When the pandemic turned the world of work on its head and lockdowns forced a mass shift to homeworking, there was a rush to invest in online technology. This was particularly true for the HR function, with many organisations wanting new systems to help them keep their people connected and aligned to the overall business goals.
At this point, they were faced with a crucial decision – opt for a comprehensive suite solution that offers a wide range of different functionality or choose a specialised point solutions for each specific task, such as employee engagement or performance management.
While at first glance, the suite solution may seem to be the easier option, many have found over the past few years it has not been quite so straightforward. In this blog post, we’ll explore why point solutions could be a better choice and what metrics can be used to make the right decision when it comes to investing in new HR technology.
Why one-size-fits-all is not always the right choice
The strength of suite solutions – the fact that they can do everything – is also at the heart of their weaknesses. They tend to offer less flexibility and have a much more prescriptive approach to each of their functions. If you want to do something different from the norm, it can be very difficult to make that happen.
They also are inclined to be more superficial, offering a base level of functionality. This means while it is possible to do a wide range of basic HR tasks on the system, they do not support more complex, tailored approaches.
Implementing a suite solution is a huge commitment. It may well need IT support across the business and extensive employee training on how to use it. By its very nature, it is unlikely to happen overnight and will require significant time and resources. If the organisation is looking for a quick fix, the suite approach is not the answer.
The benefits of an HR point solution
When it comes to solving a particular people-centric problem, most of the time it is very specific and focused around a certain challenge; such as finding the right talent, improving performance or managing learning and development. Finding something that meets your exact requirements is likely to be the answer, rather than looking for something that solves your problem and does a lot of other things too.
Here are key five benefits of opting for a point solution:
- Precision and focus – point solutions have been designed for a specific purpose and all the thinking that has gone into their development is centred on delivering that one central goal. This approach often leads to a smoother employee experience, as it is clear how to use the system.
- Ease of implementation – As they have one, clear purpose, point solutions often require minimal input from IT, only basic training and can be rolled out in a matter of days rather than weeks or months.
- Affordability – with a suite solution, you may well be paying for functionality that you don’t need. This is not the case with point solutions as you will only purchase the essentials. This can often lead to substantial savings.
- Easy to integrate - many point solutions are specifically designed to be used in collaboration with other systems, so are easy to connect to the rest of the HR network. This allows organisations to take a “best of breed” approach, choosing the systems that have the functionality they need, rather than being tied to a suite solution that doesn’t do everything they want.
- Greater innovation – to remain competitive, point solutions need to keep innovating and developing to ensure they continue to meet customer demand. This means they are always looking to improve what they offer and making sure they are the best at what they do.
How do you decide which option to go for?
To help you make the decision that is right for your business, here are five things to consider when making your choice.
- Alignment with your business goals – be very clear about what the problem is you’re trying to solve and assess which solutions make this better. Don’t get distracted by fancy bells and whistles that may come in handy one day, keep focused on the essentials.
- User experience – how intuitive is the solution? The easier it is to use, the more likely it is to be embraced by your employees. A good sense check is to ask some employees to try it for themselves and see what they think. Be sure to listen to any issues it throws up - it may well save you a lot of time and money!
- Implementation time and resources – know exactly when you need the solution up and running. If it needs to be done quickly, a point solution is often the best alternative.
- Total cost of ownership – don’t just look at the price of the system, factor in how much time and resources a solution could potentially save you.
- Customer support – there are very few systems that are implemented without any teething problems. What support is on hand to help with onboarding and beyond? Do you have a dedicated contact? Can you speak to a human if you want to? These can make an enormous difference and help you make the most of any solution you choose.
Having a clear understanding of the problem you want to solve and the benefits you want to see, are vital to ensure you find the most appropriate solution.
Building a coherent business case for new tech
Whichever way you decide to go with, you’ll need to sell it into your board to get their buy-in for the investment needed. To help you have these sometimes-tricky conversations, we’ve developed a guide and business case template. These will take you through the information you need to gather and provide a framework to follow that sets out a coherent, well-planned rationale. Using these will take you one step closer to getting the right tech for your business.