The CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey is the longest running survey on the state of HR technology adoption and the value organizations achieve.
As the director of this ongoing research, I am allowed – actually encouraged – to stay “vendor neutral.” But I work for an organization of ~750 talented consultants focused on implementing, hosting, and consulting around enterprise solutions. So over the years, the evolution of the survey has been with the idea in mind that the HR technologies we track are used by organizations at an enterprise/corporate level and not just within functional or operational levels. Our survey questions are sent to organizations with 500+ employees. Over the years, the survey has evolved to cover seven categories of HR technologies used in organizations across all industry sectors: administrative, service delivery, workforce management, talent management, business intelligence (more focused on infrastructure and reporting), workforce optimization (focused on workforce analytics and planning solutions), and social and mobile technologies focused on strategic use rather than simply allowing their use. I guess that’s really eight categories but I’ve not yet split that last group.
Which brings me to the point of this blog: What would help you, the readers and users of our survey? We do benchmarking with the survey results. I and my colleagues make presentations on the results. And gratefully, we get lots of feedback that our coverage helps practitioners. I’ve been told that our CedarCrestone HCM Applications Blueprint is posted on the walls of people focused at the intersection of Human Resources and Information Technology. The Blueprint is used to guide adoption of additional technologies to serve their organization to achieve excellence with administrative, service delivery, workforce management, talent management, and workforce optimization processes. The metrics on things like number of employees served via self service or shared service centers supported by an automated HR help desk, and others, help make the business case for the technologies. I also notice the vendor community and even competitor consulting firms use our results to help their customers understand the value of adopting HR technologies. I notice other research firms, with many more people than me and our team that use, and improve upon, the questions we ask. That’s flattering and I’m personally proud that Sierra-Cedar is helping move organizations towards optimizing their organizations. After all, why do anything in an enterprise if it’s not to impact outcomes by optimizing the performance of the workforce and the organization.
For this 15th year effort, I’m thinking that we must continue our coverage of application adoption, how solutions are being deployed (on premise, hosted, software as a service-SaaS, etc.) in the categories mentioned above. Plus we need to collect the metrics that allow us to show the value of adoption and deployment choices. But here are some of my questions about how the survey might need to change to support you better:
- Should we look at the SMB market? As the technologies have evolved to SaaS, it’s affordable for smaller and smaller organizations to adopt them.
- Should we split social and mobile as a category? I think the answer is yes. And if we focus on mobile should we also cover more on security of mobile devices for enterprises?
- Are technologies like electronic content management (ECM) worthy of inclusion? We used to track knowledge management as part of service delivery as many organizations used such technologies to support serving employees from their shared service center or centers of excellence. But ECM, or knowledge management, embraces so much these days. For example, there is definitely an intersection between social media and knowledge management around learning solutions. And service centers still have a knowledge base with at a minimum, answers to frequently asked questions by employees about topics like benefits, pay, and employee polices. And, there’s much more to this topic. What would help enterprises?
- Integration — ah, there is SO MUCH to ask about here. If one reads the LinkedIn HR Technology Conference group discussion titled, “The Other Shoe Drops – Oracle Offers to Buy Taleo,” you will quickly see that the 300 or so discussion entries focus a lot on integration topics. You can get a master’s degree in HRIT by reading these entries! We already cover a lot about integration in our survey questions but what would help you?
- Customization – what do you want to know about the level of and use of customizations?
- Emerging technologies and deployment approaches – actually there are so many that have been around for a while in other venues outside of HR such as gamification, task management, platform as a service, big data, and so much more. My dilemma is selecting those that have impact for enterprises and are at the intersection to HR technologies. What’s a poor gal to do?
- New metrics to show success from HR technologies adoption – organizations should adopt these technologies for business outcomes. We can, and do already, measure the link to financial performance. But what else might we measure? I’m thinking, how or do HR technologies have any link to employee engagement and innovation. What else?
I could go on and on but it’s Saturday. It’s getting close to survey time and it seems like I can’t stop fretting about what to do for the 15th year. I’ve always felt that while the survey effort has the full support of CedarCrestone (now Sierra-Cedar), that in some ways, it belongs to the readers. So, am I on the right track for this year with the above ideas? And, please, please, please, Sierra-Cedar people that bless my work life and are dear friends, help me out here. What would help you with our customers?