HCM Software Marketplace – A Look Back at 2016 and a Look Forward to 2017

January 10, 2017

Written by: Jacqueline Kuhn

The new year is a period for looking back and looking forward.  We look back at what we have accomplished, and look forward to setting goals for the new year.

2016 In Review

2016 was a very busy year in the HCM Software Marketplace.

The HR Technology Conference and Exposition proved that the HCM Tech space, while mature in many areas, still has opportunities for growth and innovation. The startup pavilion doubled in size over last year, five last year new comers “graduated” to the main show floor, and almost 100 new exhibitors set up on the main show floor.  Innovations in Employee Engagement (Live H2H, Highground), Assessment (Pinsight, Pymetrics), and Recruitment CRM / Marketing (Yello, Crowded.com), were most notable to me.

All major HCM Vendors posted strong product sales throughout 2016, as companies replaced legacy systems and looked to globalize their HCM processes.

Compliance with ACA reporting was a major focus for many organizations and the HCM Vendor community met the need with mixed results.  Some were ready, others were not, and it was a mixed bag of delivery of this capability.

You cannot do a look back without talking about acquisitions.  The acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft is significant for two reasons. LinkedIn is the first of the big social media sites to be bought up by one of the “giant” tech companies. Given that this is Microsoft’s biggest acquisition yet, one can only imagine what plans they have for it!

However, the acquisitions in 2016 by the major players of cloud data analytics companies, to me, are most significant.  For years, HCM vendors have been challenged with providing better capabilities in this area, as organizations become more data driven.  Software companies have lacked the ability to build the capability into their own platforms.  They have gained capability by acquisition, not partnership and this has the most promise for fulfillment.  These acquisitions include:

  1. SAP acquisition of MeLLmo Inc. (Roambi), Mobile Business Intelligence.
  2. Ultimate Software acquisition of Kanjoya, Inc, a leading workforce intelligence and analytics platform.
  3. Ultimate Software acquisition of Vestric, a leading HR-Focused Predictive Analytics Platform.
  4. Workday acquisition of Platfora, provider of operational analytics and data discovery tools.

What to expect in 2017?

With our new President and his focus on being business friendly, there are already plans to change many of the legislative decisions on employee benefits, and wage and hours.  While I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t believe that President-Elect Trump is a patient man, so expect to see these changes enforced before the year ends.  Thus, 2017 could be the year of “compliance reversal.” The best way to survive compliance changes is to get your core HR/Payroll systems in the cloud.

We can expect “mobile first” to be the standard, as vendors work diligently to offer their full suite of capabilities via mobile devices.   Deploying processes via mobile should be a top priority.  If your HCM software vendor is not where you need them to be with mobile capability, now is the time to think replacement.

The need for managing contingent labor will grow significantly in the new year, and HCM software vendors will provide better ways to manage this workforce.  SAP was first to invest in this area with the acquisition of Field Glass in 2014.  Look for other vendors to announce new capabilities, either organically, through partnership, or acquisition in 2017 to meet this growing need.

“Recruitment = Marketing”, while growing in the past 2 years, will be a standard in 2017.  Organizations have realized that if they are not marketing their companies and jobs, they are not attracting the best talent.  Traditional Applicant Tracking System (ATS) vendors have been working diligently at building out their marketing capability, and recruitment marketing software providers have come in to their own.  Look for this segment of the talent acquisition space to see explosive growth.

The HR Service Delivery Model will move further away from “online self-service” and faster to “voice activated information distribution.”  Today’s worker does not want to log in to a website to search for an answer.  They want to be able to ask a question and get an instant answer.  The “Amazon Echo,” and other like devices, are setting the standard for instant information distribution.   Some vendors have this today (Ramco), while others will begin to share their roadmaps for this capability to meet consumer demand.

The world of HCM Technology is always evolving and the product market place expanding.  The HRchitect strategic services team is your resource for HCM Marketplace information.  Our job is to understand what is happening today, look for trends and tomorrow’s capabilities, while assisting our clients in making the right decisions on technology purchased.

2017 is positioned to be another great year for HCM Technology and we would love to be your partner as you plan your strategic roadmap, evaluate and select new solutions, and ultimately implement a new or replacement system.

Jacqueline Kuhn

About Jacqueline Kuhn

Jacqueline is an HR professional with over 20 years’ experience in Strategic Planning, Systems Management, Project Management, Services Delivery and General Human Resources. Throughout Jacqueline’s career, she has worked with organizations such as, Sears, Beam, OshKosh and Johns Hopkins to create strategic plans around their Human Capital Management systems, as well as leading selection and implementation projects for Talent Management, Talent Acquisition and HRIS systems.

In her role at HRchitect, she oversees our HCM strategic consulting group which encompasses HRchitect’s HCM systems strategic planning and evaluation and selection practices. Jacqueline spends much of her time with HCM vendors being briefed on their technology offerings, ensuring that we provide the most current information to our clients who are looking for a new solution. Jacqueline enjoys working with organizations to impact their HCM strategies through the utilization of technology.

Jacqueline is a Certified Professional of Human Resource Information (HRIP). She also works extensively with IHRIM and is a Summit Award Winner, is currently on the Board of Directors for the HRIM Foundation, after serving as the foundation’s President where she developed educational courses on HR technology use and best practices.

When she isn’t working with HRchitect clients or IHRIM and the HRIM Foundation, Jacqueline enjoys dog training and is also a classically trained Pianist.