HR Tech is hot, but some technology is not

10 things you should consider before you invest in an HR overhaul

Most HR systems are aging – which is why the $14bn market is experiencing such growth. According to Bersin’s report, Managing Talent through Technology: HCM Buying Trends, 57% of companies plan to make a major new HR software purchase in the next 18 months.

It’s a hot area right now due to a number of factors: most systems being at least five years old (Bersin report); the move of most applications to the cloud for ease of management, flexibility and scale; the need for more intuitive interfaces; better big data analytics to maximize people data; and last but not least, because human capital is top of the CEO agenda for 2013 – according to The Conference Board’s CEO Challenge® 2013 findings.

But what are the most important questions to ask before you make the investment – there are so many options out there in a relatively young market, it is important to know what the basic criteria are. These should be fundamental to any medium to enterprise sized business, which wants to look after its people, using the best technology available.

Below are 10 areas we think you should consider in order to understand what HR technology is hot, and what is not:

1.  Is your system global? Most large organizations need multiple solutions to address multiple markets. There are few HR solutions that truly enable compliance with the many country-specific employment regulations, languages and local peculiarities required to be observed and adopted by global enterprises.

2. It’s all about cloud. Is your supplier’s solution truly cloud-based? You need your HR technology on a platform which will scale but also which can be transferrable, should the need arise. This will also keep your supplier pressured to provide the most recent upgrades, features and service.

3. Does the new technology provide top down reporting required for a management 360 view of HR? Your technology should collate information from every country or team, consolidate this data and report across your entire workforce through advanced dashboards.

4. If you have multiple systems to date, from a management point of view, what you may need is one single suite. This should encompass performance management, recruitment, payroll aggregation, absence and vacation, as well as benefits schemes and auto-enrolment timelines.

5. Automation is a luxury technology that can provide many C-level functions today, and it applies more than ever to HR considering recent high profile cases such as the BBC pension debacle. Your technology needs to police regulatory issues and create a framework for individual remuneration. It needs to automate and trigger actions and policies to avoid companies inadvertently falling short of their HR obligations.

6. Where is your data hosted and what are the security implications? You need to maximize the benefits of the cloud without allowing any potential security breaches. Your HR technology should be on a robust and secure platform and adhere to security accreditations.

7. Can your provider offer the latest in analytical tools? HR professionals often need help in dealing with the highly-individualized needs of international workforces and require access to in-depth metrics for employees, managers, and the board.

8. How long will it take the supplier to transfer your existing architecture and implement the new HR technology? The headache of the overhaul and transfer from legacy to new should not be underestimated.

9. For support during this process and beyond, does the new supplier provide support as part of the supplier agreement? Many cloud technologies seem to have minimal entry costs but can surprise you with support costs later down the line.

10. As ever you need to reference the supplier customer base. Do they have customers like you? Will they talk and reference? Do they have tangible examples of savings and improvements?

As the global economy picks up and companies once again start to refocus their investment on strategic recruitment and development, the HR investment made in 2013 could be one of the most critical. If you are one of those organizations turning to this challenging overhaul now, consider the best ways to make the step easier, and reap the most reward.

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