HCM Technology Terminology: The Foundation

July 3, 2018

Written by Samantha Colby

The world of Human Capital Management technology can be a puzzling place. The products, people, and processes are ever-changing, and whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned HCM industry veteran, it is important to keep up with the terminology. This four-part blog series will aggregate some of the most commonly used, and most frequently misunderstood terms in the industry. Part one will define some of the foundational terms, part two will define system implementation-related terms, part three will define terms related to people and process management, and part four will define terms related to consulting service offerings.

Let’s get started! Here are some of the most basic industry terms that are the foundation of the Human Capital Management technology industry, and how we at HRchitect, a strategic consulting firm, define them.

  • Human Resources/ Human Capital – This refers to the collective group of employees who work for an organization in different departments and roles. The employees are viewed as valuable resources for the organization.
  • Human Resources (department) – A unit of a business that is responsible for providing information and support to the employees (Human Capital) of that business. This department oversees recruiting, onboarding, payroll, timekeeping, benefits, employee development including ongoing training, performance reviews, etc.
  • Human Capital Management – A framework that recognizes employees as an organization’s most valuable asset, thus focuses on recruiting, retaining, and developing these employees with the goal of enhancing the employee’s capabilities and value to the organization.
  • Human Capital Management (HCM) Technology – Systems that are utilized to support organizations with Human Capital Management efforts. These systems not only automate HR processes, but enable an organization’s HR team, Employees and Managers to leverage these systems and the data in these systems for strategic business purposes.
  • HR Technology – This term is used interchangeably with HCM Technology. However, this can also refer to the specific “Core” processes of Employee Record Keeping, Payroll, Benefits Administration and Time and Attendance.
  • Legacy System – The software applications/systems that are currently in use that are targeted for replacement.
  • Implementation – The process of setting up a newly purchased software system so that the system is live and the customer can use the system. The implementation process usually consists of several phases, that will be outlined in more detail in a later part of this series.

Now that you’ve developed a solid understanding of the basics, stay tuned for HCM Technology Terminology: All About Implementation, where we’ll dive into the nomenclature of some of the terminology you’ll hear related to HCM system implementation.


About Samantha Colby

Samantha Colby

Samantha Colby is the Marketing Director at HRchitect, the leader in HCM systems strategic consulting. Samantha has several years of experience in the payroll and benefits administration space. Samantha has B2B and consumer marketing experience in several industries including consulting, higher education, and sports and entertainment. When not preparing for upcoming trade shows or executing marketing campaigns, Samantha can be found following Boston-based sports teams or reading a  book from the local library.