HR Tech: Evolving to Full Business Partner
In the early 1990s, legacy enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) dominated the HR technology landscape. But, these systems have many shortcomings, including being difficult or impossible to integrate with other applications – leading to employees wasting time on tasks that should be automated. Fortunately, HR technology has come a long way since then. Today, it’s about delivering a more user-friendly and efficient experience that supports HR’s journey toward full business partner.
The Emerging Role of HR as Full Business Partner
Today’s organizations face several critical challenges, including global competition, pressure to boost revenue, rising use of technology, attracting and retaining talent and adjusting to nonstop change. The organization’s executive team is responsible for creating a strategy for tackling these issues. As HR becomes an increasingly influential member of the executive team, the HR team must now act as employee advocate and strategic business partner.
This shift in HR’s role has spearheaded the need for newer HR technology that helps HR teams rise above the administrative burden of traditional human resource management and focus on strategic objectives, like employee retention and engagement.
From Legacy ERPs to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Most legacy ERP systems were created in the 1980s and 1990s to meet the immediate needs of existing customers. Therefore, as time progressed and business challenges grew, legacy systems lacked the ability to adapt and produce sophisticated solutions. Although the technology was helpful in completing certain business processes, it did not facilitate a streamlined workflow.
For example, with a legacy ERP system, data from the human resource system must be keyed into the payroll system – which could produce errors, cause frustration in employees who must do the rekeying and come with substantial system maintenance costs.
The 21st century calls for HR systems that are vastly different from what was needed 20 years ago. Newer systems must automate administrative processes, enable HR pros to achieve high-level goals and provide workforce insight that drives business decisions.
SaaS/cloud applications with these core capabilities are revolutionizing the HR technology landscape, rendering legacy programs virtually obsolete. A third-quarter 2015 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that the number of companies using SaaS for core HR jumped from 24 percent in 2014 to 44 percent in 2015.
Why a SaaS Solution Make Sense
- Benefits administration
- HR analytics
- Talent and learning management
- Talent review and succession planning
- Time reporting
The system eliminates double keying, making it easy to access important data, strengthening regulatory compliance and improving forecasting and decision making.
The Future of HR Technology
Studies indicate that HR technology will continue to evolve. According to an analysis published in the Workforce Solutions Review, pretty soon HR technology will empower HR pros to become far more adept at answering questions relating to:
- usefulness of the organization’s employee training programs
- how well employees are handling their development goals
- which employees consistently exhibit which skills, and whether those skills cause more productivity
- which employees are engaged
Gone are the days when HR’s main focus was task-oriented. Change intervened, morphing HR into full strategic business partner – a partner that must embrace modern technology in order to succeed.