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5 factors a business can use to choose the ‘right’ HR tech solution

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Revamping HR technology has become a major point of emphasis with many companies in recent years, as an increased level of attention to such areas as business intelligence has enjoyed some time in the spotlight. Business leaders everywhere are eager to use more highly capable and flexible high-tech solutions for improving even the most mundane everyday practices, from timekeeping to processing payroll.

Choosing the right high-tech solution for a given business is always a tricky pursuit, though. What platform works best for your company? It’s always difficult to hack through the thicket of tech terminology and find real substance.

There are a lot of buzzwords in the business technology world today. Terms like “cloud computing,” “mobile solutions,” “social media” and “big data” get a lot of play. But what do they really mean, and how can they help your business? This is a matter of thinking about the specific needs of the workplace.

According to HR Ringleader, there are a few key criteria to look out for. Steve Boese, co-chairman of The HR Technology Conference, and Trish McFarlane, vice president of HR at Brandon Hall Group, recently discussed them in a Human Resource Executive Magazine webinar entitled “Big Trends in HR Technology 2014 and Beyond.”

“We are not really talking as much about ‘mobile’ or ‘social’ as discrete concepts, but rather a more comprehensive idea of ‘user experience,’ which, at its many levels, will increasingly influence systems development, purchase decisions and user adoption rates (and therefore ROI),” the experts stated.

Ultimately, they concluded, there are five factors that typically lead a business to choose the “right” HR technology solution. Here they are, with some of my thoughts included.

Present and future capability
What can a new solution do your business now? Additionally, what can it do for you in five years, if you’re still using the same hardware and software and are afraid of being left behind? It’s important to think long-term.

Complexity, or lack thereof
The presenters make a good point in that a new HR system is no use if no one understands how to use it. It’s essential that companies think about the tech capabilities of their staff members and make sure that a potential new solution would be well received and understood. However, complexity goes beyond usability.  Since many vendors partner to provide business intelligence with their HCM offerings, it is critical to emphasize vendors who have built business intelligence as part of the application rather than an add-on tool.  This reduces complexity when it comes to functionality as there will be no need to integrate or interface data to make use of the third-party tool.  Having business intelligence as part of the single application also elimiates the need to work with two vendors for support when issues arise.

Price and ROI considerations
Often, it comes down to a simple math problem. How much does a new solution cost to implement? How much will it yield in the way of savings, by improving the efficiency of the business? If it adds to the bottom line, it’s probably worth doing.  The key here is to be very objective in the analyis using a methodology you can defend.  Focus on credibility rather than magnitude of the ROI.

Technological fit in the office
What types of computers are you using in your office? How’s the Internet connectivity? What kinds of mobile devices and other computing gadgets are you using? You want to make sure your new HR system is a good fit with everything else in your tech blueprint.

Cultural fit with the company
Finally, you want to make sure your staff is ready for whatever change is coming in. For example, don’t introduce a new iPad app if your staff is still using desktop PCs and has never touched a mobile device. It’s all about what works best for your employees, so be sure to think long and hard about this all-important factor.

This post originally appeared on the Ceridian HCM Blog.

Jayson SabaThis blog post was written by Jayson Saba, VP of Strategy and Industry Relations at Ceridian. Prior to Ceridian, Jayson was an analyst at Aberdeen Group’s Human Capital Management practice.  As the lead analyst for Core HR, Workforce Management, and Outsourcing, Jayson published over 100 research papers and reports about technology and best practices.  Jayson is a frequent contributor to industry and trade magazines including HR Executive, PayTech, HROToday, Workforce Management, Talent Management, CIO and The Economist. He regularly presents at HR conferences and trade shows.  Follow him on Twitter @JaysonSaba.

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