Integrated Talent Management (ITM) Decision Drivers Blog

September 23, 2008

As the leading HR and Talent Management Systems consulting firm, HRchitect has helped hundreds of companies properly and successfully evaluate and select the right system for their needs. Throughout this process, HRchitect has learned what it takes and what kinds of decision drivers should be used in an evaluation. Even though this is about ITM, it would apply to any Talent Management module or other HR system.


Perhaps the biggest mistake prospective buyers make in evaluating ITM vendors is to focus all their efforts on assessing functionality fit, while downplaying or ignoring a number of other significant criteria that can dramatically impact long-term satisfaction with the preferred solution. Of course functionality is critical, and end-user stakeholders cannot be totally blamed for their desire to buy a solution that has (or appears to have) all the ‘bells and whistles’ they want. However, a number of other criteria should be assessed as part of any evaluation/selection process, and are briefly described below. Also, HRchitect will dive further into each of these in a series of upcoming blogs:


Vendor Viability – an aggregate rating including the following elements: Financial status of company (such as funding, cash position, burn rate, profitability), market position, strength of product landscape/road map, vision, execution, and channels/ partners. Metrics include recent client wins in recent quarters, number of customers, number of employees, or likelihood to be acquired.


Package Usability – package usability is determined by demo script/hands-on scoring, as well as reference feedback. How intuitive is the system? What is the number of clicks required to complete a transaction? How easy is it for end-users to navigate through the system? Are the screens cluttered or clean? Can the application appearance be configured to reflect the client style guide? How much training per client role will be required?


Cost / ROI – this criteria reflects the total cost of ownership for the solution. How will the cost of ownership be shared between the client’s various business units/companies? This rating normally includes software purchase or rent price, hosting fees, implementation services price, client resources needed during implementation and post-implementation, hardware and any other third party costs.


Ease of Integration/Interoperability – includes the application’s integration framework, Application Program Interfaces (APIs), and ease of integration with 3rd party applications. In addition, this category examines the extent to which the vendor has implemented services-oriented architecture (SOA) to enable/increase interoperability.


Technology – examines overall fit with Client tech standards/conventions as well as the strengths/qualities of vendor’s technology strategy and infrastructure. This is usually preliminarily assessed in the Request For Information (RFI) or Request For Proposal (RFP) stage of the evaluation, and then verified at the technical portions of the demo and during a technical review meeting.


Package Configurability – this driver rates the ability of the software to configure panels, workflow, user-defined fields, and reports. How strong is the system administration workbench? How self-reliant can the Client be from using vendor resources? How comprehensive are the configuration parameters, i.e. how much of the system can be tailored/personalized to Client requirements without impacting system upgrades?


Package Scalability – answers the question, ‘Can this application truly meet our current and anticipated future processing needs?’ Input to the rating includes the number of large volume customers (e.g. employee, requisition, performance appraisal, compensation planning, applicant and user volume counts), bandwidth of hosting center as well as core software to meet client volumes or expected growth.


Service and Support – evaluates the breadth and quality of the vendor’s service infrastructure. Included in this category are the size / tenure / hours of support and professional services functions, implementation methodology / approach, results of client reference calls, and vendor liability as defined within its service level agreement (e.g., priority escalation of problems). If the solution is hosted or SaaS, this category also includes an assessment of facilities, including security, backup, disaster recovery, etc.


Business Segmentation – the degree to which the vendor’s software architecture and structure can meet the organization’s multi-company or multi-division needs (e.g., ability to deploy different process flows for the same function by division, separate and consolidated reporting).


Global Capability – The vendor’s ability to meet language and/or country-specific requirements and regulations. Criteria for the rating includes the number of global customers, countries represented and supported, and number of languages supported. The category also includes safe harbor data center, data privacy and country specific legislative support (e.g. Sarbanes Oxley, Basel II).


Operational Effectiveness – the impact the vendor application will have on the staff and the overall functioning of the ITM operation. This includes staffing impact (either reduction using the software or lessens the need to add to staff to provide additional functionality or service organizational growth).


If you are looking to evaluate Talent Management projects in the future, we implore you to utilize our services to help find the right product, the first time. HRchitect has heard of too many horror stories of companies who have tried to go through the process without the help of subject matter experts and we don’t want to see this happen to you.


 Solving a piece of the puzzle… 
Matt Lafata, HRchitect


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