Don’t just implement, partner: Choosing the right HR tech SI partner for long-term success

by | Apr 24, 2024

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Don’t just implement, partner: Choosing the right HR tech SI partner for long-term success

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In today’s digital landscape, HR technology is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. But simply selecting the right HR solution isn’t enough. You need a robust System Implementation (SI) partner to configure the system to your specific needs and ensure a smooth, successful rollout. Choosing the wrong SI, however, can lead to costly delays, frustrating user experiences, and a system that fails to deliver the promised benefits.

Here at LACE Partners, we’ve provided fundamental HR advisory to many clients over the years to help them become intelligent customers and understand the critical role SIs play in HR technology success. That’s why we’ve put together this essential guide on selecting the right SI partner for your long-term HR technology journey, as the go-live of your technology is just the beginning.


Beyond implementation: Building a strategic partnership

One of the most crucial elements of delivering a successful HR Technology transformation, above anything else and a critical point to underline first and foremost is to view your SI as a long-term partner, not just a one-time implementer for your first go-live.

The ideal SI will work collaboratively with you throughout the entire process; in our experience, the most experienced SIs start working with you before you sign the contract with them and then continue through configuration to ongoing support and optimisation. Here’s why this long-term perspective is essential:

  • Understanding your needs: A good SI partner takes the time to understand your unique HR challenges and strategic goals. They don’t simply offer a generic implementation; they tailor the solution to your specific environment and workforce needs.
  • Future-proofing your system: The HR technology landscape is constantly evolving. An SI partner with a forward-thinking approach will ensure your system is flexible and scalable enough to accommodate future growth and changing requirements. One of the critical success factors is making key design decisions that are fit for the future to avoid any re-design. We talked about this in the webinar we ran last year on this subject, which you can view here.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): While cost is significant, it’s essential to delve beyond the surface, understand any hidden fees and ensure clarity on the project scope to prevent a cycle of change requests. However, solely basing the decision on price might not capture the whole picture. It’s vital to discern the value proposition an SI partner offers, ensuring that the additional costs translate into tangible benefits that align with your business objectives. By doing so, you can safeguard your business case and maximise your overall return on investment.
  • Building expertise: A strong SI partner can become a valuable extension of your HR team. They provide ongoing support and guidance, helping your team maximise the system’s capabilities and troubleshoot any issues that may arise during your implementation.


Key Considerations When Selecting an SI Partner

LACE have assisted numerous organisations in choosing the appropriate SI partner. Below are some of the primary factors we consider:

  • Industry expertise: Not all SIs are created equal. Look for a partner with a proven track record in your specific industry. They’ll understand your unique challenges and regulations, leading to a more effective implementation.
  • Cultural fit: Just like any partnership, cultural fit is essential. Choose an SI that aligns with your organisation’s values and work style. This fosters smoother communication, collaboration, and a more positive overall experience.
  • Beyond implementation skills: While implementation expertise is crucial, focus on an SI that prioritises understanding your desired outcomes. Look for partners who ask questions about your HR strategy and demonstrate how the technology aligns with those goals.
  • Collaborative approach: Beware of SIs that simply focus on ticking boxes. Look for a partner who actively engages with your team, welcomes open communication, and prioritises a collaborative approach to ensure a successful outcome.


Beyond the reference list: Getting the full picture

Many companies rely solely on SI-provided references when evaluating SIs. However, at LACE, we have learnt over the years there are other factors to consider for a more nuanced approach:

  • Seek out diverse references: Don’t just rely on the references provided by the SI. Reach out to clients in similar industries or with comparable project scopes. This broader perspective helps you understand the SI’s performance across different scenarios.
  • Go beyond success stories: While positive references are important, don’t shy away from understanding past challenges. Ask about projects that may not have gone perfectly. This reveals an SI’s problem-solving capabilities and commitment to client satisfaction.
  • Look for transparency: A reputable SI will be open to discussing past projects, both successes and challenges. This transparency demonstrates their commitment to continuous improvement and building genuine trust with potential clients.


Narrowing your search: From many to the perfect match

With a plethora of SIs in the market, how do you effectively narrow down your options? Based on our years of experience, here’s our tried and tested top four must-dos:

  • Start with product selection: Since different HR solutions have dedicated SIs, selecting the HR technology first helps define your SI pool. We’ve previously written about choosing the right technology in a blog here, as well as what you need to think about when looking at getting your request for proposal (RFP) process right here.
  • Consider Geographical Reach: If your organisation operates across multiple locations, you’ll want an SI with a global presence or strong partner network to ensure there is flexibility in locations and language support.
  • Connection: Establishing a strong connection between your core project team and the Systems Implementation (SI) team is paramount. This connection forms the foundation of a successful partnership, especially considering the duration of the collaboration spanning several months.
  • Industry expertise matters: Look for SIs with a proven track record in your specific industry. Their understanding of your unique challenges will contribute to a more effective implementation.
  • Scope defines expertise: The specific functionalities you require (e.g., payroll integration) may narrow down your SI options. Not all SIs have in-depth expertise in every HR technology feature.


Building a long-term partnership for HR technology success

Choosing the right SI to implement your HR technology is a critical decision that impacts the success of your entire HR transformation journey. By prioritising a long-term partnership, focusing on the factors outlined above, and conducting a thorough selection process, you can ensure you select an SI that becomes an asset, helping you achieve your strategic HR goals and maximise the potential of your HR technology investment.

Here at LACE Partners, we have extensive experience guiding organisations through the HR technology selection and implementation process. We can help you identify the right HR solution for your needs, connect you with the most qualified SI partners, and ensure a smooth, successful rollout. Contact us today to learn more about our HR technology consulting services – fill in the form below and let us know what help you need.