The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask About Your HR Technology

August 28, 2019 | 4 minute read
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By Jennifer McClure, CEO of Unbridled Talent

HR leaders want technology that will help them build an organization of top talent, now and in the future. But many HR leaders I speak with these days feel overwhelmed at the proliferation of technology and solutions now coming online, including automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). For those who aren’t technology experts, this complexity makes choosing the right solution for the business difficult.

HR leaders do not have to be technology experts to provide insight that will help their organizations choose the best HR technology for their needs. You can become a great partner to your IT and finance peers by working alongside them to evaluate technology investments by engaging them in discussions around these three questions:

1. What does the HR team need its technology to do?

When I speak with HR leaders, they often tell me they don't like their current solution, but also aren’t sure what kind of technology would bring improvement. I tell them to focus on outcomes, not technology. If you start with a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, you can evaluate your options based on how well they help you reach those outcomes.

A recent survey conducted by Tom Davenport, professor of IT and management at Babson, and Donald Anderson, director of organization and talent development at Oracle, indicated that one such need was for prescriptive and predictive analytics. Currently, just over half of HR organizations (51%) have some form of these capabilities. Respondents want a wide range of strategic business analytics to model future needs so they can partner with finance to prioritize investment.

Solutions that include ML capabilities to drive advanced HR analytics and predictive modeling give HR organizations the insights needed to identify elements that impact budget, whether in recruitment, retention, or benefits. Best-in-class HCM solutions offer models and metrics from multiple data sources to make informed budgetary decisions. For example, Global insurer Assicurazioni Generali migrated from a decentralized HR model with non-standardized data and processes to a global and standardized HR function with Oracle HCM Cloud, enabling the company to enhance strategic workforce planning and talent management across the business.

There’s no shortage of enterprise HCM solutions out there. Here’s how to choose one that will advance your organization’s people and business strategies alike.

2. How can we leverage a vendor partnership? 

There are two kinds of enterprise vendors: solution providers and true partners. As you evaluate technology options, consider the value that a true partner can bring to the table. Can you call your vendor and ask questions without feeling like you're going to get sold or pitched something? Can your vendor help you better identify your needs and how its solution can meet them? Is your vendor an industry expert? Does the vendor really understand the challenges that CHROs face?

Perhaps, most importantly, does your vendor offer a full suite of integrated cloud enterprise solutions to break down silos, embrace the latest innovations, and improve user engagement, collaboration, and performance? Take the time to ensure that your vendor will enable your company to stay ahead of ever-increasing employee and customer expectations to become a more proactive and agile organization that drives disruptive innovation instead of merely responding to it.

3. How will this technology help HR leadership be a high-value strategic contributor? 

HR leaders are finally becoming the business partners to their finance and other C-suite peers that they've always wanted to be. Davenport and Anderson’s survey made this clear. Not only did respondents rank “become strategic partners to the business” among their top objectives, but they’re also prioritizing broad organizational concerns, such as agility and business performance.

As more of HR’s administrative tasks become automated, HR leaders will be able to direct more time and resources to strategic planning and aligning talent strategy with broader business objectives. This will take HR beyond managing human capital alone, to embrace a model in which skills are distributed among humans and technology. AI and other advanced technologies are reshaping traditional roles, teams, and even departments. They’re significantly improving decision making, accelerating processes, and driving efficiencies. This lets your workforce focus its time, energy, and passion on activities at which humans excel, such as creativity, problem solving, and innovation. With needed skillsets constantly changing, HR will need to create an engaged workforce of lifelong learners. To do so, HR leaders will require prescriptive and predictive technologies that offer deep insights into employee engagement, training, career goals, and attrition.

Armed with these advanced capabilities, HR can collaborate with finance on a holistic analytics strategy to create a complete picture of the business through shared data models and technology. Your HR technology solution should help you translate your people strategy into a clear business case that defines the opportunity and expected outcome to move the business forward in terms of dollars and cents.

In the end, however, HR’s primary objective should be to make work human, and any technology solution you choose should support that objective. By focusing on outcomes, choosing a vendor capable of providing end-to-end visibility, and positioning HR as a true partner to the business, you can ensure that your next technology solution will free up your workforce for the creative, innovative work that will drive your business forward.

Check out our infographic on how the cloud helps unlock your HR Team’s potential. Click here to see more. 

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