergency Contacts, Manager & Reportees, Education Details, Salary, Benefits, Leave Scheme, Company Properties,Dependents, Previous Employment History, Issued Letters.

From my analysis and experience, open source HR solutions can meet the needs of most firms and especially so at the SME level. As they continue to mature, they will start creeping up the ladder to provide enough functionality for the larger corporate market and indeed a couple of them such as A1 eHR and maybe possibly Deskera could be used in larger organizations.

Top 5 Open Source HRM; Technical details compared.


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There is a wide variety of technology platforms used across the various open source hrm solutions. I have tried to indicate their technology platforms and underpinnings as the first step in reviewing these solutions. If, however, there are inaccuracies in this brief technical evaluation, put it as a comment, with a link to the documentation supporting the new information and I will definitely update with the new information.

Why is technology platform important? Largely the technology platform determines in what market sector the application plays. Another way of looking at it is, depending on what market a technology vendor wants to play, he decides on the best technology to use.

Generally, most business solutions targeted at the SME market will make extensive use of the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). On the other hand, you find that Java and databases such as Postgres and Oracle are to be found in the mid-large markets.

Why? The reason is basically a trade-off between performance vs ease of configuration & use. LAMP solutions tend to be easy to setup and use from get-go, while most business solutions for mid-large businesses done using Java tend to need professional consulting to setup.

  A1 eHR IceHRM OrangeHRM Simple HRM Waypoint HR
Database PostgreSQL MySQL MySQL MySQL MySQL
App-Server J2EE None None None None
Language Java PHP PHP PHP PHP
Web-Client Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Customization AD PHP PHP    
Multi Role Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multi-Tenant Yes No Yes No No
SaaS No No Yes No No
Multi-Org Yes No No No No


  1. Database: What database does the solution use to store its data
  2. Application Server: In case of a 3-Tier solutions, what application servers does it use?
  3. Language: What development language is used to develop the solution
  4. Web-Client: Is the solution web-enabled?
  5. Customization: How do you customize and / or extend the solution?
  6. Multi – Role, Multi-User: Does the solution allow for multiple roles and users to be setup in a single instance?
  7. Multi-Tenant: Does the solution allows for the saving of data on many different companies into one database, while ensuring the data integrity such that one cannot see or view the other’s data.
  8. Multi-Organization: Does the solution allow for more than one organization to be setup in one database
  9. SaaS: Does the vendor offer this solution as Software As As Service?
  10. AD: Application Dictionary

Where is Open Source Human Resource Software?

This is a question that is asked often, but rarely do we have a good answer.

This site will be dedicated to open source human resource software! Everything from news, reviews, comparisons on open source human resource software will be here.

Where do we start? How about I list the most popular and known human resource software, then I go ahead in subsequent blogs to review these software, one-by-one, categorize them, and hopefully we’ll open the door to whats available.

In order (alphabetical)

  1. A1 eHR
  2. Deskera HRMS
  3. ICeHRM
  4. OrangeHRM
  5. SimpleHRM
  6. Waypoint HR

Above is the list of comprehensive open source human resource software. For a product to make it to the list above, it must have a number of common hr modules such as Employee Profile, Leave & Abcence Management, Recruitment, Separation etc

There are a couple of open source human resource applications that maybe address one of these modules, those I will review later in their own specific categories.

Next stop, reviewing above solutions for fit & purpose.