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7 Questions to Ask When Looking for the Right HR Technology


There truly is strength in numbers. Human Resources lays this foundation at top performing companies. HR encourages hundreds, if not thousands of people to work toward the same direction and goal. This creates a shared sense of purpose and an engaging culture. Establishing an engaging culture that encourages people to work together, continue learning, and grow their careers in a meaningful way will motivate your workforce to create value. One of the best ways to facilitate this is with an intelligent, personalized HR technology. Unfortunately, not all technology is as simple and supportive as it sounds.

Key Components to Look for in HR Technology

Some key components to look for in your HR technology in order to create an engaging employee experience include:

  • Technology that is built from the ground up
  • Technology that will delight your C-suite

Technology That Is Built from the Ground Up

Working toward common goals is made easier when HR manages to reinforce the company’s shared culture, mission, and values. One question work asking prospective HR providers is whether their solution will allow you to extend your branding throughout the application. The question is really a test of sorts—getting at whether the vendor’s products are built from the ground up and share the same core functionality. An HCM solution that can’t extend branding across the application is often a sign of multiple systems that have been cobbled together. This could cause problems later on when you’re trying to integrate your people processes with other critical enterprise functions like finance and analytics, supply chain, sales, marketing, etc.

Can the prospective supplier support end-to-end business processes outside of HR? How does the vendor support different departmental workflows and transactions? The best way to find out is to ask.

Technology That Will Delight Your C-Suite

Today’s integrated HCM Cloud solutions really shine in encouraging the collaboration of the C-suite and HR. When C-level decisions and recommendations are supported by shared data and sound analytical insight, strength in numbers takes on new meaning. Employees stay engaged and productive when it’s easy to prioritize work, collaborate to make decisions, find mentors, and join fun and philanthropic activities. An HCM solution that gets people working together more effectively is a huge plus for any organization.

In addition to these key components of a valuable HR technology, Oracle released a document titled “7 Questions to Ask to Find Out the Truth About ‘Simple’ HR Technology” that can help you find the HR technology that is the best fit for your organization.

7 Questions to Ask to Find the Truth About “Simple” HR Technology

The exterior appearance of simplicity often masks the real complexity underneath that can affect getting real work done. As a buyer of HR technology, how do you find out what’s the truth and what’s fiction?

Many HR technology vendors are simply piecing disparate applications together, while vendors of the future are building their technology from the ground up to truly integrate with future technology innovations like chat-based interfaces and artificial intelligence. This shift in focus will make all the difference to your organization’s performance. Save yourself and your organization from making a buying decision that could cost you both time and money.

Ask these seven questions to help uncover the truth behind “simple” HR technology:

#1: Can you extend my organization’s branding throughout the application?

This seems like a small question, but it signals hidden complexity underneath the technology. If the software can’t extend your branding across the application, this can identify disparate systems that have been cobbled together.

This question sets you up for follow up questions like:

  • How many of your products are built from the ground up?
  • How many are the result of acquisitions?
  • How effectively do your products “talk to” acquired products to give reports, analytics, and real insights?

This problem shows itself in mobile use as well. If the underlying structure isn’t truly integrated at the code level, you will get data quality, integration, and security issues that manifest on mobile. You will see the lack of responsiveness, and you will notice a look and feel that don’t seem right.

#2: How do you enable HR Help Desk and work-life solutions?

Although HR Help Desk and other work-life solutions may seem like small areas, without these solutions, there’s a real lack of depth and scalability with talent solutions.

This question sets you up for follow up questions like:

  • If you aren’t offering these solutions, how do you fill the gaps to offer a complete HCM suite?
  • If you’re filling the gaps with partners, how stable are those relationships?
  • What about workforce rewards, health and safety, social collaboration, and risk and compliance?

Look for a revolving door of partnerships. That can be a red flag. Strong, consistent, long-term vendor partnerships can be a strong indicator that a vendor will be a good partner for you. However, a revolving door of partners can indicate a number of things—from a lack of good faith in professional relationships to failures in product development. If the vendor is telling you “It’s just business,” that can be a cover for a lot of problems.

#3: How do you deliver and integrate supply chain, sales, and marketing solutions with your HCM solutions?

HR is more integrated with the business than ever. Therefore, it’s no surprise that HR technology should integrate with other line-of-business technology. Target your follow up questions at the consequences for your business.

This question sets you up for follow up questions like:

  • Do you offer true enterprise analytics? What kinds of reports can I see?
  • How do you support end-to-end business processes outside of HR?
  • How do you support different departmental workflows and transactions?

An integrated experience is shifting from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Having a seamless customer experience between HR, finance, supply chain, etc. is crucial to many organizations. As a follow-up to these questions, you could ask the vendor if they offer real customer experience or enterprise resource planning.

#4: What is your roadmap for chatbots, artificial intelligence, and other innovations in the user’s experience?

Be careful with this question. “It’s on the roadmap” can be a vendor’s catch-all answer to avoid answering questions that they can’t or don’t want to answer. Ask specific follow up questions.

This question sets you up for follow up questions like:

  • Do you currently use AI or machine learning?
  • How are you making your user experience more consumer-like?
  • What about support for Internet of Things (IoT) or blockchain?

Simply put, most of yesterday’s Cloud generation solutions don’t have an answer or a clue about how to fit these advanced technologies into their products. They are unable to support the next generation of innovation because they don’t have the infrastructure solved. Beware of this because it’s important to know that a vendor can support your system and innovation moving forward.

#5: How has your investment in research and development increased in the past five years?

Very few companies can do it all, and most must choose between growth or innovation. Most of yesterday’s Cloud generation vendors are cutting back on R&D as they shift focus from innovation to investors. Ask how much money is going into sales and marketing versus research and development. The answer can be revealing.

This question sets you up for follow up questions like:

  • How much time and money is the company investing in innovation?
  • What are the areas of focus for investments?

The more the number shifts toward sales and marketing, the more you know that the real focus is on getting bigger, not getting better. In short, you are looking to see what the future will look like with this vendor as your technology partner.

#6: How do you integrate with other application not on your platform?

In simple terms, you’re asking, “How flexible is your data? Is the future of your business tied to integrating your HR technology with other business applications to provide insights?” If the answer to these questions is yes, pay close attention to questions about how and where they store their data. Some of yesterday’s Cloud generation vendors are surprisingly closed in this regard.

This question sets you up for follow up questions like:

  • Can developers access your system to perform custom configuration or special integrations?
  • How easy is the integration with non-HR applications to enable workforce analytics?

#7: When will I see ROI and how significantly will third-party consultants add to costs?

How soon do you hit ROI and payback on your HCM investment? The answer depends on how complicated the implementation is. Many of yesterday’s vendors have high “rip and replace” costs hidden from view. For instance, many vendors will tell you that you don’t need a third-party consultant or system integrators. While it’s technically true, it’s a little like an airline telling you that you don’t technically need a pilot. In reality, there’s no way you would go that route. Ask questions to make sure that you get on the right plane.

This question sets you up for follow up questions like:

  • What are the typical costs to budget for consultants?
  • How does your total cost of ownership compare with other vendors?
  • What are you non-renewal rates for consultant-supported engagements versus those that didn’t use consultants?

If you’re told that you don’t need consultants, ask for a comparison of failure rates of implementation using consultants versus not using consultants. That way, you can find the truth about their total costs.


The truth is that your organization has numerous problems to solve. You need a technology vendor that does the heavy lifting for you and gets you back to work on tomorrow’s problems. Unfortunately, yesterday’s Cloud generation isn’t set up for the future of work. There wasn’t enough time spent on R&D and building the software from the ground up.

Fortunately, Oracle has ten years of development and an annual $6 billion in R&D investment that have resulted in a future-proof Cloud HCM platform that takes into account the most important factors for buyers and users.

For more information about the seven questions to ask to find the truth about “simple” HR technology, check out the Oracle document attached below.

Additional Resources

For more Oracle HCM Cloud resources, case studies, best practices, etc., check out Quest’s Oracle HCM Cloud Content Center. There are resources and training available for all aspects of HCM Cloud, including payroll, analytics, recruiting, and more!