Are you using outdated HCM software? Are you getting complaints from employees that your systems are not cutting it? Are your system processes taking much longer than they should? Perhaps it’s time for a change.

The two main reasons companies look to upgrade their HCM software solution are:

1) They are using outdated technology and realize that there’s new software available.

2) The technology they’re using is so inefficient, they have no other choice but to ditch the old and try something new.

Today, there are many different vendors offering a variety of solutions. Depending on your requirements, you may need one system or different solutions for specific modules (i.e., one for HR/Payroll and another for Talent Management). The problem is your HRIS department is overloaded with other projects and often doesn’t have the expertise to evaluate the different HCM platforms to help choose the right one for your company.

That’s when you turn to an HCM Vendor Selection consulting firm that can analyze your specific needs, understand your challenges, and help choose the right system for you.

Here are five key points to consider before changing your HCM software.

1. Take inventory

Take inventory of all the HCM systems you want to replace as well as all the systems that interface with them.  We often hear from companies that think they would like to replace their HR system, but don’t realize the dependencies on other systems. It’s best to keep an open mind about what systems to replace/upgrade, then use the evaluation data to help you make those decisions at the end of the process.

2. Consider Best of Breed vs. Consolidation

There is no magic system that will do it all for any company. The million dollar question is: Where do I need enhanced functionality, and in what areas can I get by with something simple? While vendors will often tell you that everything interfaces easily, we feel sure everyone reading this has developed a few grey hairs from interface issues in the past. It’s certainly easier now more than ever to interface between systems, but the fewer systems the better. On the flip side, who wants to go through a system upgrade and not get state of the art functionality? Therefore, in some cases, choosing multiple best of breed systems may be the right choice.

3. Choose a vendor-neutral consultant

Even with recent consolidation, there are hundreds of HCM Vendors in existence today. In order to get started, have an expert select an initial list for you based on your requirements. If you are using outside consultants for this, make sure they are “vendor neutral’ and will challenge your requirements when necessary. If your response to a question is “Because we’ve always done it this way….” and you don’t get any pushback, you’ve got the wrong people helping you. You pay good money for consulting help – demand strong analysis and opinions in return, even if it makes things challenging in the short term.

4. Get educated on the new world of HCM software

Are your vendors offering true SaaS, “pseudo” SaaS, or are they just cloud providers? Are their products truly integrated, or “interfaced” through product acquisitions. If you haven’t changed your systems recently, you’ll realize that things are very different. With the majority of solutions available in the cloud, you no longer need to care about server size or middleware. Instead of licensing, you’ll likely be focused on PEPM (per employee per month) costs. Make sure your consultants spend time with you to educate you on these changes. You and your organization ultimately have to live with these decisions, so make sure you understand exactly what you are buying.

5. Change is easier today

It used to be that clients would stay with a software product for five or six years. Today that number is often cut in half as technology is changing so fast. You want to be on top of your game.  Implementations used to take years and required a team of resources – today they can often be done as quickly as a few months at a quarter of the price, with often half the resources. These factors strongly impact the TCO (total cost of ownership) – and put heavy emphasis on change management.

It’s tempting to move quick when starting a vendor selection. We get it – we’re geeks too. We love to dive in! Preparation and an open mind, however, are the keys to making the right decisions when selecting HCM systems.

Have questions about changing your HCM system? Visit me and the Sability Team at the HR Tech Conference, Oct. 7-10, at Booth 1318.


James Shryock, Chief Strategist

As Sability’s longest standing member of the management team, James brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the firm. Having spent many years in the trenches of HCM implementations James’ focus is on bringing efficiency, effectiveness and robustness to the implementation process. James also works with both enterprise and mid-market clients on strategy and vendor selection using his knowledge of Workforce Management, HR/Payroll, and Talent Management.