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Ask any third-party expert which cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) software to buy, and the typical response is “it depends.”  That may be true but Human Resources (HR) is undergoing the most dramatic transformation the industry has ever experienced. The flip side to drastic disruption is that organizations in search of the right solution can easily get distracted by market noise. Like all diligent decision-makers, HR and IT professionals need the facts to figure out which cloud-based HCM software company to choose. This isn’t so much a point-based technology discussion as it is a larger question of which vendor is the ideal partner for an organization’s future growth. That’s because talent management is strategic in this era of fast and furious change.

HR teams in search of answers may want to take a quick look at two items that go well beyond “it depends” to offer detailed information supporting cloud-based HCM decisions.

The first is a new research report from Gartner, entitled,“Seven Ways to Compare the Enterprise HCM Suite Big Three.” It’s a concise comparison between the “Big Three” cloud-based HCM software vendors, revealing which has the comprehensive portfolio and international clout likeliest to turbo-charge a company’s future in the digital era. 

The second is a VIDEO broadcast from the “Firing Line with Bill Kutik,” in which Ron Hanscome, Research Vice President at Gartner, provides a quick snapshot of three HCM vendors, warts and all. The series is hosted by Bill Kutik who is also an HR Technology Columnist for Human Resource Executive magazine. Here’s an excerpt of Hanscome’s evaluation advice for companies.

“Organizations need to do their homework, get the facts and make an intelligent decision,” said Hanscome. The best way we recommend doing that is to prioritize requirements, develop those critical use cases – what are the most important things – build them out, make sure they understand all of the ramifications, and then plug them into their requirements and RFPs, and also into the demonstration scripts.”

According to Gartner, extensibility is one of the top seven criteria to evaluate cloud-based HCM vendors. “SuccessFactors has this breadth and depth of talent management functionality that’s been built over time, and this whole notion of delivering options for extensibility,” said Hanscome. “When you go beyond configuration you can help organizations build additional capabilities, but avoid that ‘no-no’ word called customization. Extensibility is not customization but it’s that middle ground that many organizations need because not everything they need is a part of that core solution.”

Which HCM Cloud Solutions Should You Select?

When I think (or write) about HR these days, I come back to something Mike Ettling, President of HR Line of Business at SAP, has been saying, which he reiterated during his keynote at SuccessConnect 2015.

“When you socialize and standardize your processes, you can focus more on solving the real problems and less on the admin issues. People management becomes more strategic and data-driven,” said Ettling. “Almost paradoxically, the future of HR is no HR. HR won’t exist solely for the sake of HR – it’s the enabler of the business and the CEO agenda, and becomes the trusted right hand of senior executives. Research shows the most successful CEOs have a strong triumvirate relationship between the CEO, CFO and CHRO.”

There’s no question cloud-based HCM software transforms HR itself, along with how companies can prosper in the digital economy. Fueled by technology innovation, opportunities are exploding for companies to attract and develop the people they need for growth. As for which software solution to choose, it all depends on how successful an organization wants to be.

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