It’s no surprise that the majority of tech purchasing decisions sit with the CTO, CIO, or their respective teams. Each line of business will have its own needs, and will relay those to the team in charge of technology.
However, research published at the end of 2018 shows that this rhythm is changing. The study found that the tech team is no longer the sole decision maker when it comes to purchasing decisions. While they continue to drive funding and adoption, they are now being influenced by other parts of the business. For HR and recruitment teams, this is an important trend.
From out of the shadows
Shadow IT was once touted as a potential threat to the enterprise, as departments and employees circumnavigated the tech team to deploy their own software. The growth of subscriptions and cloud computing enabled this, and it soon became mainstream. This saw other departments begin to work more closely with IT as they began to influence decisions.
What was once frowned upon is now becoming commonplace as technology is decentralised. But there is still a disconnect: tech teams are made up of highly technical people, but other departments may lack the expertise required to build and deploy what can be very complex software solutions. Will it integrate into an existing tech stack? Is there device interoperability? Is it GDPR compliant? Many of these questions will still require the input and expertise of the tech team.
So what does this mean for HR? How should they work more closely with the IT department to ensure they have the tools they need, while staying within budget and demonstrating ROI?
3 Key Tips for Engaging with Technology Teams
1. Talk to your tech team
It may seem obvious, but the best way to move forward is to simply communicate your needs to the IT team. They may know about an existing solution you could use, or may have some valuable information about the product you’ve chosen.
Of course, they will ask questions of you. So be prepared to present a business case that highlights why you need a certain piece of software or technology, how you intend to use it, who will use and benefit from it, what it costs and how it will drive impact on the bottom line.
Many businesses are waking up to the importance of a mixed technology stack when it comes to HR tech. Businesses of all sizes are spending around $266 per employee, per year, on HR tech. On average, they deploy around 7.5 separate applications. That means things can get complex quite quickly, so work with the tech team.
2. Demonstrate the ROI
The tech team will have no time for vanity projects. Every purchase made must deliver some sort of ROI. Key to identifying what that will be is to first recognise the problem you need to solve: is your recruitment team manually building spreadsheets of potential candidates, taking up vast amounts of time? Is there software that could automate much of that, and save them time?
Or maybe holiday requests, feedback and reviews are all done through separate systems. Perhaps a bespoke employee management programme may be able to cut these inefficiencies and help the HR team manage information in a secure way.
Being able to quantify exactly how the desired solution will save the business money is key.
Your tech team can help here too: they will know how to analyse ROI from applications, and can help report back using metrics that the board will be familiar with. They can capture many more data points, and feed it into business intelligence dashboards to offer a more holistic view.
3. Understand the bigger picture
Nothing will make this process more difficult than going into a meeting with the tech team wearing blinkers. They will know what solutions are in place across the business already, and will have a very clear idea about what solutions work well with others. They will also shy away from duplicating any work or current solutions.
For example, if one part of the business is already using a CRM to manage customer conversations, and the recruitment team want something similar, it is unlikely that the IT team will agree to having separate systems. Instead, they will want to extend their existing licences.
Understanding the wider business needs are key to negotiating what you need.
Ultimately, this is a very exciting time for HR technology. The continued advancements in software, particularly with AI coming to the forefront, means that HR directors will switch to a more strategic role as time is freed up by smart software. With some more understanding, and a willingness to partner with the IT team, 2019 could really be the year of change for HR teams.
Have you got any examples about how you work with your IT team? Let us know in the comments below.
Adam White is the Co-Founder and COO of Winter Circle.