James Baker Market Insight
With the possible exception of the HR function in The White House, there is no part of HR moving and changing as fast as the HR Technology market for SME businesses.
The breadth of choice is simply intimidating. So how do you navigate this? Aaron Alburey FCIPD, Member of the HR Guild tells us how in his latest piece.
The first thing is to be clear on what functionality you really need and want, and what will give you the best business return. Is it Recruitment, Learning or simply a good HR core administration or Payroll tool?
Technical due diligence combined with client references should be your next step.
The third step is to 'feel it'. The cultural fit of the tech partner with your organisation is a major factor. You need to choose a product that engages your staff and reinforces your values and brand. It should feel simple and easy to engage with. Ultimately, you and your employees need to like it!
The market itself is expanding at an exponential rate. Giant enterprise providers (such as Workday, SuccessFactors and Oracle) can scale down to 500 employee businesses, giving a dazzling array of capability. But offerings from these vendors typically carry a higher price tag with a more complex implementation route alongside it.
In addition to the big players, there is an emerging cadre of functionally-specific providers who are expanding rapidly into multi functional global players e.g. Cornerstone (Learning), Peoplefluent (Performance), SDWorx (Payroll). As you would expect, they each come with real depth in their original functionality but are moving quickly to deliver a more comprehensive suite of HR tech services.
Then there are the multifunctional product platforms, mirroring Workday with their single code approach, that have developed in particular sectors. Growing rapidly and attracting investment and fans, they are expanding out from their industry verticals to compete like for like with the bigger players. This group include the likes of SAGE People, formerly Fairsail (Tech & Professional services), Elementsuite (Hospitality) and CoreHR (Retail).
Finally there are the new entrants - the market disrupters such as Charlie HR (free) and HiBob (low cost and graphically superb), trying to win share at any cost with cool new user experiences. In short if you are looking for a new HR platform now is the time. There will certainly be something out there to meet your needs.
Worried you will make the wrong choice? There probably isn't such a thing. If you undertake your due diligence and are clear on your requirements there is only the choice that is right for the here and now.
The good news is these are the days of SaaS products. Embrace your choice with the goal of a long term commitment (and grow with your partner) but sign 3 year deals with minimal notice periods. Build a contingency plan and don't lose hold of your data. You can always swap to another provider. This is much simpler to do in the modern technology marketplace and growing simpler by the year.
If only it were as simple with presidents!!