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By now most organizations know they need a Human Resource Information System (HRIS). But when it becomes clear that an existing solution is soon to be obsolete, the choice to either keep finding workarounds or scrap the solution in favor of a new tool is a tough one.

Recognizing that it’s time for a change is key. Outdated HRIS platforms are inefficient, costly and cannot meet the flexibility and functionality needs of the modern workforce. Still, many are in use today. Government agencies, for one, use legacy HRIS systems that are missing modern functionalities such as an intuitive user experience, employee/manager self-service, multiple talent management modules and reporting or analytics tools. Despite the need for the industry to revamp the technology, a recent report from GAO showed a $7.3 billion dollar reduction in federal spending focused in on development, modernization and enhancement of federal IT. With less available funds, agencies are spending the funds they do have on simple operations and maintenance—applying bandages to a broken system.

This approach is understandable, since the cost of replacing a system is high, and the process of implementing, customizing and configuring a new on-premise solution can be extremely complex. But SaaS tools are an affordable and easier alternative. Plus, they provide the flexibility that's missing from legacy solutions.

The Benefits of SaaS Tools Over Legacy Systems

One of the main differences between traditional, on-premise solutions and cloud-based Saas solutions is the cost structure. On-premise solutions almost always require a large initial implementation fee, followed by ongoing payments that depend on how many people an organization employs—the more workers an organization has, the less an on-premise tool costs. Meanwhile, cloud-based solutions are subscription based, don’t involve a massive implementation cost and charge organizations per employee. In this scenario, smaller organizations pay less than larger ones.

There are functional differences as well. There’s a misconception that SaaS tools are fairly rudimentary and cannot be configured to fit an organization’s specific needs. On the contrary, because they’re implemented via the cloud rather than a physical installation, they are highly flexible. And, there are also multitudes of configuration capabilities for SaaS solutions that can be tailored to an organization’s specific requirements. Today’s SaaS systems come equipped with powerful reporting capabilities and seamless user experiences. More importantly, they provide another route for organizations that don’t want live with the pain of an old system, but don’t want to upgrade to an expensive on-premise replacement either.

Unifying Solutions Spells More Savings

Once an organization decides to make the leap to a SaaS solution, the transitional time could provide an opportunity to consider how the organization tackles other business processes. Could it be time to consider replacing standalone processes within a comprehensive approach? A talent management solution, which unifies disparate HR functions and technologies under one umbrella could provide the kind of well-oiled structure that modern-day organizations need.

Unified talent management solutions enable organizations to achieve cost savings by removing redundant or overlapping tools and improving the user experience by allowing HR teams to rely on one centralized solution. Moreover, though unified talent management solutions vary, most provide resources and avenues for building a culture of learning, collaboration and development, which enable organizations to quickly implement new initiatives, and onboard employees quickly and effectively. By elevating and broadening the scope of tools available to HR teams, talent management systems can take HR out of its silo and give it a more significant role in the organization. And, with more internal clout, HR teams will have more leeway when it comes to shaping company culture and other corporate decision-making.

It all Comes Back to Your HR Strategy

Before making any decisions regarding HR technology, it is important to be familiar with your strategic plan, assess the gap between your existing technological capabilities and the requirements of your plan and begin to replace or add the necessary components in a systematic, prioritized, cost-efficient way. Making a switch overnight is unrealistic, especially for organizations with complex structures, such as government agencies. Nevertheless, there are ways to modernize human resources technology at a reasonable cost without having to sacrifice depth of functionality.

At the end of the day, you must consider your goals, and choose the right technology that helps you achieve them.

Learn more about modernizing your HRIS.