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December 14, 2017

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Is More Functionality Better?

While aboard the Richmond Events QE2 cruise for senior HR Professionals, I had the opportunity to meet with more than 40 decision makers to discuss HR initiatives and technology solutions. What surprised me was that both the larger companies, who can afford the best products, and the smaller companies, whose resources are more modest, were saying the same thing. Both groups want simple products that provide easy to use tools.

For example, I spoke with two representatives, one from a large bank with over 60,000 employees and one from a large staffing firm with over 22,000 employees, who were both looking for a simple learning management system. They have met with the biggies, as well as some of the smaller vendors, but the solutions being offered are far too complicated and cost prohibitive. Both representatives, "just want to keep track of who took what courses when".

Am I telling learning management, or talent management vendors, not to add functionality to their products or for HR Professionals not to purchase comprehensive products? Not necessarily, what I am suggesting is:

  1. If you produce a "Cadillac" it is often very beneficial to also have a "Cavalier" to offer.

  2. Too much functionality can increase the time it takes to train, understand and use products.

  3. Increased functionality almost always means more keystrokes to complete tasks and it can interfere with normal work methods. So make sure that added functionality does not disrupt your business process and goals.

  4. An increase in functionality means an increase in development costs and not all clients will use these functions. By buying and selling functionalities in modules you will decrease unnecessary costs for companies who choose not to invest in particular functionalities.

  5. As for the vendors, make sure that you are not pricing yourself out of your market. I have seen many companies start out producing simple niche products but, in an effort to gain a larger share of the HR professionals budget, began developing or purchasing complementary products. By adding products, which were out of the recruiting realm, they in essence produced an HRIS system and placed themselves in direct competition against the largest HRIS vendors. Do you really want to provide an end-to-end solution and compete against major platform suppliers like PeopleSoft, Oracle, and SAP?

In conclusion, bigger is not always better and larger companies do not always need more robust and comprehensive products. Make sure that you investigate the true requirements of your users and the impact of changing their process before you invest in additional functionality.

-Debbie McGrath
www.HR.com