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In 2014 Elearnity and HRN Europe conducted a study on the Critical Realities in HR and HR Technology in Europe. Over the next few weeks we’ll introduce you to the key findings and trends identified through the survey. You can also download the full version of the report at the end of the article.

The demand for HR technology has perhaps never been as high as it is at the moment. Start-ups and large vendors alike are fighting for customers looking to improve recruitment processes and talent management, strengthen decision making via people analytics, and bolster learning and collaboration through social platforms. Unfortunately, it appears that the vendor and customer markets are not perfectly in sync just yet.

        number 1       

While companies may strive for ‘extreme’ levels of satisfaction from all their customers at all times, the reality is that most will settle for ‘high’ or ‘fair’ levels from the majority of their clients. However, it seems that at a time when HR is fighting to gain a stronger voice within organisations, and place itself as a strategic partner to business operations, HR systems are often a barrier rather than an enabler to these efforts.

number 2

number 3

What are the reasons for such disconcerting numbers? Is the vendor market unable to deliver on promises and accommodate the needs of its customers? Or, is it perhaps the HR professionals that lack the knowledge and practice in selecting and implementing the right HR systems?

The research conducted by Elearnity and HRN Europe identifies the top five reasons companies are planning to replace existing HR systems in the next 2-3 years.

  1. Business Agility and Flexibility of Solutions

Organisational and management thought leaders, such as Gary Hamel and Costas Markides, have been preaching the concepts of ‘agility’ and ‘flexibility’ for years now. It appears that companies and business leaders have received the message. Not only do organisations expect corporate cultures to evolve towards more collaborative, social and highly adaptive communities, they naturally desire tech products that would support a new-found agility and flexibility by facilitating imperative functions such as onboarding, L&D, talent management and others with data-driven customizable solutions.

  1. Quality of End User Experience

As employees, we often feel bored, uninspired and defeated by technology and the systems we use within the boundaries of a workplace. Yet, we feel liberated, engaged and highly connected by those offered to us as consumers. We are used to ordering food at the touch of a button, scrolling through news on the way to work and sharing photos and experiences with communities of 5 or 5,000 people in a matter of seconds. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that when the user interface of, say, a recruitment platform we use requires an MIT degree, we think of it as a mandatory chore as opposed to a facilitating tool.

  1. Lack of Analytics

You know the old saying “Knowledge is power”? Never before was it as relevant as it appears to be now. Marketing, Sales, Procurement – every business unit is trying out systems that could empower them to uncover trends and insights that were previously hidden, and HR departments are no exception. While some believe that people analytics reduces humans to data units, others argue in favour of the opportunities presented by the knowledge of what motivates employees, and what subtle characteristics to look for in pursuit of a cultural fit, etc. We might be spoiled as consumers, but the in-built analytical capabilities of a platform are now perceived as given, rather than optional.

  1. Total Cost of Ownership

HR professionals are starting to have a more sophisticated understanding of the needs, priorities and capabilities of their organisation from a technological standpoint. Add in the booming HR tech market and it makes sense that an HR manager, as a client, would expect faster, more easily integrated and user-friendly solutions for a lower price. Furthermore, costs like maintenance, upgrades and switching to a different system are being considered by HRIS professionals when selecting one product over another.

  1. Functional Deficiencies

Functionality, while still remaining in the top five, is no longer the most important attribute of an HR system. As the study puts it “there appears to be a growing maturity in HR Technology buyers, who realise that functionality does not necessarily equate with business value.”

As David Perring, Director of Research at Elearnity said, “The problem is that a lack of innovation and ease of adoption around HR systems are increasingly what stifles HR from having transformational impact. Aligning business strategy, HR strategy, technology and execution is never easy, but it is even harder when your HR systems are not functionally up to the job. What the critical trends highlighted in our research are showing us is how hugely influential HR Tech is becoming in HR’s future success.”

Interested in finding out more about the results of our survey?

  • Growing importance of SaaS
  • Critical realities for HR’s effectiveness in the C-Suite
  • Critical realities for HR strategy & operations…

…are a just few of the topics we have uncovered for you.

Fill out a short form and access the full report.

Download Report


  • Christa Degnan Manning

    Great post and study – thanks for delving into this in Europe, looking forward to reading the details!