By Jane Sunley, best-selling business author and Founder & Chairman of Purple Cubed
If you put ‘HR Software’ into a search engine, you’ll get over 8m hits. So where do you start? Everyone needs functional HR software such as payroll, database and so on, though it’s the strategic side of HR software where the real value-add comes. A few schools of thought:
This group go with ‘the norm’; large functional systems that are well-established, high profile and come from well-known providers (who have mostly all acquired one another by now), systems they know others to use.
PROS: Lower risk, does the job
CONS: Unsexy, high cost, long and time-consuming implementation, lack of flexibility, can be less user-friendly
This group are always on the look out for funky, new stuff coming out of California, drawn to cool branding and functionality they are sometimes seduced by the product rather than their own business priorities.
PROS: Cool, user-friendly, lower cost, easy to implement
CONS: Usually provide one function, flash in the pan – users get bored unless they see the longer-term benefit to them
This group set out to identify key business priorities (e.g. The #1 world business issue according to Deloitte is employee engagement) and look for a suite of products that will support them and will ‘talk’ to each other in real time.
PROS: Business needs met, employees see real business outcomes, systems can grow and flex as the business does, affordable and user-friendly
CONS: May need multiple supplier partners
Some killer questions to ask:
- Purpose – how will this product contribute to the bottom line / your business growth and success? (Look for proven results)
- User-friendliness – what will make people use this frequently and continuously?
- Flexibility – can you the solution start simple and grow and flex as your organisation does?
- Suppliers – are they selling a product or advising on a solution?
- Longevity – can you imagine using this in five years time?
- Expertise – do the people behind the solution have credibility and awareness of latest HR thinking?
- Implementation – how is this going to live and breathe in your business?
- Responsiveness – is it a ‘mobile first’ design? (It won’t be too long before we are always connected)
Most of all, do your homework. People are still investing heavily in products that are fast becoming obsolete (such as eLearning which has already been usurped by just in time bite sized approaches) – if in doubt, ask an expert…
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