Prediction 8: Companies will take advantage of new tools in HR technology

By Josh Bersin January 7, 2015

The average human resource management system (HRMS) is nearly five years old. In 2015, companies should revisit their aging architectures, look to modernize and consider converting to highly flexible cloud-based systems.

Core HRMS and talent management features (payroll, performance management, recruiting, learning management, succession management) are available from most major enterprise resource planning (ERP) providers. But some exciting new tools can be found only through small, innovative vendors. These tools address informal learning, integrated network recruiting and candidate relationship management, social recognition, real-time employee feedback, culture assessment and fit, and many other areas. So as you firm up your core system of record into a single ERP suite, you may also find yourself wanting to buy innovative tools from smaller vendors as well. This will be a sound strategy for 2015. As long as you have a vendor that provides most of the core products you need, buying innovative cloud-based products as add-ons can be easy and affordable.

Key disruptions in the HR technology industry include:

  • An intense focus on user experience and user engagement instead of a proliferation of features and cascading menus. As one software executive put it, the value of a software company today is not its revenue but rather the level of engagement its product has with users.
  • Mobile apps that embed HR solutions instead of only providing a mobile view of websites.
  • Integration of real-time data, location data and other sensor data into HR programs such as engagement and scheduling. Look at the success of wearables for exercise management; this type of real-time data collection will come to HR.
  • Data-driven recommendations for hiring, learning, retention and even leadership development. Your HR software should “recommend” people, experts, programs and management changes, rather than just give you lots of reports to run.
  • Tight integration with social networks so all HR practices can connect to each other, leverage external learning content and external communications tools, and source candidates on external networks.
  • Lower-cost integrated HRMS systems that replace internal legacy applications. Consider new modules and systems to manage contract, contingent and part-time workers as “talent”—not just “expenses”—so you can onboard, develop, manage and engage with workers who are not full-time salaried employees.
  • Content and learning tools embedded into HR software. People shouldn’t have to “learn” the software anymore; they should just be able to use it.

In 2015, the HR software market will likely continue its shift from a focus on “systems of record” to a focus on “systems of engagement.” While vendor support and service is still critical to success, ease of use and ease of adoption are now key to selecting the highest-value HR technology platforms.

Josh Bersin is the principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, a research and advisory consulting firm in enterprise learning and talent management.


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