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Top 10 human resources software articles of 2013

What topics most interested HR readers in 2013? Count down the top 10 human resources software stories with us.

As talent rises to the top of CEO priority lists, the technology that supports talent initiatives is growing in importance as well. And 2013 was a hot year for human resources software, as many companies scanned the market for new, cutting-edge tools or to replace legacy systems. With plenty of competition among vendors -- there were seven leaders in this year's Worldwide Integrated Talent Management Vendor Analysis IDC MarketScape report -- it's a good time to be a buyer.

The trend toward cloud-based systems is nothing new in human resources -- indeed, not a single story on the value proposition of Software as a Service (SaaS) HR systems made our top 10 list. Instead, readers were more interested in learning about a variety of other emerging trends, such as social performance reviews, massive open online courses and workforce analytics.

Here's our list, starting with No. 10:

10. Shift employee engagement measurement from snapshot to real time

According to Gallup, companies with high employee engagement are more profitable and have better customer satisfaction than those with low engagement. In the wake of such statistics, it's no wonder managers are starting to treat employee engagement as an important business driver.

But while surveys have been the traditional means to measure engagement, expert Yvette Cameron predicted that such passive observation methods as social network sentiment analysis will rise in coming years. Get her views on what next-generation employee engagement initiatives will look like.

9. Bersin finds users willing to switch vendors to unify HRIS systems

Poor integration among systems is perhaps the most common pain point cited by HR technology users and managers. But rather than being alleviated with better connections, these integration issues are now driving system replacements, according to Bersin by Deloitte research. Read this Impact 2013 session recap for tips and advice from human capital management (HCM) Lead Analyst Katherine Jones on how buyers should navigate the fluctuating HRIS and talent management technology markets.

8. Workday enters the big data game at Workday Rising

At Workday Rising 2013, Workday not only announced its Big Data Analytics offering, but also gave a sneak peek at its highly anticipated recruiting product, detailed the roadmap for Financials and revealed plans for a new user interface. In addition, Co-CEO Aneel Bhusri explained the vendor's decision to slow the release schedule. Catch up on the highlights you might've missed.

7. HR analytics early adopters say meaningful metrics, narratives are key

Although data interpretation isn't a skill HR managers are necessarily comfortable with, they're getting on the analytics train nonetheless. But as it can be tough to get started, readers were interested in advice from organizations with more mature HR analytics programs. The tips in this story, compiled from HR leaders at Procter & Gamble, Pearson and Devon Energy, can help HR analytics newbies launch successful efforts.

6. HR outsourcing: Where being unique is not always a good thing

Generally speaking, the goal of outsourcing HR processes is to reduce cost and risk, but these benefits are abated the more customization a company requires. For this reason, an HR leader and an expert interviewed for this story agreed that organizations should "dare to be the same" as much as possible when it comes to HR outsourcing. Learn how.

5. PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 strengthens healthcare user's confidence

With the emergence of cloud-based HCM systems, many legacy system users feared that vendor development dollars would go to the latest and greatest, leaving their predecessors to wither. Oracle proved this wasn't the case for PeopleSoft with 2013's 9.2 release. Jeremy Pelley, director of business applications at Scott & White Healthcare, was so impressed with the new version's improved ease of use that he switched the organization's HR systems strategy to a PeopleSoft-first model.

4. How HR can use CRM as a model for workforce analytics

When starting an HR analytics campaign, it's undoubtedly helpful to seek advice from HR peers who have experience with such programs. But what about reaching out to the marketing department? In this column, expert Yvette Cameron pointed out that customer relationship management (CRM) analytics initiatives have important implications and valuable lessons for HR.

3. Social performance management under review at many companies

The idea that employee performance reviews should be conducted by a manager on an annual basis is losing currency. In 2013, many organizations revamped their employee review processes to be more collaborative and frequent. The four questions in this story, suggested by experts and users, can test a company's readiness for social performance management technology.

2. Massive open online courses emerge as corporate training option

According to Bersin by Deloitte analysts, learning management systems (LMS) are being transformed by social, mobile and cloud, and enabling on-demand learning like never before. But corporate learning professionals also have another tool at their fingertips: massively open online courses (MOOCs). Josh Bersin said MOOCs not only are useful for providing technical and professional development learning opportunities, but could also drive innovation in the LMS market.

1. Gartner Magic Quadrant for talent management suite: Five takeaways

Research firm Gartner released its first-ever Magic Quadrant on talent management suites this year, and curiosity about vendor rankings propelled this slideshow to the top of our list. In addition to finding out which vendors were named leaders in this inaugural quadrant, readers will also learn about the state of embedded HR analytics and the maturity of social and mobile capabilities.

We hope you've enjoyed recapping the year. Tell us which story was your favorite of 2013 in the comments section below, and be sure to visit often for more human resources technology news, features and advice.

Emma Snider is the associate editor for SearchFinancialApplications. Follow her on Twitter @emmajs24 and the site @SearchFinApps.

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