If you look at the HR Technology marketplace, you will notice that centralization is a big trend in the space. You see this in HRIS platforms, Talent Management Suites and Recruitment Marketing Platforms as well as the motivation for many of the acquisitions that have happened in the last year (SuccessFactors, Taleo, Kenexa, etc.)
While there are some niche technologies still making it in the space (i.e. Social Recruiting), the value of centralized solutions is becoming apparent to many organizations. There are a number of benefits of these types of solutions and the centralization they provide.
Here are a few that are important:
Budget Savings: In many cases, organizations need several different technology types in order to be successful. For recruiting it can be anything from job distribution to applicant tracking to background screening. When purchased separately and pieced together, you are more likely to incur a higher cost than when purchased together in a suite. Sometimes this can be beneficial as you are able to target market leaders for each solution but I think it’s important to really evaluate each of the solutions in the centralized solution vs. the silo solutions and determine the best functionality and use of your budget.
Better Integration: One of the biggest complaints heard from HR Technology customers is the lack of integration or compatibility between vendors and products. While this is definitely getting better and companies are really focusing on making these integrations seamless (I know we are), it’s important to realize that suites and platforms should provide better integration with the solutions they provide than piece-mealing solutions together.
What’s important here is to ask pointed questions on these integration processes during the evaluation phase. Have the vendor show you how easy it is to pull data from and work with other systems. Don’t take their word for it, let them show you. In some cases, the suite won’t be the best integrated solution due to them not building off the same code base (probably because they folded in a purchased technology.)
Also, ask your vendors, how the integration they provide can help you do your job better. It’s great to have integration but if it really doesn’t help you achieve desirable results or make your job easier, it’s really not worth it.
Less Maintenance: It makes sense that working with one or two vendors instead of 3 or 4 will take less work and follow up and in many cases is a better situation. While this really all depends on the quality of the vendor’s customer service, being able to address all your questions and problem resolutions with one point of contact can be a huge time saver for your recruiting team and should create a better relationship overall with your vendor.
Loss Prevention: Centralization of your data and functions can be a great way to ensure that you don’t lose the value you gain from the technology you use. From ensuring the ownership of all your sourced candidate contacts in a Recruitment CRM to the employee data you capture in your HRIS, platform or suite solutions can provide a single location for you to ensure the value you capture remains with your organization.
Holistic Data: In many cases, centralized platforms can provide you with better overall data that can be easily accessed in a single location (as opposed to having to having to integrate the data sets yourself). Ask vendors how they integration they provide can expand the data they provide and insights you are able to make.
Better Training: With a centralized solution, you will be able to create and easily set-up a much more systematic and robust training program for your employees. This is mainly due to the fact that you need to train them on a number of different systems. In many cases, vendors will provide the training for your team so scheduling these training sessions can be much harder when having to work with multiple vendor point of contacts.
Centralizing your technology can provide you not only with cost savings but if done right, a solution that offers better integration and training with in many cases less maintenance needed from your team. While the benefits are clear, it’s really important for you to weigh these benefits with the technology needs of your organization. Platforms and suites may not be the best solution for your organization depending on what you are looking for and just because it’s a suite doesn’t mean their individual solutions are all of the same quality.
Be a discerning buyer when looking at centralized platforms / suites, understand the value they can provide and see if they are up to the quality that exists in other solutions in the marketplace. If they do, they can be a tremendous technology asset to your organization and help you achieve better overall results.