Top 5 Things HCM Technology Buyers Really Need

By Tiffani Murray, Director, People Services, Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc.

Tiffani Murray, Director, People Services, Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc.

The HCM vendor landscape is vast. It’s full of promises to revolutionize workforce management and rife with flashy marketing. Among the sea of offerings there are solid providers with excellent product reviews, client testimonials and industry awards. While every organization is at a different point along the HR technology journey, all will encounter the step of system assessment and selection. Narrowing down the playing field to identify vendors for the RFP process, demonstrations and, ultimately, a signed contract, will require stakeholders to consider a number of factors. However, there are five key areas that carry the most weight with today’s HCM technology buyer.

Help HR Evolve

Critical priorities may vary, but there is a common theme for Human Resources organizations and that is to evolve into a more strategic part of the business. How does the product enable them to focus on long term planning or key initiatives that can save the company money, retain top talent or prepare for future workforce needs? This may sound like an easy area to cover, but where many vendors fall short is understanding the distinct needs of a particular business. For one company it may be new hire onboarding. For another, with a dispersed employee population, it may be making manager’s lives easier by providing mobile friendly manager self-service. Buyers want the security of knowing the system they will invest in eliminates their very specific pain points and roadblocks. They also want to know that the solution will grow with them as these needs change. Beyond automation, vendors need to be aligned with what the future of HR looks like, presenting aspects of the product that support the unique transformation of individual clients.

"Establish an HR roadmap by considering you current “as-is” and future “to-be” state very carefully"

Provide Problem Solving Product Innovation

All HCM vendors are adept at tossing out the right buzzwords when it comes to innovation. But what will bring real value to an organization? The product roadmap and any new functionality must continue to solve the critical problems plaguing HR organizations. Shiny new features that aren’t useful to clients in the long run are not the best outcome of research and development dollars. Customer involvement, beyond the C-suite, is one way vendors can be assured that they are focusing on the right elements to take their product to the next level. Investment in research and data that outlines current and future HR needs will enhance the ability of solution providers to exceed expectations over time and retain customers with meaningful product advancements.

Integrate Well With Others

Many businesses are still operating with systems that are not full integrated. Solutions that help to eliminate this issue will win big with frustrated HR technologists still emailing files to be uploaded into disjointed systems. If vendors are in a partnership with other solution providers, this must be illustrated beyond logos on the company website. It should be evident in how the systems interact, communicate and pass data. There is increasing focus on how HCM solutions integrate with financial and other enterprise tools. Integration will continue to be a need over the years and vendors will have to make this an area of focused improvement. Inefficient integration or the inability to integrate at all will only leave customers frustrated and looking for something better.

A Support Model That Works

What is good technical or user support in the HCM world? Buyers want to be assured of quick answers to questions, efficient solutions to system issues and the ability to reach contacts with unquestionable expertise. Great support is having a problem efficiently prioritized, processed and passed to a technical resource that has immediate answers or at least a reasonable timeframe on getting them. Vendor support models can be a stark differentiator when it comes down to finalists in an HCM selection process. Vendors must continuously assess where the model they have in place is falling short and work to improve in those areas, as this will be a factor now and in the future for buyers.

Produce Meaningful Reporting & Metrics

Workforce analytics and reporting are essential to organizational success. However, there is still a gap in this areas for many companies. When talent acquisition teams can forecast recruiting needs in advance based on historic hiring trends or learning and development leaders can clearly identify what training is improving customer service quality scores across a part of the business, strategic plans are validated and opportunities to reduce spend are often identified. Dashboards of information, graphs and metrics accessible to leadership, HR, managers and employees help teams to be less reactive and more proactive in their daily jobs. HCM vendors should be considering what data their users need most and how readily accessible it is to them. They should also go beyond providing current data and work towards determining the reports that will assist HR functions in identifying trends that will drive their ability to impact the business years into the future.

Organizations across industries are at different points in their HR Technology journey. It’s important to remember that it can’t effectively all be done at once and the work will be most effective if there is collaboration between IT, the business and Human Resources. Establish an HR roadmap by considering you current “as-is” and future “to-be” state very carefully.

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