New Research Sheds Light on How to Build a Business Case for HR Technology

In one of our blogs last year, we looked at the value delivered by HR technology as the gold standard that organizations should target in new technology deployments. What organizations are looking for from HR technology are a set of improved results. According to the 2016 HR Transformation Study by KPMG, 63% of companies expect their new cloud HR system to add value to the business, and our own research validates this finding. This value can take many forms, but a common one is a more positive employee experience overall.

Crafting a positive employee experience can drive engagement and other business outcomes. The Sierra-Cedar HR Systems report, one of the most widely respected research assets in the HR technology industry, points to the linkage between HR technology and business results, demonstrating the following connections in the value chain:

Source: Sierra-Cedar










HR has and can be done without technology, but having the right system in place enables HR to deliver exponentially higher organizational value. Getting to the point of being a strategic player with the proverbial “seat at the table” takes effort, but it allows HR to demonstrate incredible value that a transactional function simply cannot.

New Research: HR Technology Can Increase  Engagement, Productivity & More

With these data points and concepts in mind, Lighthouse Research and Advisory performed the HR Technology and Business Results study this summer in an attempt to gather data on what value employers are seeing from their technology implementations. This study was underwritten by PeopleStrategy.

 Note: Be sure to check out our new eBook taking an in-depth look at this research.

Frankly, some of the findings were pretty eye-opening. Here are three key insights:

  • Recent implementers of HR technology are more likely to experience benefits such as increased productivity (47% more likely), employee engagement (twice as likely), and better reporting and insight (73% more likely)
  • High-performing firms have a greater chance of generating higher levels of cost savings and ROI than other companies
  • 86% of participating companies experienced benefits or payback from their HR technology within 12 months

Each of these presents an opportunity for building a compelling business case for HR technology within your own firm. For instance, by focusing on the benefits of the implementation instead of just the cost savings or reduced administrative burden, you can generate more interest from your stakeholders. Or maybe by looking at what activities are correlated with high-performing companies, you can find a way to place your own company in that tier in terms of both performance and technology adoption.

Either way, these concepts create a path for finding increased value from the HR technology landscape.

A Business Leader’s View of HR Technology

Another interesting finding was how non-HR business leaders see HR technology bringing value to the business. The graphic below illustrates this view from a pool of nearly 700 business leaders:

What’s important to note is that more than half of business leaders see tangible value in launching HR technology tools, and even the less strategic elements of benefits and open enrollment see support from more than a third of this audience.

I’d like to put forth a caveat with this particular data–this isn’t static and it can range from company to company. If an HR team is heavily transactional and doesn’t work with the business to meet broader organizational goals, these numbers will be lower simply due to HR’s internal brand, or perception, within the firm. However, if HR is seen as a true strategic partner, delivering value beyond the four walls of its department, then these numbers could be even higher.

If you’re interested in checking out the rest of the research, we have a free eBook available here.

Written by: Ben Eubanks, Principal Analyst, Lighthouse Research & Advisory


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