Senior HR professionals identify transactional benefits of linking systems, but overlook potential impact on organisational performance, according to a new CIPHR/YouGov survey

While senior UK HR leaders are cognisant of the transactional benefits of integrating HR systems with other L&D and business systems, many organisations are missing on the enhanced strategic performance such integrations would enable, according to new online research from CIPHR.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of the 500 senior UK HR decision-makers surveyed by YouGov for CIPHR already benefit from integrated HR systems or said they would benefit from such software integration.

Against the background of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last month, respondents highlighted the potential for improved security and reduced risk that integrating HR and other business systems brings, with nearly two-thirds (63%), agreeing that manually transferring data between different systems is a significant data security risk.

CIPHR’s research also hinted at the potential efficiency savings that busy HR departments could benefit from by integrating systems. More than a third (38%) of respondents who said that their business would benefit from integrating HR systems said their business spends up to 10 hours a month updating and transferring data between HR solutions. Over a third (36%) spend more than 10 hours a month updating and transferring data between systems.

While respondents identified tactical benefits to integrating core HR software with other business systems – including reduced administration (36%), improved data accuracy (26%), reduced costs (25%) – strategic benefits were far less likely to be cited. Only a small proportion said that integrating HR and other business systems would improve their ability to adapt to the changing needs of the business (16%), improve their ability to calculate the return on investment for HR initiatives (16%), and lead to a larger involvement of HR throughout the business (14%).

The survey also assessed the most popular standalone HR systems used by HR teams in addition to (but not integrated with) core HR software. The most popular responses included payroll (44%), time and attendance/rostering software (23%), and expense management systems (21%).

Those least likely to be used as standalone HR systems were flexible benefits portals (12%), recruitment/applicant tracking systems (14%), and learning management systems (15%).

Systems that HR professionals currently do or would most benefit from integrating with their core HR systems included payroll (26%) and performance management (23%) solutions, according to the survey respondents. Just 12% of HR professionals working in organisations with more than 250 employees said their business does not or would not benefiting from integrating standalone people management solutions with their core HR system, compared with 38% of those working in small (10-49 employee) companies.

The full results of the CIPHR/YouGov research form part of a new CIPHR white paper, Better together: the future of HR systems integration, which assesses the changing landscape of HR systems integration and strategic benefits of integrating systems, as well as offering advice on tackling common challenges and making the business case for investment in HR software.

The paper’s release accompanies the launch of CIPHR Connect: an ecosystem of trusted business applications that integrate seamlessly with CIPHR’s HR and recruitment solutions, connecting people data across the organisation and enabling HR departments to work more strategically and effectively. Learn more here.