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What are HR managers looking for in new HR systems?

According to Bersin by Deloitte research, cloud is now a top criterion for HR systems buyers, and user experience and analytics rank highly.

Considering that nearly 60% of companies plan to buy a new human resource information system (HRIS) or talent management system within the next 18 months, according to Bersin by Deloitte research, there are going to be plenty of buyers in the HR technology market in the coming year. So what are these buyers looking for?

For one, integration continues to be an important consideration for HR systems decision-makers. According to survey data reviewed by Vice President of Human Capital Management Technology Research Katherine Jones at Bersin by Deloitte's Impact conference in Fort Lauderdale, 35% of buyers would like to move from disparate systems to a more unified, global approach, and 29% are seeking to consolidate around a single vendor.

But this single vendor probably won't be the one they're currently using. Bersin research revealed that of survey respondents planning to replace their HRIS, 26% are doing so due to vendor dissatisfaction, and 67% plan to switch vendors for their new deployment.

In Jones' opinion, integration is a smart goal. "I'm an integration bigot," she said. "I think [systems] should be stuck together -- not with chewing gum, and not with duct tape -- but really integrated." She also noted that integrated systems are easier to manage and can lay the groundwork for better analytics.

Other top buying criteria for both HRIS and talent management systems included improved analytics, better user experience and a Software as a Service deployment model. Jones noted that cloud has jumped in importance since last year -- while it ranked 7th as a buyer criterion for 2013, it took 4th place for 2014.

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Jones also noted features that are "in" and "out" in the world of HR systems.

Desirable aspects included good interfaces, solid analytics, mobile-first design, social as an underlying feature of software, a single view of the employee and core HR systems that are integrated with talent applications.

Features that were called out on the negative side included new on-premises technology deployments, siloed talent management applications, screens that resemble forms or processes that require more than six clicks, and onerous job applications.

To this last point, Jones suggested an exercise to attendees.

"I want every one of you to go to your career center and apply for a job at your company and then tell me how happy you are with that because I suspect you will not be," she said. "Try it, and then think about your candidate experience."

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

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Is your organization shopping for new talent management applications or a new HRIS? If so, what are your buying criteria?
Great article.
I have recently started new job and one of my first tasks is to find a suitable HR Software for us.
I am finding it extremly time consuming when searching for the top softwares, as there are so many out there.

our system should be pretty snazzy in terms of new starters, and engaging with them in a 2014 modern ways from the very beginning (interview stage) to the day when they start with us..

But also, employees should have ownership of it all; from sickness, training, career progression, PDR etc.

Where do I find a list of all those softwares that are regarded as "the ones".. because we are a fairly small company, our budget is not exactly as big as Yahoo!'s, Aviva's etc.
Thanks Nina! I'd be happy to chat about this through email if you'd like: 
We're looking for as much integration as possible. We're 200 FTE but can only find what we're looking for from companies who target 1,000 FTEs as their minimum market. Our competitors are in the mid to large size employers market and we're small to mid. Our problem is that we need smarter more robust tools and little is available. Your advice?
Hello Mark,
I just picked this up. If you are still looking for a HR software for your company would be happy to do a quick demo of our product FormulaHR, which will address your mid  size + robust tool requirement. 
You can mail me at

Challenge is finding that vendor who has it all - some on strong on process components, but lack analytics/reporting. Others are strong in specific areas (recruiting, compensation, etc.), but have serious gaps in other modules.
Absolutely -- many of the experts I talk to say there really isn't an HR suite out there yet that's strong across the board. For this reason, Lisa Rowan at IDC recommends that buyers identify their organization's "talent culture" before they start assessing vendors. For instance, if getting the best talent possible is critical to that organization's business model, then that company would have a recruiting talent culture, and project leaders should look for a vendor with a top-notch recruiting module. With that in mind, the system is likely to be weaker in other areas.

Thanks for commenting!