If you’re looking to virtualize a portion of your business,
why not start with HR? With the help of VirtualBox, and a few virtual machines,
you can easily have a number of powerful tools to make your human resources
department run smoothly. The good thing about virtual appliances, they are
incredibly quick to deploy as well as cost effective. All you need is a server,
VirtualBox, a downloadable virtual appliance, and a little time. Once you’re up
and running, the human resources department will thank you for handing over the
keys to a world of efficient work flow and power.

But where do you get these virtual appliances and which ones
should you try? I’ve narrowed down the list to five and have them here for you
to discover. Read on to determine if one (or more) of these appliances will
serve your HR department.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Five Apps

1. Orange HRM

Orange HRM
is clearly the leader in human resource management. This powerful open source
system is used by over a million companies world-wide and offers features like:
Employee information management, employee absence management, recruitment
management, employee performance evaluation, employee self-service, and other
HR-specific management tools. Orange HRM is an ideal system for small to medium
sized businesses looking to give their human resource department the power to
manage all aspects of employees from a single, web-based portal. And since
Orange HRM is modular, you can add and remove modules as needed. Should you
need support for Orange HRM, you can choose from one of their
support plans
.

2. Process Maker

Process
Maker
is a system that helps you improve the workflow performance. By analyzing
inefficiencies and bottlenecks, Process Maker will build specific and in-depth
reports to help you fine tune how your business runs. Process Maker also allows
you to set up automated notifications and offers an easy to use web-based
interface. And with the Dynaform Builder, you can create specific forms focused
on improving the workflow between employees, departments, and more. With a
drag-and-drop interface, Process Maker offers a user-friendly experience that
just about any HR staff member can get up to speed with (so long as they have
an understanding of report and form building).

3. Phreedom

Phreedom
is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that allows the small business
to enjoy some of the same tools enterprise-level businesses employ. With this
virtual appliance you can: Track inventory, manage accounting and contracts,
handle check writing, do bank account reconciliation, and much more. Although
Phreedom offers much more than most small businesses need, it is a superb means
of tracking resources within your company to help build a much more reliable
and efficient workflow. Phreedom also offers a plug-in system that allows you
expand beyond the standard capability.

4. vTiger

vTiger is
specific for Customer Relationship Management. The vTiger platform offers
features like: Phone and e-mail integration, analysis and reporting, customer
support with self-service portal, marketing/sales automation for campaigns,
lead generation, billing/inventory management, Google integration, and much
more. With vTiger you empower your sales force with a collaboration tool that
will make their entire process far more streamlined.

5. Zurmo

Zurmo is
another Customer Relationship Manager – with a twist. Zurmo claims to be the
first social and “gamified” CRM. What that means is that users gain
rewards for milestones. But don’t let the “schtick” fool you, Zurmo
still offers all the usual features found in other, powerful CRM tools. The
Zurmo feature set includes: Contact management, activity management, deal
tracking, reporting, workflow, marketing automation, product management,
resetful API, Google Mapping integration, and more. Zurmo also offers security
with role management/groups/permissions/ad-hoc teams. And since Zurmo is open
source, it can be expanded to perfectly fit your company’s needs.

Bottom line

You should find that one or more of these virtual appliances
can be deployed to help bring a level of efficiency to your business you’ve
never had. Any small business would do well to look into deploying one of these
platforms – just make sure you understand how virtual machines/appliances work
so you can get the most out of these tools.