Indian Companies Plan to Spend More on HR Technology This Year

Sierra-Cedar unveils survey at third annual SHRM India Tech Conference

Aliah D. Wright By Aliah D. Wright April 21, 2017
Indian Companies Plan to Spend More on HR Technology This Year

HYDERABAD, INDIA—More companies in India and across Asia plan to increase their HR technology budgets this year, according to Sierra-Cedar's 2016-2017 HR Systems Survey White Paper, Asia-Pacific Edition.

Sierra-Cedar, a North American IT services company, conducted the survey last year and unveiled it April 21 at the third annual SHRM India Tech '17 Conference and exposition, the largest technology conference ever held in India.

According to the survey white paper, "56 percent of all Asia-Pacific (APAC) organizations are planning to increase their HR technology spending this year, jumping to 64 percent when we just look at India-based organizations."

More than 50 percent of India-based companies and 40 percent of all APAC organizations hope to improve or develop new enterprise HR systems strategies this year.

These strategies will likely include many of the topics that were found to be important to the survey's Asia-Pacific participants, said Stacey Harris, vice president of research and analytics for Sierra-Cedar, speaking in an exclusive interview with SHRM Online.

The strategies include:

  • Adopting HR technology that goes beyond payroll and core HR management systems.
  • Upgrading or shifting to new cloud-based HR systems.
  • Investing in new areas such as analytics and mobile and social technologies.

"For Asia-Pacific regions, fast-paced technological changes are coinciding with economic and cultural changes, making the topic of HR technology central to business outcomes," the report stated. There are 46 APAC countries, including India. The study looked at the HR technology landscape across all of Asia and in India specifically.

While cloud adoption, the use of analytics and mobile use are on the rise, most of India's major HR technology initiatives are focused on talent, while non-India APAC organizations are more focused on workforce planning.

"As much as we're talking in the U.S. about artificial intelligence and … predictive analytics, my sense is that the Asia-Pacific market is just at a point where they're really trying to get their arms wrapped around what talent management is, the basics of HR analytics and the basics of workforce management," Harris said.

"Part of the challenge is that the vendors themselves are still trying to define what HR analytics look like inside their systems, and that makes it very hard for the buyers to come up with some standard approaches to use in their organizations," Harris said. "No one vendor does it all the same, and HR analytics has no common language yet" across the vendor or practitioner space.

Mobile adoption is slow here, too. "So you're not seeing things like mobile technology adoption at a very high percentage, particularly in India," she continued. "They're really still just figuring out core HR requirements and talent management and workforce management requirements from a system perspective."

Harris traveled to India from Raleigh, N.C., to reveal the results of the study at the conference. She is in charge of the company's annual HR systems survey and research division.

HR technology professionals participate in the worldwide survey to obtain data they need to build their own HR technology strategy or to build a business case for change.

"There are some things that are similar across the Asia-Pacific region as a whole and some things that are different and have to do with cultural and economic growth in those regions," Harris said. "All of them are planning to move to the cloud in some format or another."

And when it comes to the cloud, "they're probably two to three years [behind] from where the Western market is in HR technology."

For example, 72 percent of companies worldwide have talent management systems in the cloud, compared to 48 percent of APAC companies, including those in India.

When asked, "Where are you investing 25 percent or more of your time and resources?," respondents said:

  • Talent management—57 percent.
  • Business processes—53 percent.
  • All system integrations—33 percent.
  • Service delivery—33 percent.
  • Social enablement or allowing their employees to use social media for business purposes—33 percent.
  • Workforce planning—26 percent.
  • Workforce management—17 percent.
  • Integrating HR apps—less than 4 percent.
  • Business intelligence/workforce metrics—less than 3 percent.

Many expect that on-premise human resource management systems will experience a decline.

While India-based organizations are more likely to run an on-premise and a cloud solution at the same time in their core HR environments, Harris added, organizations not based in India are more likely to consider a "rip-and-replace" model and are moving their applications to a cloud environment.  

SHRM's HR technology editor Aliah D. Wright is attending the SHRM India Tech '17 conference and exposition in Hyderabad. You can follow her on Twitter @1SHRMScribe and by following the conference hashtag, #SHRMTech17. 

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