HR applications are a sign of things to come. You could describe the HR application landscape as fragmented, specialized, cloud-based, and un-integrated. Managing applications in the HR space is certainly messy, but it also represents an opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves with integration.
As reflected in Scribe’s recent press release with HRNX, the HR application landscape is quite complicated. HRNX alone works with more than one hundred HR applications, including Workday, SuccessFactors, Ceridian, Paycom, and Jobscience and they help organizations shrink the time it takes to integrate candidate sourcing, applicant tracking, talent management, and training systems. Look behind the curtain at any modern company’s HR systems and you’ll find many unique cloud applications (provided by just as many vendors). This mosaic of HR applications reflects the solid appeal of cloud applications, the greater specialization of those applications, and the need for integration to make it all work together to deliver the desired business effect.
The challenge is how can you present a seamless experience for HR managers, job applicants, and employees as information and users traverse from one application to another. Of course the secret is to knit the applications together and, therefore, the user experiences, with data and application integration. In the case of HR applications, they probably also need to be connected through integrations to a number of cloud-based and on-premises databases or financial and operational applications. It is a reflection of the new ERP system, which Gartner calls the post-modern ERP system, where ERP functions are provided by multiple vendors in separate applications, tied together with integration.
This is exactly why integration platform as a service (iPaaS) products, such as Scribe Online, have gained traction so quickly. Built to operate at cloud speed, an iPaaS accelerates individual integration projects and expands the pool of people that can tackle an integration project, giving organizations the bandwidth to build the integrations they require with so many new applications.
While at a recent conference, a speaker posed the question, “If every company uses the same applications, how can you differentiate yourself.” I think the answer is simple. You differentiate not necessarily in the applications themselves, but how you use the information they contain and how well you can coordinate the information flows across applications and throughout the company. We know from experience that if you apply for a job at two companies, you will likely have two very different experiences. The difference often comes down to training, approach, processes, information flow, and other factors. Integration becomes a key differentiator then in how the HR applications are coordinated to create that user experience and build the brand of the company.
The fragmentation and the need for data and application integration that characterizes the HR application space is not unique. Other application areas, such as marketing technology are similar in complexity and cloudiness. Companies that want to differentiate themselves through a better customer experience should consider integrating not just across their HR applications, but also integrating in a similar way across service, CRM, and other applications that have an impact on employees and customers.