The Market for HR Systems

What’s the best HR system provider for an organisation like yours?

For many years enterprise HR systems (also known as HCM – human capital management) have been the definition of stability. Core systems often remain in place for 20 years or more, gradually accumulating more modules as they emerge.

The specialised players are industry veterans too. Payroll solutions provider ADP was founded to 1949, while in the UK NGA HR (formerly Northgate) goes back to the 1960s. Enterprise giants SAP and Oracle joined them in the 2000s.

In the intervening years, the consumerisation that has made such an impact on other enterprise systems, such as BI, have made themselves felt in HR. Employee self-service is a big pull; if the UI is not user-friendly (as many that are designed with technicians in mind historically were not), it won’t get a look in.

To meet this need, a new breed of predominantly cloud-native vendors has emerged; some specialising in particular areas such as recruitment or on-boarding, and others working across the HR tech stack. Given their lack of legacy baggage, these vendors can move quickly into niches where more traditional players struggle. The main example, at least for large enterprises, is Workday, but there are other vendors focused further down the size scale or on particular sectors.

In response, companies like ADP have acquired cloud-based HCM platforms and are building on their core competencies. NGA HR recently split off its UK operations into a new cloud company, Zellis, while enterprise giants Oracle and SAP have been trying to streamline operations by ‘persuading’ customers into the cloud.

Another recent entrant is Microsoft. The company added Talent to its cloud-based Dynamics 365 in 2017, promoting it with a determined marketing push. Given its substantial enterprise footprint, Microsoft should never be underestimated.

Hover over vendor names to highlight them, or click them to add/remove them from the chart.

Choosing an HR solutions provider

Chances are, most firms will already have some sort of HR system in place. Rather than completely replacing their current systems, it is often less disruptive for large, complex organisations to see what their current vendor offers in terms of upgrades to a more modern system, and what new modules that vendor might have to offer. Almost all vendors now have a mobile app for example – although not necessarily one that will work with very old legacy systems.

How important is a mobile app in terms of your choice of HR solution?

Preference for HR system to be available as a mobile app

They might also look to augment their incumbent system via modules from a third-party vendor. Our research found that the most likely areas for niche or specialist providers to cover were Payroll, Health & Safety, Time & Attendance and Applicant Tracking & Recruiting.

Those heavily invested in Microsoft are likely to consider Talent among their choices, for the simple reason that it is bundled with Dynamics 365. Talent is bundled with the Dynamics Unified Operations and the Dynamics 365 plans. It is also available as a standalone product, and can be added to other plans.

Then we come to the new breed of cloud-based providers, headed up by Workday. Cloud-based solutions promise seamless upgrades and a degree of future proofing, but of course they still need to be integrated with other enterprise systems and back office programs.

Sage was a popular choice, particularly among SMEs. Like Microsoft, the company is a known quantity and replacing its ageing on-premises system with Sage Business Cloud People – a cloud-based solution from Sage’s purchase of Fairsail in 2017 – seems to have given it a new lease of life in HCM.

Zoho is another popular choice among smaller companies. Its HR solution, People, integrates with the rest of its suite and comes in at a relatively low price.

Which is your preferred operating environment for HR?

HR operating environment

There are a host of new vendors to consider too, including Bamboo, Bullhorn and Zenefits, some designed with a particular size or sector in mind, others specialising in areas such as recruitment.

Computing Delta saves you time and effort in compiling your procurement shortlists. We give you an up-to-date snapshot of the newly rejuvenated field to help you to make the right decisions. We conduct several months of research, talking to end users about their likes and dislikes about the major HR providers, their services and the reasons for these preferences.

What factors are most important when choosing a HR systems provider?

Important factors in HCM selection

Costs come top in the list of important factors, followed by the vendors’ support and understanding of customers’ needs. HR systems often need to be tailored to the unique needs of certain organisations, and integrated into other back-office systems; therefore, a good relationship with the vendor and its reseller partners is a real differentiator.

Computing Delta provides an interactive means to compare HR solution vendors across pricing, UK/EU focus and many other factors to help you make the right decisions based on your own needs and priorities. Click here to ask about a free online demo today.

Enterprise HR – research methodology

We conduct our research into enterprise HR solutions in three stages. First, we send an online survey to people with responsibility for their organisation’s use of HR in a managerial, decision-making or advisory capacity. We canvass opinions on HR offerings from SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, Workday, NGR, Sage and others. We repeat this survey at regular intervals to track shifts in opinion.

A focus group formed of IT leaders from a mix of company sizes and sectors then discuss the results. We follow this exercise with a series of in-depth interviews with senior professionals, focused on particular issues uncovered in the previous stages.

Finally, we undertake a programme of desk-based research to ensure we are familiar with market trends, mergers and acquisitions, and new and potentially disruptive technologies coming down the line.

Additionally, we make sure we keep the report up-to-date as important news arises.

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