In our final article for February with a spotlight on system selection I have listed some of the common questions from HR, payroll leaders and vendors about the process of selecting new HR and Payroll software.
The first step when considering buying new technology is to develop your business case (and I go into this in a little more detail later on). But initially the business case helps the HR and Payroll team ground their thinking in what the new technology will do and how it will make improvements to the employee journey. If the team writing the business case don’t know that it will be difficult for the rest of the organisation to buy into the process.
Clearly there are risks associated with investing in new technology when the technology is going to be used by every employee in the business – it isn’t very often in business that a system will be used by every employee outside of the main HR and payroll solution so this needs careful consideration, particularly in terms of the change management process.
There are also significant costs associated with buying new technology – not only for the selection process but also for the new license fees and the fact that business might be running two systems in parallel for a period of time.
There are also people risks associated with the technological capabilities within the teams – rolling out a new technology, configuring systems and making key decisions about processes are all fundamental skills that need to be adapted by HR and payroll teams.
Every project including new technology will have 2 sets of requirements – functional requirements are the requirements of the technology and what processes it will cover, non functional requirements are the security, accessibility and usability requirements and are usually derived with the help of the IT function. They cover things such as: hosting, web browser compatibility, security requirements, single sign on methods and access control processes.
A critical question to determine from the outset is where will application support sit for the HR and Payroll technology – sometimes due to data access requirements the application support sits locally in the HR or Payroll team with nominated ‘super users’ but in other businesses it sits very much within IT with a subject matter expert. Don’t assume from the outset that IT will (or will not) wish to support the application and have an open discussion about how this will work in practice (including change control processes and upgrades as well as any hosting implications or data integration issues).
Another critical point is how your business deals with data analysis and reporting – is this IT lead or business team lead? If the former then IT will likely need access to back end tools to extract data from the solutions, or API connections into their data warehouse – another critical requirement to be discussed in the non-functionals.
Massively important. Remember that during the sales process you are a prospect waiting to be won over. Use the process to define exactly what you want from the supplier and how. A prescriptive supplier will often lose deals, particularly in more agile organisations. Use history to determine how flexible a supplier is and how they react – Covid-19 is a prime example – what did the software supplier do as a result of Covid-19 – did they reduce license fees for staff who were furloughed? Did they offer a furlough process within the technology? Did they enable out of the office access when it was requested by clients? Use references from the supplier (and also find your own independent referees) to talk about the product strengths and weaknesses and also the supplier strengths and weaknesses.
A question we are often asked and quite simply:
Too often I see a post on LinkedIn saying “we’re a company with 500 employees looking for a new HR/Payroll system – does anyone have any ideas”. This is an almost impossible question to answer from such limited information and will likely result in a hundred software suppliers asking to connect to give you a demo of their product.
Instead use a system selection tool or speak to independent consultants like Phase 3 for an initial scoping session to determine the direction of your project and some of the key market players based on an analysis of your needs. Considering what functionality you are actually looking for (remember HR covers: Core HR, Org Charting, Absence, LMS, ATS, Case Management, Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Rostering, Time and Attendance etc – a very broad spectrum).
If you are considering embarking on a system selection project or would like a discussion please get in touch.
For more tips and advice, make sure to visit our blog.
This blog was written by Simon Davis, Head of Partner Delivery at Phase 3.