Technology can have a profound impact on your organization — but it has to be the right technology.
Technology in the workplace can transform an organization by making it more agile and efficient. Successful implementation of the right software can also enhance the role of HR and make it more accountable.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, bad technology decisions can often result in wasted resources and further disconnect HR from the rest of the organization — especially if HR is seen as pushing solutions that the rank-and-file doesn't want or need. The choice of technology and solution is an important decision for finance leaders. How can you make the best call?
1. Employ Easy-to-Use Technology
Raj Uttamchandani, vice president of information technology at ADP, notes that Apple has figured out consumers will embrace technology if it's presented simply. The ability to find people who can understand the complexity and use of technology — and yet see its ease of use — is rare, Uttamchandani says.
"It really takes someone who has the ability to look at a problem and apply successful contextual solutions from different parts of their life," he says. "It comes down to having someone who has a desire to deliver a simple solution for the consumer and is willing to take responsibility for whatever complexity is necessary to make that happen."
2. Make Sure it Offers Value
It's easy to get caught up in peer pressure. If everyone is using a particular technology in the workplace, inevitably someone will likely ask a finance leader, "Why not us?" But before adopting a new technology, finance leaders should ask themselves a few questions.
"All too often, organizations get swept up into the shiny new toy that's out there in the marketplace," says Uttamchandani. "The question you've got to ask is what problem is this going to solve for you. Always try to track back to specific business outcomes you're trying to achieve."
Before buying a tool to increase employee engagement, for example, a finance leader should ask whether that's really a problem in the organization and how the improvement in engagement will be measured.
3. Gauge What Kind of Data it Will Offer
Data is a big deal for businesses, so finance leaders should be aware of what data opportunities a tool might offer. A third party, for example, might work with many organizations and be able to compare data with others — albeit on an anonymized basis — which could provide you with insight and better decision-making. For example, it could tell you how your compensation for particular roles matches up with competitors in a particular geographic area, and how likely some of your best employees are to flee.
4. Test It
Depending on the organization, it may make sense to test the technology with a group of employees first. Not every technology will work well in every business, or even in every part of a particular organization. Uttamchandani recalls speaking with a group from Austria and finding that they were much less open to adopting software that used personal information for predictive analytics and cognitive computing applications because they felt that using such data impinged on their privacy.
5. Work With a Full-Service HCM Partner
In a business world of expanding complexity, working with partners can make more sense than trying to go it alone. Just as organizations are pursuing cloud-based security because they can't keep up with emerging threats, a full-service HCM partner can help you take advantage of constantly emerging opportunities and provide guidance on best practices based on real-world data.
It's been said many times but is worth repeating here: every business is a tech business these days. Since technology permeates so many aspects of people's lives, it's essential that businesses stay up-to-date on what they offer to both their consumers and their employees.
The good news is that you're not stuck with whatever technology you choose. In a dynamic marketplace, finance leaders can pick and choose what works best for them, but you should remember that employees can play a role in helping you get these decisions right the first time.