One thing is clear, human capital management (HCM) has advanced significantly over the last few decades. That said, though, the question remains, what will the HCM market become?  Buying an HCM system in 2020 and beyond will require a much different approach than ever before for HR, payroll, and operations decision makers.  Keeping up with constant changes in capabilities of HR technology systems can be both intimidating and exhausting to a buyer in the crowded HCM market of today, especially when you have all the different moving parts of an enterprise organization to take care of.

Yet, even though all these changes are occurring, the top focus areas for every company remain the same – paying employees accurately, managing their time effectively, and motivating them to drive strong business results. Instead, it's the mindset behind the who, what, when, where, how, and why of these activities that's a revolving door of opportunity. 

Purchasing an HCM system – and the services that go with it – that is sensitive to and optimizes all the moments that matter for each of your employees now impacts your continued success in a space where securing the right talent has only gotten more competitive.  Fresh perspectives are invaluable for your HCM buying dream team, who will need a direct focus on your people strategy and an understanding of the demand for technological enhancements to outdated processes. After all, let’s face it: traditional approaches and considerations no longer work when choosing the right HCM vendor – for a variety of reasons.

As companies modernize to match their external customers, HR, payroll, and operations professionals need to consistently communicate better and bring a consumer-grade mindset into their internal business processes.  The future of work is now, and you’ll only succeed in this new environment if you’re focused just as deeply on your employee experience as you are on the needs of your company’s customers. And that, of course, requires the right technology.

To support your HCM transformation in 2020, we’ve provided these three investment themes to help you make a better buying decision.

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1. Prioritize your people strategy

Approach your HCM buying process with your people strategy front of mind.  Compare your current state to the desired future state of your company’s culture to help highlight various HCM requirements when shopping for a solution and services, as well as how that culture translates to a motivated, productive workforce. Employees today expect a consumer-grade user experience from the different business applications they interact with, so make sure you choose an HCM platform that’s designed to delight and built to engage. This will ensure employee adoption, reduce administrative overhead through self-service, and promote both productivity and work/life balance by giving access when and where your people need it.  After all, your people are the foundation and backbone of your company – listen and learn from them.

2. Consolidate technology demands

Take a look at all of your systems today. Are you finding organizational traps, inefficiencies, and delays due to inaccurate data from disparate systems? If you're still working with a distributed set of point solutions, the first thing to know is single unified systems are the 21st century approach. Having one human capital management solution allows for fewer moving parts, making for a simpler, more trusted experience for employees, managers, and HR, payroll, and operations professionals. Recruiting, onboarding, payroll, benefits, time off, and other functions from across the employee lifecycle are located in one place, allowing for improved accuracy and strategic analytics.

The other thing to be aware of here is not just how well an HCM system consolidates your people-related processes, but also how well it extends outward and connects to your other key systems of record and the places your employees work every day. An enterprise-grade HCM solution will also make this extensibility one of its core priorities, embedding its processes where workers can easily access them, such as inside Microsoft Outlook or Google's G-Suite, and easily feeding into areas important to business stakeholders like your ERP or CRM systems.

 Single systems have transformed our work, workforce, and workplace, empowering a cohesive operation.  As organizations reimagine their technology, the importance of strategic technology investments grows. Seek application leaders who are transforming the HCM market that prioritize investments in experience, learning, upskilling, AI, and extensibility to meet these agility objectives in 2020 to keep up with the continuous change that's now the norm.

3. Build an operations station

When you run a company, you look at your accounts payable department to understand who you’re paying and what you’re paying for so you can keep costs down and stay efficient. Why wouldn’t you extend that operational logic and visibility to your HR and payroll processes?

Make it simple – boil it down to the personal elements of your company. Your approach to operational effectiveness can be as simple as using data from your HCM solution to get insights into who you have on board and what they bring to the table. When you rely on manual, semi-automated, or disparate systems, inefficient processes can frustrate your people and lead to retention issues, which also lead to unforeseen costs. Tracking your workforce’s skills, certifications, and availability in a single HCM system instead will help you make timekeeping and scheduling choices that are accurate, optimized, and compliant. This means you'll efficiently fill the roles you need to be productive without sacrificing your employee experience.

The bottom line is HR, payroll, and operations professionals can all agree it’s very difficult to develop and engage a modern, productive workforce if platform challenges are keeping them from successfully doing their jobs. A single HCM solution automates away administrative processes and provides the visibility needed to see the bigger strategic picture and add value to the business. And it’s not just process efficiency that’s gained here — you also get the tools you need to more easily manage and engage your organization’s most valuable asset: your people.

Conclusion: Buying HCM in 2020 can still be simple

Finding a new HCM solution for your organization can be a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be.  The best approach to buying HCM in 2020 and beyond is to simply unpack the three most important themes of your business – people, technology and operations.  In a world where change is constant,  focus on the people who power your business, adopt a single unified system that will also close gaps between business units, and modernize your operational strategies with the adoption of a unified approach to HCM.

The future of your business starts now.  If you're looking for next steps in your HCM buying journey, our HCM Buyer’s Guide will help you steer your evaluation process and ensure your buying approach remains smooth and swift.

Download the HCM Buyer's Guide

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2020