The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology


HR Market Makers: Who Really Determines What You Buy

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So you think you choose what software you purchase?  Well perhaps some of the time you do, but I’m starting to think that there are a couple dozen people in the HR industry that really determine the fate of HR software companies and purchasing.

Let’s face it, the list of short listed vendors you will use for talent management systems is probably fairly predictable.  I could put out a list of companies, as well as half a dozen other well known bloggers and the list of top 5 would pretty much be the same.  Your consultant that you choose will also have the same top 5.  Industry guys like Kutik and Averbook would have the same list.  So you go out there and you ask for input from consultants you know or who you have hired.  You ask HR professionals who are peers about who you should short list.  Should this list be the same every time?  It usually is, and this is a bad thing.

These days, more and more organizations are coming to me and asking to shortcut the RFP process.  I realize that the RFP process is in fact expensive and in many ways broken.  Organizations don’t actually do an RFP anymore that is specific to their own requirements.  They take a consultant’s RFP and make a few small modifications.  But at the end of the day it’s still the consultant’s RFP that is proven to downselect to a few known vendors.  Or they will even ask these days to skip the whole “long list” process and ask the consultant to elect the top3-5 vendors for them.

But corrupting this process, not only are you abdicating your choice, but you are allowing a few very influential people to pick the winners and losers in the HR market space.   On the other hand, there are some really cool products out there that are not getting market share, but might get more if you actually looked at requirements rather than looked at leading vendors.

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3 responses to “HR Market Makers: Who Really Determines What You Buy”

  1. Thomas M Avatar
    Thomas M

    Sadly, it reflects a similar tale to that of any major enterprise software purchase and not just HR systems.

    Which small vendors, in your opinion, have a frequently overlooked package that you would recommend colleagues try?

  2. Ira L Avatar
    Ira L

    On a broader context this applies to the food we eat, the music we listen to, the clothes we wear, etc… But your point is valid. As a consultant the challenge comes down to helping your client navigate not only through the review and selection process but helping them “sell it up” the organization. All too often the path of least resistance is taken because it is safe.

    I take exception with your blame of the consultant in the process breakdown. Yes there are plenty that give us a bad name, but the methodology we have in place focuses on process analysis and strategic goals of the organization to determine the unique business requirements for the client. The push back we get more often than not is from a client that just wants an answer without doing the work. Bill Maher had a great line about our culture that I think is relevant, “We live in a Guitar Hero world: everybody wants to be a rock star, but nobody wants to learn the chords”. You want a system that TRULY is right for YOU, it takes work.

    The other side of the coin on this is that yes there are truly some cutting edge and advanced products out there, but how long will there be a company around to support it. The HCM/TM/ERP Road (and any other acronym you can think of) is littered with great technology outflanked by bad business.

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