Jessica Miller-Merrell, Blogging4Jobs founder and HR Tech expert, compares the process of selecting an HR suite to the process of choosing a mate. "I'll admit I've made my share of mistakes when it comes to choosing men, cars and HR technology," she writes. "Signing a contract with an HR technology product that offers a full suite of services is a commitment, a marriage if you will. It’s a relationship that has give and take."
Like a promising date who, you find out later, has too much emotional baggage, some talent management software solutions aren't as modern as they appear. One often-misunderstood distinction is the difference between integrated and fully unified systems — which is why we recommend asking the following four questions during any software courtship.
Is every tool hosted on the Cloud?
This one should be a no-brainer, and forty percent of companies are now only considering cloud-based solutions for their new HRMS. Cloud applications impact nearly every industry, and businesses are racing to adapt. This is especially true with talent management software, which has traditionally been part of big, on-premise ERP (enterprise resource planning) software systems.
Platforms that are entirely based in the cloud, on the other hand, offer a seamless, feature-rich platform for all talent management needs. A unified talent management software platform keeps your most important tools at your fingertips and eliminates challenges like mismatched user interfaces, difficult upgrades and the poorly organized data that comes with patchwork "integrated" solutions.
Is there one consistent user interface?
An intuitive and consistent user interface is one of the most important aspects of a strong HRMS platform that will be easy to navigate and encourage user adoption. When you're working with a hodgepodge of different apps brought together in an integrated platform, usability is often left to the wayside. There are simply too many different UIs to bring together to create a cohesive, easy to use program.
Conversely, with a unified platform, a consistent user interface is built right in. There's no need to switch between different applications, and users can complete all of their talent management tasks — recruiting, training and development, performance management, compensation, collaboration and succession — from one centralized platform.
Is there a single upgrade and maintenance path?
For talent management platforms to perform well and deliver value in the long term, it's vital to keep the applications well maintained and up-to-date. Bolted-together systems that pull in functionalities from many different apps are inherently more challenging to maintain and keep updated, simply because there are so many different systems to take into account when you update one (and lots of integration points that can "break").
A unified talent management platform can be easily updated all at once, because the software is all written in a consistent language – and it’s all ONE system. This means all customers receive the same upgrades at the same time, so users can stay competitive by taking advantage of new features right away. Unlike integrated software that requires many workarounds and modifications, the very nature of a unified talent management system allows for rapid, real-time innovation.
How is data gathered and presented?
Ultimately, all software should deliver results, so it’s vital to have comprehensive, easy-to-understand tools for reporting and measuring key data. This can be difficult when you’re trying to gain insight into many disconnected features. This means users must manually enter data for different aspects of talent management, wasting time and often leading to errors. Unified platforms provide the additional benefit of consistent, easily accessible data to get a full understanding of a company’s talent and make better, more informed decisions.
When considering different talent management software, it’s important to keep in mind that while "integrated" solutions promise the world, they tend to offer unwieldy and disconnected experiences. Unified, cloud-based talent management software ensures that all your users are working with a consistent platform, important updates are delivered seamlessly and key data is always at your fingertips.