60 Questions to ask when buying HR Tech

About two years ago I joined several human resources Facebook Groups. I enjoy following the discussions there, sometimes I even jump and comment myself. There are a few questions that I like in particular and they sound like this:

What ATS should I buy?

What should I choose between Workday and SuccessFactors?

Can anyone recommend a good HCM?

Whenever I see this type of question, I always like to start my answer with: It depends. Because it really depends on various factors. This is why I’ve put together a list of questions that someone should ask in the process of buying HR Tech.

I send an email every Thursday, once I publish my weekly article. I also share some good content. Mostly HR related.

My goal with this list is to help potential buyers in assessing the options they have and bring more clarity in this vast and complex process. This list can also help you in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, a step that most of the HR Vendors have in their selling process.

General questions

  1. How many employees do you have? Some products are suitable for startups, small businesses, medium businesses, and large corporations.
  2. Do you operate in one country or in multiple countries? Are you looking for a global solution or a local one?
  3. Your HR/Payroll team is a centralized or decentralized team?
  4. Are you migrating from a current product or is this a brand new implementation?
  5. Is there a mobile version or mobile app available?
  6. Who are your project’s sponsors? HR Tech implementations usually require a high amount of resources and time, so a powerful sponsorship is something you should consider before starting a project.
  7. Who is going to lead the acquisition part of the HR Tech: HR, IT or another team?
  8. Who is going to lead the implementation project?
  9. Will you have an internal project team?
  10. Will you have an internal project manager?
  11. Are you open to change processes in order to adapt to the solution? If Yes, check question 13.
  12. Are you looking for a solution to adapt to your current processes?
  13. Will this implementation have a change management component?
  14. Are you looking for a Cloud or On-Premise product?
  15. If Cloud, are you looking for a public, private or hybrid Cloud? Maybe IT can provide more insights on this topic.
  16. The product has a detailed documentation for end-users? Including admin users.

Pricing

  1. Are you looking for a Software as a Service (SaaS – subscription-based) or a License product?
  2. What pricing model fits you better: price based on the number of employees/number of licenses/number of new hires/number of recruiter accounts, etc?
  3. If SaaS, is there an option for an annual plan? Or multiannual?
  4. What is the support pricing structure? Per hour, per ticket, etc?
  5. The support is a separate contract? Is paid monthly, quarterly, annually?
  6. Is there a cost for the implementation?
  7. Is there a pricing structure for change requests?

Security & Integrations

  1. Does the product have an Identity/Security Management feature?
  2. Can it be integrated with a 3rd party Identity Management system?
  3. Does it have to be integrated with other products/systems?
  4. Does it allow automated integration through API or SFTP? IT can provide more info on this topic?
  5. Does it have mass upload functionality?
  6. Access and Permissions are managed at an individual level or on security profiles groups?

Workflows

  1. What are the standard workflows built-in? For instance: new hire creation, new requisition creation, promotion, salary change, etc.
  2. Can workflows have an approval chain integrated?
  3. If yes, how is the approval built? For instance, based on organizational hierarchy.
  4. Is there a possibility to build custom workflows, based on specific processes?
  5. If yes, is there an interface from where the end-user can build it?
  6. If there is no interface and can only be built from the backend, is there a pricing structure for it?
  7. Is there a workflow management interface? For instance, if a workflow is pending for approval with a person who is on leave, can it be reassigned?
  8. Can workflows have validations/conditions? For instance, if a workflow is pending for approval with someone who did not take any action for 7 days, can it be routed to the upper level?
  9. Can workflows have in-app notifications?
  10. Can workflows have email notifications?
  11. With the admin security level, can approval chain steps be bypassed?

Reporting & Analytics

  1. Is there a reporting feature built-in?
  2. Are there standard reports built-in?
  3. Is it possible to create custom reports?
  4. Is there documentation available for the reporting module?
  5. Do reports respect the security level of the person who runs it?
  6. Is there a business intelligence module/feature?
  7. Does it have the possibility to create dashboards?
  8. Can dashboards be shared with others?
  9. Can external data be added for benchmarking?
  10. Can it be integrated with a Business Intelligence app (Tableau, PowerBI, Qlick etc)?
  11. Can reports be extracted in Excel, CSV, PDF, Doc etc?

Implementation

  1. It is a self implementation or an implementation guided by the vendor?
  2. How long does it take the implementation?
  3. What are the phases of the implementation?
  4. The vendor is implementing with their own team or using a 3rd party implementation partner?
  5. What type of implementation methodology do they use: agile or waterfall?
  6. Who is delivering the application training?
  7. How many/What resources (people) are needed from the client-side? HR Practitioners, Payroll processors, Recruiters, etc.
  8. What is the weekly time allocation needed per each person involved in the implementation?
  9. Is there a rollback option? In case things are not working ok after Go Live, can we roll back to what we had before?
  10. Will there be a hard freeze of our current application when the Go Live is happening?
  11. How do we measure the success of a Go Live? For instance, two consecutive successfully processed payroll.

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