HR Focus 2015 #1: What will 2015 bring for HR Technology?
Depending on where you live and your view on the economy, your country is in recession, starting the recovery or riding the wave of a full recovery; either way, changing economic conditions present both a threat and an opportunity for HR functions. Some HR functions will emerge stronger, having helped their businesses to adapt to the economic challenges by piloting innovative solutions using the latest technologies and introducing new ways of working. They will be leaner, fitter, and ready for a period of growth. At the same time, others will revert to old ways due to lack of funds, having abandoned their plans to be more strategic, settling into a more traditional role as an administrative support service. Tough economic times have a Darwinian impact on business – success goes to those who can adapt in the face of new circumstances and mutate into a different kind of animal.
From an HR technology perspective, 2013 saw the promise of cloud but a lack of adoption. 2014 was the year that cloud went mainstream, especially in HR. As the economic downturn leveled out, and some regions saw signs of growth or at least a form of stabilization, HR departments everywhere came to realize that technology support has fundamentally changed and it’s time to act on that. What’s different this time is that new HR technology is not meant to make the HR department more efficient, but focuses beyond HR, to increase the user experience, to add value across the business, and to improve competitiveness. In 2015, HR must focus on digital transformation: the use of new technologies to drive significant business improvements.
The increasing maturity of HR cloud systems as well as the relatively limited effort to introduce them brings more options and more meaningful choices for enterprises and customers. The cloud has been hyped as a cure-all, and companies now take a more guarded approach and have more realistic expectations, especially when it comes to the financial, localization, and integration aspects. Cloud might not require the long implementation projects that we remember from traditional on-premise systems, but there are still many decisions to be made and a migration project can easily obtain the better part of a calendar year.
Cloud requires the adoption of a new mindset, where “we’ve always done it this way” gives way to a ‘fit-to-standard’ approach. That means a thorough overhaul of your processes, not all of which might easily fit the future cloud solution. With that comes a carefully crafted and executed change management process that takes precedence over implementing and configuring the technology solution. User experience is a crucial element to ensure enterprise adoption and proliferation. Most solutions are now built ‘mobile first’ – over time this will become ‘mobile only’. Mobile – and social - will become inextricably linked to the digital transformation.
Cloud is not a one-size-fits-all solution, especially when you operate in many countries around the world and need more localization than is currently available. Cloud is also not the only HR system you will ever need, but cloud can be an economically sound and an effective solution to improve your workforce management, as well as increase the employee experience and gain new insights into your employee population. With the continued focus on employee engagement and productivity, combined with the ease of developing and publishing new apps in the cloud, there are a myriad of solutions vying for the attention of HR. These solutions are focused point applications that address a particular topic, and can be incorporated into your HR landscape through a sound integration strategy.
In 2015, we expect companies to take a more realistic approach to the cloud, now they start to understand it better. More experience with cloud solutions means a better insight into the benefits and a more transparent view on pros and cons. Vendors of traditional systems, who slowed down introducing new functionality or limited maintenance and support periods, realize that global enterprises have a long-term outlook. Many of these vendors now recognize that continued support of on-premise solutions will work in their favor, so enterprises can adapt a more gradual migration process. At the other side of the spectrum, HR directors are discovering that a single cloud solution seldom satisfies all of their requirements and there are options available to address specific HR topics. This realization supports the need for hybrid HR environments – which we expect to be the dominant force in 2015.
For more information download our whitepaper ‘How To Successfully Move HR To The Cloud’. This whitepaper addresses the impact of SaaS (Software as a Service) on your organization’s future, and how you can prepare for the resulting changes in order to make the most of them.