Five Ways to Succeed with HR Tech

Here are five key factors to consider when using HR technology in an effort to achieve greater organizational success.

By Steve Boese

Thankfully for me, I have almost completed the program for the 19th annual HR Technology Conference and Expo® to be held Oct. 4 through 7 in Chicago. And, as an aside, I am really thrilled that the conference is returning to Chicago, as it will be great to be back in such a fantastic city after several years' absence.

One question I always get during the program development for HR Tech is "What is the main theme for the conference this year?" And each year I usually give the same type of answer: There isn't a singular theme, but rather there are several sub-themes that seem to permeate and influence the development of the program, and thus become the "big ideas" for the overall event. But one idea that I know for sure will once again feature prominently at the event, (as it did in 2015), is the concept of "customer success," i.e., how organizations can make the most out of their HR technology investments. I'd like to talk about some of these ideas around customer success, as they have been on my mind quite a bit as I finalize the conference program.

What are some of the key considerations for HR leaders and their organizations when attempting to make the best decisions to maximize their investments in HR tech? Here are five ideas that we will be talking about at the conference this year.

Do your homework.

A huge part of succeeding with HR technology is in knowing where to start, and that's where educating yourself about the HR-technology market and landscape factors in. There are numerous sources of information about HR technology for the HR leader -- attending the HR Tech Conference being one of them -- and investments you can make to prepare and research the market. Of course, there are plenty of other sources of HR tech market and solution information, and we will help conference-goers better understand these various information sources as well as the landscape of the HR tech marketplace overall. This market is moving so fast and has so many players that HR leaders need a plan and an approach to market education and research that we hope to provide.

Make sure the numbers add up.

For years, new HR-technology investments were justified by productivity gains and reduced HR-systems costs. But after many years of implementing HR systems, your organization could be at a crossroads, wondering what opportunities for savings and increased efficiency remain. You should also be aware there are additional opportunities for savings and it will take a new approach to serving the business and thinking about IT working together with HR that will drive strategic advantage. At the conference, HR leaders will have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons in how non-HR and boards of directors evaluate HR-technology-investment-capital decisions, the metrics that work in moving an HR-change initiative forward, how to get the funding for those big change initiatives that HR needs and how understanding the key HR technologies will propel your next HR business case.

Gain a better understanding of the buying process.

The process for evaluating and purchasing HR technology is a critical one for HR leaders to master. The investment decisions the organization makes for its HR technology will impact the organization (for good or bad) for many years to come -- perhaps even decades. So, at HR Tech, we plan to dig a little deeper into important elements of the buying process. One of the fundamental aspects we plan to focus on is the software-demonstration meeting. We will help HR leaders understand the goals of the demo, how to structure the meeting, who should be involved and the important questions to ask the providers that are vying to become your new HR tech partner. You can have a fantastic demo or a terrible one, but at the conference, HR leaders will hear from the experts about how to have the best possible outcome.

Managing people and change are critical.

Often, HR-tech projects can fail -- or at least fail to live up to expectations -- not because of flawed technology or a lack of good intentions, but because the organization wasn't invested in making the change work.  At the conference, we will focus on some of the key steps in initiating successful organizational change, and experts will share practical advice on how and when to take those steps. HR leaders should have a good understanding of how to evaluate their project stakeholders, how to assess organizational change readiness and capability, and how to work with solution providers when planning for and deploying new technology to manage HR and HR processes. At the conference, HR leaders will learn more about how to map out the steps to follow for a technology-change implementation, how to work with the vendor throughout the planning and deployment process, and how to plan for the post-deployment phases when working with cloud-based HR-technology solutions

Implementation is never really done.

Finally, it is important to know that, with modern, cloud-based HR technologies, the implementation in many ways is never really "done." The initial "Go-live" date still can -- and should -- be recognized and celebrated by the project team and the organizations, but in many ways, that milestone is only the first big step in an ongoing process.

With the HR-technology providers pushing updates on a much more frequent basis than was the case with legacy, on-premise applications, it can be a challenge for HR leaders and organizations to cope (and keep up). At the conference, we will talk about the key ways that organizations can prepare for, influence and manage these update and upgrade processes in a proactive manner.

Steve Boese is a co-chair of HRE’s HR Technology® Conference and a technology editor for LRP Publications. He also writes an HR blog and hosts the HR Happy Hour Show, a radio program and podcast. He can be emailed at sboese@lrp.com.

 

May 4, 2016
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