I was at the recently concluded HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas and with 100s of HR Tech vendors, all the leading consultants and senior HR practitioners, it was quite an event.
On speaking with a number of vendors and viewing product demos, I was pleasantly overwhelmed with the features and depth and breadth of the offerings in the market. The customers were spoiled for choices and would "finally be able to derive" great benefits from their HR tech implementations.
On the other hand, CHROs when questioned – “What is required from HR Tech?” replied in unison that "they would prefer HR software which maps to their business needs! They were not looking for new technology for the sake of technology."
Really! With all the innovation in HR Tech and the 100s of millions of dollars in investments, have we still not met business needs?
With various reports and surveys claiming that over 90% managers are dissatisfied with their performance evaluation process and over 50% organizations looking to explore other options – there appears to be a large disconnect between market needs and vendor offerings.
Based on my discussions with multiple senior people, a few more observations were there
- » While HR Software is the most pervasive tool in an organization, which can potentially touch every employee, its utilization is not as much – especially in areas of people development and employee engagement
- » HR software is not used sufficiently for cultural transformation and strategy
These thoughts prompted me to design a model explaining what HR Technology should be about. This is based on my experience of working with 100s of customers and over 20 years of experience in this domain building products and solutions.
HR Technology Model
HR Technology rests on 4 areas, each of which is equally important. Unless the technology or solution adequately covers each of these areas, the implementation will have gaps. The 4 areas that I could identify include:
Completeness: Should cover all the essential functions without a user remembering multiple logins
Usability: Should be extremely easy to use on a variety of devices
Configurability: Should allow for easy setup and be adaptable to change
Data availability: Should assist managers in decision making by providing them ready to use content and data
This feature indicates that the software contains all the essential functions related to people management.
Many vendors offer all in one products, such that customers use just one product for all their employee related functions. Alternately, vendors such as ADP (through their marketplace) are offering integration options with other vendors to provide best-in-class systems.
Availability of various integration options and maturing APIs is making the marketplace approach more likely to succeed and is becoming more popular.
Employee experience, user interface, ease of use, mobile access and features that allow easy use of the software with limited or no training are all important for high software usability.
Can the HR software be as simple as google search? Can it provide deep and meaningful insights such as google analytics? Can it make employees productive from the first login?