Social integration, more advanced analytics, and the need for HR to provide more strategic partnership to the business has led to changes in the form and dimension of HR tech products
While the Indian HR tech landscape continues to evolve, the HR tech buyer in India also seems to have matured to a point where business needs are driving the demand evolution of next-gen technology
HR tech is a crowded space and new innovations are happening at the speed of light. From among all other HR services in the country, the tech landscape is the most mature and Indian service providers are spearheading many disruptive changes in the global HR tech market. One cannot deny that the underlying need from HR technology hasn’t changed— organizations seek HR technology to make processes more efficient, reduce time and manual effort, and gain access to more in-depth information about people and people-metrics. In this crowded space, competition continues to be steep and the landscape of products and services change characteristically within a few months.
Our recent assessment of the HR technology space revealed some exciting product and service innovations that are happening in the Indian market. As the market continues to move towards the next stage of maturity, organizations are seeking a layer of value-additions to the existing line of HR tech products. Social integration, more advanced analytics, and the need for HR to provide more strategic partnership to the business has led to these changes in the form and dimension of HR tech products.
Social enablement of HRIS platforms
Two key trends are driving the trend of ‘socialization’ of HR information systems – the need for management of a more globalized workforce and the requirement for more in-depth talent information.
Companies that have gone global are riding on the integration wave to create standard interface for their employees across the globe. The need to enable efficient employee interaction has also acted as a trigger. Adding a social layer to Human Resources Information systems (HRIS) has made it much more efficient. This integration – triggered by the entry of digital natives in the workforce – gives HR a huge opportunity to get information, which can drive their employee management and engagement plans. Besides adding a social layer to the already existing systems, integration with external social networking sites also gives an opportunity to gather relevant data. Sandeep Todi, CEO and Co-founder of Emportant, agrees that HR technology is increasingly becoming social as the need to adopt technology that is transparent grows. There is greater focus on integrating HRIS with the social platforms in order to make data more accessible to employees.
Social HR solutions have a clear edge over traditional HRIS, which are great at manipulating data, but do not provide much scope for employee engagement. Adding the social layer, gives an opportunity to manage information, perform core HRIS functions and nurture employee engagement. The transparency ushered in by the ‘social’ element also helps HR perform duties beyond mundane number crunching or payroll much easily. Not only the efficiency factor remains, the amount of information they have access to can transform the way policies regarding engagement, performance management issues are formulated. However, with the increase in amount of data two basic requirements have emerged: One, data security; and two, using business intelligence to use it for better decision making.
Value-added payroll technology
While payroll technology has been around for quite some time, recent developments are driving value-addition to payroll tech products. There is increased focus on technologies that address payroll requirements of changing times. It isn’t only about doing payroll with accuracy and efficiency. Organizations intend to leverage it to make better business and people decisions as well.
R.P. Yadav, Chairman and Managing Director of Genius Consultants, emphasizes the necessity to have payroll software to ensure efficiency, accuracy and reduce manual workload. More intuitive technology makes tremendous impact on efficiency by viewing variance from previous payrolls and alerting for potential discrepancies. The focus on ease of operation, eliminating errors due to duplication of efforts, maintain group benefit plans etc is still there; if the demand is anything to go by, organizations are consistently focusing on leveraging it to make better people and business decisions. Linking payroll technology with scheduling, budgeting, leaves, biometric attendance etc gives managers better insights into employee-related data and helps them make informed decisions. When compared with the scene five to six years ago, demand for self-service functions, which are a great way to cut cost and free up HR of a lot of time, has increased manifold.
Yadav adds that organizations are asking for features such as integrated biometric attendance, salary computation, compensation management, leave management, management of arrears, loan and advance management, management of disbursements, bonus/ex-gratia, gratuity etc.
Another trend is companies’ focus on overall integration of payroll with other systems such as time and attendance applications. To help managers make informed people/business decisions, payroll is also being linked to scheduling and budgeting. This also hints at the supposed transformation of roles for payroll professionals. With increased integration of payroll with other applications, payroll professionals have the opportunity to look at more business-oriented issues such as cost-control etc.
Advanced business analytics
Approaching analytics in a strategic way becomes a necessity as top leadership needs to see a direct relation between HR activities and companies’ bottom-line. With advancements in analytics and reporting capabilities, organizations are seeking to leverage information generated from HR tech systems to conduct more advanced analytics. These include advanced analytics on potential work efficiency enhancements, as well as process improvement opportunities.
Pradeep Mocherla, Director of Technology Solutions at Bizbites Limited, views the importance of advanced analytics through the proliferation of information volume, which modern-day corporations are seeing. Mocherla says, “While until now, older generations relied more on human analysis and people perspectives, very quickly the size of data is growing and there is an urgent need for organizations to put together more sophisticated analytics mechanisms.”
A 2013 study by KPMG reveals that majority of HR teams do not excel at providing insightful and predictive analytics. The report further states that considering widespread use of HR management systems, now is the best time ‘for HR to up its analytics game’. Advanced Analytics help HR gather rich data and come up with actionable outputs.
Piyush Jain, MD of Uneecops Technologies, says, “A smart enterprise resource solution enables HR professionals to focus on business impacting tasks by empowering them with highly business-critical information, which can adapt to changing business needs.” With the amount of data that is available, organizations are moving from analysis in silos to converged analytics (which combines analytics results across domain, for better insights). The key purpose of advanced analytics is to free up time for HR professionals to focus on business-impacting tasks, such as improving people productivity and efficiency.
While the Indian HR tech landscape continues to evolve, the HR tech buyer in India also seems to have matured to a point where business needs are driving the demand evolution of next-gen technology. As the demographic composition of the organizational workforce continues to transform across the next several years, the HR tech landscape will remain among the hottest spaces, with the launch of new product and service innovations. As the trend of social technologies, big data, and changing workforce composition continues to proliferate, technology reliance of HR departments will only continue to increase.