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HR is missing out on strategic benefits of systems integration

Chris Berry

Senior HR professionals identify transactional benefits of linking systems, but overlook potential impact on organisational performance, according to a new CIPHR/YouGov survey. Contributor Chris Berry, managing director – CIPHR.

While senior UK HR leaders are cognisant of the transactional benefits of integrating HR systems with other L&D and business systems, many organisations are missing on the enhanced strategic performance such integrations would enable, according to new online research from CIPHR.

Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of the 500 senior UK HR decision-makers surveyed by YouGov for CIPHR already benefit from integrated HR systems or said they would benefit from such software integration.

Against the background of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last month, respondents highlighted the potential for improved security and reduced risk that integrating HR and other business systems brings, with nearly two-thirds (63 percent), agreeing that manually transferring data between different systems is a significant data security risk.

CIPHR’s research also hinted at the potential efficiency savings that busy HR departments could benefit from by integrating systems. More than a third (38 percent) of respondents who said that their business would benefit from integrating HR systems said their business spends up to 10 hours a month updating and transferring data between HR solutions. Over a third (36 percent) spend more than 10 hours a month updating and transferring data between systems.

While respondents identified tactical benefits to integrating core HR software with other business systems – including reduced administration (36 percent), improved data accuracy (26 percent), reduced costs (25 percent) – strategic benefits were far less likely to be cited. Only a small proportion said that integrating HR and other business systems would improve their ability to adapt to the changing needs of the business (16 percent), improve their ability to calculate the return on investment for HR initiatives (16 percent), and lead to a larger involvement of HR throughout the business (14 percent).

The full results of the CIPHR/YouGov research form part of a new CIPHR white paper, Better together: the future of HR systems integration, which assesses the changing landscape of HR systems integration and strategic benefits of integrating systems, as well as offering advice on tackling common challenges and making the business case for investment in HR software.

The paper’s release accompanies the launch of CIPHR Connect: an ecosystem of trusted business applications that integrate seamlessly with CIPHR’s HR and recruitment solutions, connecting people data across the organisation and enabling HR departments to work more strategically and effectively.

Commenting on the launch, Chris Berry, managing director at CIPHR, said: “In many organisations, HR is a strategic partner that is closely involved with functions across the business. Linking an organisation’s specialist systems together via CIPHR Connect will give HR departments better visibility of crucial people metrics, enabling teams to make smarter, more timely, decisions.”

He added: “CIPHR Connect links and provides connectivity between CIPHR and an organisation’s other systems – whether that’s so they can measure the effectiveness of L&D programmes, discover the correlation between employee engagement and wellbeing, or verify the work history and identity of new recruits – giving them an integrated, holistic view of both people effectiveness and organisational performance.”

The survey also assessed the most popular standalone HR systems used by HR teams in addition to (but not integrated with) core HR software. The most popular responses included payroll (44 percent), time and attendance/rostering software (23 percent), and expense management systems (21 percent).

Those least likely to be used as standalone HR systems were flexible benefits portals (12 percent), recruitment/applicant tracking systems (14 percent), and learning management systems (15 percent).

Systems that HR professionals currently do or would most benefit from integrating with their core HR systems included payroll (26 percent) and performance management (23 percent) solutions, according to the survey respondents. Just 12 percent of HR professionals working in organisations with more than 250 employees said their business does not or would not benefiting from integrating standalone people management solutions with their core HR system, compared with 38 percent of those working in small (10-49 employee) companies.

Megan Hope, partner manager at CIPHR, said: “Integrating your core people system with other HR, L&D and business applications will free up your busy HR team to spend more time on the strategic people initiatives that really matter to your organisation, transforming the department from an administrative function to a commercial enabler.”

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