Eight questions to ask prospective HR software vendors



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In the final stages of looking at new HR software vendors? Here are eight essential questions you need to ask to pick the right HR system vendor

So you’ve already built a business case for a new HR system, and met with a variety of HR software vendors and seen demonstrations of their software. Now you’re really in the final stages of the HR system selection process, it’s time to get down to detail. Here are eight essential questions you need to ask prospective HR software vendors before you sign on the dotted line.

Eight questions to ask prospective HR software vendors

 1. Do you have customers in our sector that already use your HR software?

It’s helpful to know if HR software vendors already support organisations of a similar size, and in a similar sector to your own – so you can get a sense of if the product is appropriate for your needs. Look at the vendor’s website for client case studies and success stories and, when making your final decision, ask to speak to clients directly to get an honest view of the pros and cons of that particular HR system.

2. What training and support will you provide?

Implementing new self-service HR software is a major undertaking, so you’ll want to make sure that prospective HR software vendors will offer you the right level of support – from implementation through to pre-launch training, and ongoing support to help you get the most out of your new HR system. Ciphr, for example, offers extensive support during implementation and post-launch, as well as live and on-demand training activities through our online platform, Ciphr Academy.

3. What support is available if we have a problem?

You’ll also want to know what support is available from the vendor’s customer care team if you encounter an issue: can you call, email, or log a ticket online? What are the guaranteed response times – sometimes referred to as SLAs (service-level agreements)? Can you access self-help guides through an online knowledge base? And will the customer care team be available during your working hours?

4. How will you keep my data secure?

Data security is paramount, so you’ll want to quiz prospective HR software vendors about how they manage, store, and secure the data that you’ll hold in their system. The best HR software companies – including Ciphr – are ISO 27001 accredited, which demonstrates an organisation-wide commitment to managing sensitive information in an appropriate way.

5. What other applications does the HR software integrate with?

To fully realise the efficiency and security benefits of central HR system implementation, it’s critical that you integrate it with other applications in your existing HR tech stack. Forward-thinking vendors will have a marketplace of partners that they already work closely with. You should also be able to specify or request additional integrations, typically through an API.

6. How long will it take to go live with your HR software?

Roll-out plans and implementation timescales will vary depending on the size of your organisation and the scope of your HR systems project; it might only take a few months to launch the central HR software modules, but adding extras such as payroll software, a learning management system, and HR recruitment software into the mix will lengthen the implementation timescale. The vendor should be able to give you an estimated timeline for your HR system implementation project before you make your final selection.

7. How, and how often, are software updates rolled out?

If you’re planning to choose a cloud-based HR system, the vendor will schedule and roll out software updates on your behalf. You’d expect these to be managed on a fixed schedule – likely monthly or quarterly – and the updates to be deployed outside of typical working hours.

8. What’s your product roadmap?

Prospective HR software vendors should be able to share a product roadmap for the next 12 months, which details the new functionality or tools they plan to add to their products over that period. You’ll want to look at the roadmap to understand if it contains functionality that’s on your requirements list; it might be that the right HR software for you doesn’t have all the functionality just yet, but it will do further down the line.


Still searching for the right HR software? Read through our case studies or speak to Ciphr to find out why our integrated HR, payroll, recruitment, and LMS solutions could be right for your organisation. Request your personalised HR software demo now.  


This article was first published in March 2016. It was updated in January 2023 for freshness, clarity, and accuracy.