What’s the Best Mix of Technologies For HR to Manage an Organization?

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Jul 15, 2015
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

I’ve written previously about the new research coming out of KeyInterval Research. The third report from the dynamic duo that is Tincup and Sumser is out now and it’s a blockbuster!

Determining the optimal technical HR stack is big. It’s big and expensive — and can make or break an HR leader’s career.

But first, you have to know what a technical stack is. I don’t assume that the majority of HR professionals know what this is, so here’s what Wikipedia says:

A technology stack comprises the layers of components or services that are used to provide a software solution or application. Traditional examples include the OSI seven-layer model, the TCP/IP model, and the W3C technology stack. Technology stacks are often articulated as a list lof technologies, such as ‘J2EE with Java Server Faces running against a SQL Server database’ or as a diagram.”

So a Technical HR Stack would be the collection of technologies/solutions that HR uses to manage all the people processes across an organization.

A lot of HR tech solutions for HR

It’s the payroll, recruiting, performance management, total rewards/recognition, learning management systems – all of these and more. And an Optimal Technical HR Stack would be the best collection of technologies/solutions that HR would use to manage the people processes across an organization.

I read some research a few years ago that reported that organizations deploy, on average, 18 separate HR technology solutions – many of which are unable to connect with each other. These days the average may well be higher as HR professionals (and their IT partners) turn to technology to provide more efficient outcomes and the HR vendor community continues to innovate the use of SaaS, analytics, mobile and video.

So how can an HR leader or department make sense of the opportunities to apply technology, much less identify the “optimal” vendors and solutions?

Well, the first step would be to buy this report. The analyses are practical. The insights are remarkable.

This is a sea change in showing how HR technology is working – or not working – and what is actually happening in terms of finding solutions in an existing suite, looking for new providers or developing home grown solutions. The realities will surprise you.

A deep dive into technology and metrics

The report delves into 13 major areas of HR Technology and reveals eight (8) separate metrics in each area. The metrics include some of these:

  • Market penetration;
  • Net Promoter Score;
  • How long companies keep their software;
  • Whether companies outsource, develop internally or use a tool that is part of an existing suite.

The areas covered are:kir-optimal-hr-stack-july-14-2015

Let’s look at just one of the 13 solution components: Recruiting Systems. The analysts at KeyInterval believe that “Recruiting is where innovation happens most frequently in HR.” Here’s what they say, in part:

With between 12 and 20 sub-processes, recruiting operations rarely use all of the same tools in the same sequence. Unlike other HR functions recruiting techniques vary by job, industry, region, corporate culture and, business model.”

HR pros don’t like their recruiting systems

Because of this, the analysis shows that practitioners don’t much like their recruiting systems. The conflict between the required fast action of identifying, recruiting and hiring the right kind of talent, and the legal requirements to collect and retain hiring data often collide.

Indeed, the KeyInterval research shows that no other tool in the HR Tech Stack is so conflicted. HR professionals “routinely expect innovative results and performance from a system that is designed to mitigate legal risk.”

If you’re thinking about going to the market for a new HR technology solution, or you’ve finally decided to replace an existing solution, this report should be your first stop. It will help you see what other organizations your size are doing – buying, building or outsourcing. It will provide a road map for how to begin.

Here’s the thing to remember:  It will make you smarter than you already are.

This originally appeared on China Gorman’s blog at

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.