Essential Guide

Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

Your guide to successful HR and HCM software implementation

HCM software enables companies to get the best out of their most important asset -- employees. Here's an in-depth guide on how to get those implementations right.


HR executives and other company leaders charged with finding the best employees, keeping them happy and simply getting them paid have a lot of strategic technology decisions to make. To that end, this essential guide to HCM software implementation takes you through the critical issues using articles filled with expert advice, general principles and takeaways that can be gleaned from others' experience.

Human capital management (HCM) software systems can save companies tremendous amounts of money, effort and time. HCM software can also help companies capitalize more effectively on their employees' talents and productivity, reduce risk, and reap greater returns on their investments.

HCM has evolved into a catchall concept that captures the core HR concept, so there can exist a range of functionality when you hear the term HCM system. The software typically provides core HR tools -- such as payroll, attendance, employee records, and benefits administration -- to make basic HR processes run more efficiently. An HCM software system also can help improve a company's competitive edge by cultivating employees' skills and fostering companywide collaboration. These talent-management functions of HCM software go beyond core HR to help companies identify, attract and retain top talent and cultivate their employees' full potential through internal trainings and skill building, collaboration, performance management, and succession planning.

The benefits of HCM software depend on successful implementations, which are tricky to get right. Such systems are not implemented in some ideal environment, nor are they deployed in a vacuum. This is why successful implementation rests on a number of factors beyond the technology aspects. For starters, current HR processes and legacy systems must be factored into HCM product decisions. It is critical to an organization's business goals that hybrid software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises systems integrate well, as just one example. And there is the human factor, which touches everything from company culture, to employees' receptivity to change, to the executives who must be convinced that HCM software will yield cost savings or revenue-boosting results. When it comes to HR technology, well-planned strategy, vision and change management are all key.

To that end, this HCM software implementation guide takes you through these common areas that affect implementation. First, we look at how to research systems and make the business case. Then we examine the nuts and bolts of implementation and, third, provide specifics on change management, that crucial make-or-break factor. Finally, once you are armed with this advice on creating a strategy to avoid HCM software implementation failure, you can take a look at product information in our buyer's guide. Be sure to also visit our section about the quickly changing landscape of HR technology. It can help you stay abreast of technologies that can help you better manage HR functions in the near future.

1Creating a business case-

HCM software ROI and research

The technology landscape can induce a hardcore case of "shiny-object syndrome," which, in human resources terms, means falling in love with really cool technology that has nothing to do with what your company and users need. Beat shiny-object syndrome with the in-depth advice in the articles below. To start, keep this advice in mind: Get clear on what you need, do exhaustive research with focused attention on real-life implementation examples and learn from others' mistakes and successes.


Three keys to preparing for a new HCM system

Although this article focuses on cloud HCM, the advice applies to preparing for any new human resources system and, indeed, to creating a more effective HR function. Continue Reading


HCM implementation advice from Delta, Macy's and United Technologies

Three HCM software users describe the benefits and challenges of implementing HCM software and offer advice for managing change and selecting vendors. Continue Reading


Three critical HCM lessons to know during the research phase

Two HR leaders explore the challenges of implementing human capital management software and the ways it will affect HR professionals. Here's what you need to know. Continue Reading


Don't just jump to cloud HCM

As more companies consider taking human capital management to the cloud, analysts say the on-site version also has its benefits. Continue Reading


British Satellite Company makes gains with HCM

After implementing a centralized ERP HCM system for employee administration, one relatively small company realized benefits that include centralized employee information storage, increased process efficiency and clearly divulged data ownership. Continue Reading


How to create an airtight business case for a new HCM system

You know that the new HCM software can enable cost savings and boost productivity. Here's how to help your CFO believe that too. Continue Reading


Expert review of HR cloud products from Oracle, SAP and Workday

When today's HR leaders need a new human resource system, many turn to the cloud. Here's a look at the three most of the most prominent vendors. Continue Reading

2Buying HR technology-

The HCM software systems selection and vendor relationship

Choosing the best software and going through the sales process can be challenging for any business leader. That's why we've assembled expert advice on how to go strategically through the product selection and buying process. The articles in this section offer expert advice on making the best HCM software decisions, how to navigate interactions with vendors and why you should consider cloud.


Get users involved to choose the best HR and HCM software

One state university in Kansas enlisted a wide sample of potential users to help decide which new software to choose for human capital management, financials and talent management. Here's a look. Continue Reading


Cloud HCM is worth the risk and cost, experts say

Although some may perceive cloud HCM innovations as risky, experts say that easier deployment -- not to mention other benefits -- makes cloud HCM an unstoppable trend. Continue Reading


Smart HR leaders create shopping lists of features

Just as you wouldn't send a hungry dieter into Whole Foods with a vague directive to "buy something for dinner," neither should you allow yourself to shop for an HR system without a list of necessary features in hand. Continue Reading


How to negotiate an HR software contract

When entering the negotiation phases of buying HR software, you need to battle two misconceptions: It's only about money and it's only about you. Continue Reading


Five questions that will turn you into a sales process pro

Two experts explain how paying attention to some critical areas will help you navigate the HCM software sales process successfully. Continue Reading


The HR software support phase will come sooner than you think

When you have a new HR project on the horizon, vendor support may seem like a far-away issue you'll never have to deal with. Of course, that's not the case. Here's what you need to know. Continue Reading


SAP ERP HCM users consider other options

After nearly 30 years, SAP ERP HCM has proven successful as a core HR system. But now is the time for some companies to consider a change. Continue Reading

3Implementation nuts and bolts-

HCM software implementation best practices, challenges

This section offers stories that provide a real-world look into what makes HCM software implementations work -- and challenges you may encounter along the way. HR and technology leaders share advice on selecting HCM systems, how to develop a strategy and tackle rollouts, tips for identifying business goals, best practices for existing resources, and insights into avoiding common mistakes.


How to proactively squash bugs: Align HR, ERP

It's not always the complexity of HR system integration that takes up time, but the far more mundane yet critical tasks outlined here. Continue Reading


Lessons learned from an HCM software implementation

An HR and IT leader shares some critical insights on how to implement cloud HCM software, as well as the benefits his company has gained. Continue Reading


Implementing HCM software one module, one region at a time

When Waxie Sanitary Supply chose its new cloud HCM system, the company decided to take a phased approach to replace its existing HR system. Continue Reading


One company tackles a massive move to a cloud HR system

Cisco is implementing an SaaS system from Thomsons Online Benefits that will affect thousands of employees of in 62 countries. Continue Reading


Medical firm rolls out HCM software in phases

Colorado Permanente started its HCM implementation journey with core HR, benefits, and employee and manager self-service. Here's a look. Continue Reading

4HCM change management -

HR and HCM challenges, benefits and adoption tips

Change management is a critical component of any technology project and this holds true for HCM software system implementations. Ideally, change management is woven throughout the project. It encompasses everything from getting executive buy-in -- for example, building a business case, covered in the first section above -- to getting users involved early on -- for example, including them in product selection as some of the above experts did -- to the marketing campaigns and training surrounding a new system. So although some change management aspects are contained in many of the articles above, the pieces that follow focus more directly on HCM change management, especially as it relates to users. As one article makes clear, change management is the difference between HCM system success and failure. Ignore the issue at your own peril.


HCM software post-purchase instructions

Training is one key to whether or not your HCM software succeeds. Here's a look at why and what the true goal for the software should be. Continue Reading


User adoption is the difference between positive ROI and failure

Buying HCM software should mean user adoption is woven throughout the entire decision-making process. Here is what to keep in mind. Continue Reading


Resistance to an HCM system upgrade requires nuanced change management skills

Establishing new standards for HR processes at regional offices that largely functioned as their own businesses was no easy task. Here's how one HR leader tackled the issue head on. Continue Reading


Ensuring success with human resources software

One expert weighs in on what you need to guarantee widespread and successful use of HR predictive software. Hint: One key is getting users involved. Continue Reading


Musical instrument maker HR chief sings praises of HR software

An HR leader shares insight about the road to HCM software implementation, including communications tips for facilitating user adoption, benefits of the software and challenges to implementation. Continue Reading

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.