A Look at Solution Providers & Technology 2016 / 2017: Powering Personal Productivity & Enabling Employee Experience

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As Josh Bersin recently noted, the HR software market is reinventing itself. Mobile apps, analytics, video, and a focus on team-centric management are driving disruptive change throughout the industry.[1] This follows his observation that the way organizations manage, lead, and organize themselves is also undergoing radical change.[2]

These transformations are altering the fundamental roles and responsibilities of HR and information technology (IT) in the workplace. Instead of traditional process automation, the outcomes we need are organizational effectiveness and workplace efficiency in the face of relentless change. This means we have to completely rethink how all solutions—enterprise software applications and outsourced service providers alike—are ultimately powering productivity and enabling positive employee experiences.

For too long we have heard employees are woefully disengaged[3] and economies are stagnating globally due to a lack of labor productivity[4]. Indeed, could it be that the very same systems that delivered decades-long waves of productivity are now a root cause for workforce disengagement and distraction?[5]

Three major trends in HR solution delivery dynamics are driving a related refresh of Bersin by Deloitte’s solution provider research:

  1. Enabling employee experience
  2. Cloud software commencement
  3. Extending the enterprise.

We explore each of these topics in more detail below.

Topic 1: Enabling Employee Experience

In light of the current changes taking place in business, technology, and demographics, companies are rethinking the tools and solutions they offer their workforces from the employee’s perspective. Many software companies are using mobile-first development approaches, and enterprises are using design thinking principles to reexamine what they are asking their people to do to this end.

But intuitive self-service interfaces can only go so far. Companies have to consider how they handle the exceptions that will always ultimately arise when dealing with complexity, change, and people. This year we will delve into digital HR and what that means to enterprise HR technology strategies, as well as incumbent and upstart solution provider partners.

Topic 2: Cloud Software Commencement

Software as a service (SaaS) has ushered in a new era of investment in HR systems, offering enterprises opportunities for faster innovation and standard configuration approaches for solution simplification. Yet with the cloud comes the relentless responsibility to apply and adopt new features and functions, all in the context of myriad other business changes and daily distractions.

Many companies are just now realizing the extent to which they need to keep investing and resourcing their HR IT and workforce enablement commitments. We’ll outline what it takes to set up and sustain SaaS success. The day a cloud HR solution implementation goes live is just the beginning of what can become a truly transformational journey tapping human potential.

Topic 3: Extending the Enterprise

While SaaS can provide benefits in eliminating some technology infrastructure responsibilities, companies still need to ensure their HR applications work with each other and the other business systems that define and document business performance. This is particularly critical to the success of people analytics.

Companies also need to take into account workers outside their traditional four walls that contribute to their overall business goals and talent strategy. Bersin by Deloitte will be investigating not only how companies rationalize and relate HR systems to other technologies and systems, but where they are bringing in contingent and contract labor to complete their workforce picture and planning.

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The solution provider research agenda at Bersin by Deloitte is also expanding tactically in three key areas. Each initiative seeks to help our audiences appreciate the ever-evolving landscape of vendors; understand how they enable and promote progress along our High-Impact maturity models; and document where value is being created, not just through their initial implementation but also in user adoption, integration, and innovation over time.

  1. We are undertaking a refresh of our Solution Provider Library (SPL). The foundation of our annual coverage of software, content, and service providers, the Bersin by Deloitte SPL is a comprehensive repository of key information on firms that HR and talent leaders can identify to reach their HR and workforce support objectives.If you are currently evaluating any firms you would like to see in the library (or you work for a firm that should be listed), please let us know at chrmanning@deloitte.com.
  2. In light of the trends above, we are focusing our solution provider research and methodologies beyond features and functions to account for the factors that have significant impact on employee experience, enterprise capability development, and overall solution provider partnership success and sustainability. This includes observations on implementation customer success models, integration approaches and methods, and partner ecosystems and extensibility.
  3. We are also ramping up efforts to release concise collections of key providers in each of the Bersin by Deloitte practice areas this year as our functional analysts incorporate solution providers into their overall research agendas and strategic thinking around enablers of maturity. Stay tuned for landscapes that outline evolving markets and the stalwarts and start-ups in:
  • Cloud core HR. These are the key global enterprise SaaS players that help companies document and pay workers worldwide while ensuring regulatory compliance and talent visibility.
  • HR service delivery. The tools and technologies putting a friendly face to organizations’ HR tech portfolios when self-service isn’t sufficient.
  • Career management. Professional advancement is a top talent issue across organizations today. What are the key attributes to look for in traditional development solutions and emerging employee-centric systems?
  • Talent sourcing. Recruiting is leading the transition from tactical, transaction-based activities in HR to more informed, personalized relationships with workers. We will explore the world of candidate relationship management and marketing offerings this year.
  • Learning. The continuous learning organization means collaboration, decision support, and knowledge-transfer technology is pervasive in the enterprise today. Our report will review the current landscape of learning and development disruption and value creation channels.
  • Leadership development. Following the debut of our High-Impact Leadership study, we will review the top software, services, and content solution providers that are powering the leaders in leadership today.
  • Performance management. Perhaps no other area of HR process automation has changed and grown as rapidly as the annual performance review, with dozens of firms claiming to “reinvent it” and creating tools to help organizations focus on how to get meaningful work done. This year, we’ll review the emergence and evolution of this space and how companies might rethink implementing or adapting the existing systems they have in place.
  • Talent management. More than 10 years after the emergence of integrated talent suites, we will review how far the industry has come—and how far it still has to go—to deliver on the promise of all-in-one talent management systems that enable organizations to understand how to manage and motivate workers in the modern era.

Finally, in concert with the SPL refresh and collections of provider landscapes, we will be conducting case studies of capabilities that do not neatly fit into any one traditional practice or software area, but may have the most profound impact on the future of work and the workforce. These include machine learning that can uncover unconscious biases, analytics that can support gender equity, and robotic process automation that can augment the unique contributions that humans can make to our companies, economies, and societies.

We’re always looking for feedback and new ideas. If you’re an HR leader working on any of these topics, please email me at chrmanning@deloitte.com to ask questions and share your thoughts.

In addition, we’d like to invite you to participate in the Bersin Research Exchange, sharing your leading practices and receiving research-based rewards such reports, diagnostics, and white papers. Please register here: http://tiny.cc/BREHR.

 

[1] “The HR Software Market Reinvents Itself,” Forbes / Josh Bersin, July 18, 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2016/07/18/the-hr-software-market-reinvents-itself/#5c318cf24930.

[2] “The New Digital World of Work: How HR Will Change In 2016,” Forbes / Josh Bersin, January 29, 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2016/01/29/ten-predictions-for-hr-leaders-in-2016-how-the-digital-world-of-work-will-change/#310260f84d11.

[3] “Employee Engagement in U.S. Stagnant in 2015,” Gallup / Amy Adkins, January 13, 2016, www.gallup.com/poll/188144/employee-engagement-stagnant-2015.aspx.

[4] “Productivity Slump Threatens Economy’s Long-Term Growth,” The Wall Street Journal / Ben Leubsdorf, August 9, 2016, www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-productivity-dropped-at-0-5-pace-in-the-second-quarter-1470746092.

[5] “Don’t Look Now! How Your Devices Hurt Your Productivity,” NPR.org / Lesley McClurg, October 19, 2016, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/19/498450445/dont-look-now-how-your-devices-hurt-your-productivity.

Christa Degnan Manning

Christa Degnan Manning leads Bersin by Deloitte’s solution provider research. In this role, she collaborates with Bersin and Deloitte colleagues across practices to identify and analyze software and service providers that support and sustain success in human resources, workforce enablement, and organizational effectiveness. Christa’s research and advisory work helps businesses align their workforce support strategies with the right third-party partners and governance models to deliver functional capabilities and employee experiences that support productivity, engagement, and workforce efficiency. She also helps solution providers map their capabilities and go-to-market activities with solution buyers’ and users’ critical needs. Christa draws on more than two decades of business-to-business market research, operational leadership, and global workforce experience. She holds a Master's degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, including studies at University College, University of London.

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