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Checklist //06-03-2023

When is it time to look for a new people management software provider?

by Julie Lock, Commercial Director

Your HR, payroll and wider HCM processes represent critical elements of your day-to-day operation, handling sensitive data, requiring speed and accuracy in processing and forming a crucial part of your employee engagement and performance initiatives. Failing to get any of these elements right can have significant negative impacts on both your organisation and your people and contribute directly towards decline in levels of motivation and wellbeing, as well as directly impacting your bottom line and security. But while the consequences of staying on outdated or even no system are so obvious, the fear of moving to the unknown can put many businesses into the red zone of the dangers of doing nothing.

With the impact of getting it wrong so pronounced in the minds of potential switchers, it’s understandable that many businesses may be reluctant to change their HCM software provider(s), preferring to stay with the devil they know rather than risk potential disruption to their working processes. However, with your people management solutions, you’re not just using the technology, you’re also locked into a partnership with the supplier. That relationship can be the make or break point which determines the success of your continued use of the system and your ability to make the transformative changes you want to see.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this checklist to highlight some of the key signs which you cannot afford to ignore when it comes to assessing whether it’s time to look for a new people management software provider:

Dealing with too many account managers

Your people management requirements are often very specific to your organisation. It helps to have a contact within your supplier with whom you can build a concrete working relationship and ensure that there is an innate understanding of the challenges facing you, and the change that you want to drive within your business. Having contact split between multiple parties can muddy processes and ultimately delay you receiving the support you need, and stop you transforming your people experience for the better.

Whenever you make a request for additional services, enquire about a potential upgrade or simply make a support request- does your current supplier offer a single point of contact or do you find yourself being passed around multiple account managers? If so, this is a sign that you should begin the search for a software provider that can fulfil all of your needs.

Can’t troubleshoot problems

With even the most robust solutions at your disposal, technical errors can occasionally impact the smooth running of operations within your organisation. When considering your people management software supplier, an important metric to judge them by is the ability to offer you a degree of self sufficiency to help you get back on your feet when roadblocks appear.

When errors occur, how easy it for you to identify a root cause? Does your existing supplier offer you the visibility you need and the ability to run diagnostics and highlight the source of any problems quickly? Your technology partner should help you troubleshoot problems swiftly so that you can continue to put your focus on delivering a truly people-first culture.

Non-UK based support

Unfortunately, sometimes things going wrong is just unavoidable. When things break down with your current solution, do you have access to a UK based support service or do you find yourself having to deal with more remote support elements?

Even the most seemingly minute delays accrued by dealing with an overseas support team can see existing issues spiraling to the point where they fundamentally impact your business. When assessing your people management software provider, look to see whether they can offer you the comprehensive, domestic based support you need.

No aligned product roadmap for the future

As it stands, your current solution may suit all your existing business needs. However, we’re sure you’re well aware that today’s organisations exist in an ever evolving space and the fact cannot be ignored that tomorrow’s business requirements are often vastly different. This means that the systems and technologies which you rely upon daily, also have to be ready to evolve. The world of HR isn’t static, and technologies your people use shouldn’t be static either.

Is your current provider actively developing and innovating their product suite in tandem, and with one unified vision? Do they have a clear roadmap in place for development and upgrading software or are you faced with contending with outdated legacy systems down the road? Your people management software provider should be developing their solutions together.

Lack of integration

In many cases, organisations tend to look for individual solutions to solve specific problems in a particular area of their business with little thought given towards potential interplay of systems. This is particularly common in HR where the links between payroll and time and attendance are often forgotten about.

Organisations that are currently using separate, non-integrated systems for tracking worked hours and for payroll processing will likely be suffering inefficiencies, manual data errors and lost time that could be solved with an integrated system.

Products aren’t intuitive

Sometimes, solutions can simply look and feel a bit tired and even unusable. Are your current offerings intuitive enough to allow easy access for new users or does it feel a bit like falling into a time warp?

When looking at potential new providers, take the time to consider the core functionality of their offering. Have they been particularly coy with allowing you to see the solution before a certain point? If the interface or other key elements aren’t front and centre when you’re looking at a system, it may be the case that the supplier is aware they are lagging behind in that department.

Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about functionality- as the end user of a solution, you deserve to understand if a system will hit those beats you need it to from day one. Any system which is lacking in terms of an intuitive interface, is likely to cause you headaches in the long run.

Lack of security

With workforce management being so closely entwined with the broader business, security is a paramount concern when assessing the suitability of your solution. Gaps in your providers processes or outdated security can lead to harmful data breaches which can lead to shutdowns of key components of your organisation or even financial penalty.

People data is inherently one of the most sensitive forms of data which your organisation deals with on a regular basis. Every single special listed GDPR category must be held securely in your tech. When assessing a provider, the robustness and effectiveness of their security has to be a paramount consideration.

Unable to keep up with changing legislation 

People management functions have to contend with a variety of shifting legislation, all of which can carry potential legal or financial penalties for non-compliance. In recent years, we’ve also seen the importance of agility in being able to keep up with demands of sudden, emergency legislation, such as pandemic era furlough schemes.

Are the solutions from your current provider sophisticated and agile enough to account for these changes and take the burden off your hands, or does your supplier make it impossible to respond to new legislation in a timely manner? If you’re being left to scratch your head about how you can keep up with your compliance requirements, it’s a sign that you should consider looking for a new people management software provider.

Little flexibility in hosting 

It’s important to understand which hosting solution is most appropriate for your organisation. Cloud-based services reduce pressure on bandwidth and do away with the need for hefty servers, whereas some organisations may prefer on premise due to specific security requirements. Many organisations have specific security requirements which dictate whether a Cloud-based or on-premise hosted solution is more suitable. Suppliers who are restricted in their offerings are unlikely to be suitable as this would mean upending processes too fundamentally for most businesses.

Cloud-based services reduce pressure on bandwidth and do away with the need for hefty servers, whereas some organisations may prefer on premise due to specific security requirements. If your current solution needs inconvenient physical visits from engineers to fix or update, it’s time to look for a new solution. However, many organisations have specific security requirements which dictate whether a Cloud-based or on-premise hosted solution is more suitable. Suppliers who are restricted in their offerings are unlikely to be suitable for your future business as this would mean upending processes too fundamentally.<

Poor implementation experience 

First impressions count and this is no more true than when it comes to the technology and systems that you use on a day-to-day basis. A previously poor implementation experience or even just the wariness of making a change can often mean organisations stick with outdated or unsuitable solutions because it is perceived as simpler. Often, a poor implementation process is a sign that your ride may remain bumpy.

Before signing with any provider, take the time to ask questions and understand the implementation process. How committed are they to ensuring that you hit the ground running with your new solution? Remember that sticking the landing with the initial stage may very well determine the success of your new software, and that implementation should be focussed around you and your needs.

What’s next?

We hope you’ve found this checklist to be a helpful guide to some of the key considerations you should keep in mind when considering when it may be time to look for a new people management software provider. If you’re still unsure of whether a move to a new people management software provider is worth the risk, why not check our guide on The Dangers of Doing Nothing? But if any of these pains feel familiar and you think you are one of many organisations who are languishing unnecessarily with outdated or unsuitable solutions from your current provider, if you find yourself battling increasing headaches with inaccurate data, security lapses, accessibility roadblocks, or if you simply just want to do better- why not check out Advanced’s people management solutions, which have been designed to help HR and leaders support and empower their people to the best of their ability.

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Julie Lock

Julie Lock


Commercial Director

With over 25 years, Julie’s expertise has seen her working with some of the largest global software suppliers in the HR and Payroll industry leading innovation research and development and sales to help support employee development, engagement and business growth. Julie analyses technology, the economy, the human revolution and the future of work, and the impact this will have on employers. She also regularly speaks at business conferences and continues to be featured in thought leadership articles in various media.

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