Choosing one HR system is tough. But if you’re planning to integrate multiple solutions, it’s even more crucial that you choose the right partners to work with
Selecting the right system vendor is always difficult, but the challenges are multiplied when you’re considering integrating two or more HR technologies. Much rests on your choice: will the new system adequately meet (or even exceed) your needs? How will it link up with your core HR software and, potentially, other HR and business software? Have the vendors worked together before? If not, will they be able to do so?
As the popularity of integrated systems increases, more and more non-competing system vendors are choosing to work together and recommend each other’s services to their clients. There are obviously clear benefits for vendors who establish such partnerships, but what’s in it for you, the client?
“I think partnerships are now seen to be a thoroughly good thing – and quite right, too,” says Kate Wadia, managing director at Phase 3 Consulting. “It’s about finding partners you can trust and that can deliver well for you. And I think HR as a customer should be quite demanding about that. But with the right partners, you can bring more experts on board to work together, which gives you a greater richness and diversity of expertise and opens up more opportunities to you.”
A vendor’s willingness to partner with other companies “generally says good things about the openness of the product and their working culture,” she adds. And it’s important to find a company whose culture and ways of working fits with yours, says Kathryn Kendall, chief people officer at Benefex: “I think if there is a clash between cultures, it becomes really obvious to employees [using the system], and it doesn’t feel like the seamless solution that it should be. As much as the functionality has to be right, you also need to find a product and vendor that fits with your organisation’s culture and ethos as well.”
Taking advantage of pre-existing integrations can also result in time and cost efficiencies, because integration work requires financial investment that smaller organisations may find difficult to justify. “When we establish a partnership with a provider of core HR software, such as CIPHR, we shoulder the bulk of the cost of the integration work – making it more affordable for individual customers,” says David Heard, director at Abintegro. “And, because we both know how to get the best out of our systems, we are able to map out some really clever integration points, such as passing data back and forth between systems to enable accurate usage reporting. That means it’s not up to the HR professional to come up with these ideas and fund them – we do it all for you.”
Of course, it’s crucial that HR teams do their own market analysis and due diligence before choosing a systems provider. “Just because there are pre-defined partnerships in place, it doesn’t mean you have to go with them: you, as the customer, have all the choices,” says Wadia. “You could take longer, you could pay more to have a bespoke integration set up, or you could choose not to do the integration if it’s not right for you.
“There are massive efficiency savings from choosing to work with established partners, and it tells you that the two companies are going to work well together. But don’t assume that it’s your only option, either.”
This is an extract from CIPHR’s free white paper, Better together: the future for HR systems integration. Download it here