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Evaluating HR Technology Maturity

Monday, September 19, 2016
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HR technology is an ecosystem that advances and matures one component at a time. Changes and additions are made to the ecosystem, prompted by new waves of technology and in response to changing business conditions. Like any other, an HR technology ecosystem is more than the sum of its parts. Different solutions are inexorably linked to each other by common data elements and through cross-cutting business processes. The maturity of the system -- that drives value to the business -- must therefore be evaluated holistically.

A mature HR technology ecosystem provides strategic leverage to the business. At the low end of the scale, there is no leverage. It takes time and effort just to complete necessary transactions and establish a baseline understanding of the HR data contained in it. An organization can progress along the maturity curve, however, by automating processes and harmonizing data. The results: speed, efficiency, clarity and insight.

Some critical components of a mature HR technology ecosystem include:

* Integration -- fragile interfaces between systems or un-integrated systems preclude both speed and accuracy

* Usability -- user adoption and ease of use are both essential for capturing business processes ensuring data completeness.

* Configurability -- flexibility is required to avoid compromise. Without sufficient configurability, businesses must constrain themselves to the limitations of their software.

* Mobility -- an absolute necessity for the always-on workforce and to satisfy modern user experience expectations.

When an HR technology ecosystem becomes mature, transactions are fast and accurate. Business processes are complete (i.e. contain no manual workarounds) and automatic, and visibility into the business is comprehensive -- no functional or domain barriers exist to prevent understanding.

When an HR technology ecosystem is mature and running smoothly, it becomes a powerful basis for planning and forecasting. It's easy to obtain a clear picture of the business, and it's possible to model the impact of future scenarios. It also becomes a great launching pad for best practices; it's easy to cascade change through a stable and mature environment. Accuracy and understanding combined with the ability to rapidly enact change provide tremendous leverage.

So, how can an organization evaluate its own HR technology maturity? What are the important questions to ask? This brief questionnaire is a start to assess your organization's HR technology maturity in five key areas:

Integration - How connected are your HCM processes across functional domains?

Completeness - How fully are your business processes captured and automated by the software you use?

Compliance - How reliably are you able to complete HCM transactions in compliance with regulation with high accuracy?

Auditability - How easily can you perform the audits you require across all domains?

Usability - Are your users happy with the system(s) they are using?

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For each statement below, select a number between 1 (strongly disagree) and 7 (strongly agree).

1. All of my individual HR-focused business processes have been fully captured and automated by my HCM systems.

2. My HCM systems are fully integrated, and require no manual intervention in order to update data across domains.

3. I am confident that I am able to complete all HCM calculations, transactions and reports in compliance with the regulations that apply to me, and that my results are accurate.

4. I am able to perform comprehensive reporting across all domains of HCM in one solution. My data is consistent across domains.

5. My users regularly access their HCM system and have adopted it readily.

Now, add up your points. If you scored:

5-20 Beginner - You are just beginning your journey to HR technology maturity. Your next step should be to consolidate key transactional systems (pay, time, HR, benefits) in a single system to eliminate interfaces, save time, eliminate errors and improve accuracy.

21-30 Intermediate - You are in the middle of the pack -- you have consolidated some systems and achieved a high degree of compliance. Now, focus on capturing remaining domains to complete your processes and enable greater usability.

31-35 Advanced - Congratulations -- you are setting the benchmark for success!

With a high degree of HR technology maturity, you are able to focus on strategy. Leverage your technology to draw new insights and implement best practices across your business.

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