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HR Technology Marketplace 101

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that employers look to technology to manage complex administrative needs. And of course these needs vary from organization to organization. But for many employers, half the battle is knowing what is available in the marketplace to begin with! You don’t know what you don’t know, right? So let’s get you “in the know” and walk through HR Technology Marketplace 101.

Starting with the most comprehensive options, you’ll find vendors who sell a “bundled” package of full HCM solutions and software: Payroll, HRIS, Benefits Administration (Ben-Admin), Onboarding, Time & Attendance, Performance Management, etc…. The common summary phrase for this employee life-cycle technology is “From Hire to Retire”. These systems boast being able to “do it all!” And some definitely can, and do it well, but it usually means your organization and processes need to fit within their parameters. If they do, great! These solutions usually stem from a specific system, usually payroll, and almost always have HRIS built into their main platform. Depending on the vendor, they may be able to implement one or two of their products as separate modules if you don’t want the full “bundled” package.

Adjacent to these companies, are the vendors that have started as one product, let’s say payroll, and in the HR Technology BOOM of the last 5 years have partnered with an existing platform for ben-admin, HRIS, or “fill in the blank” technology which is seamlessly integrated with theirs. These companies are making huge advancements to fill in the gaps of system to system communications and appear to always be on the lookout for new and better offerings for their clients. It’s a brave new world out there with a lot of exciting innovations!

You’ll also find companies which focus on one specific HR Technology product, such as payroll or a ben-admin platform. These are the most common occurrence in the marketplace as HR Technology systems have traditionally been separate entities. These companies usually focus on their product alone and make sure their product can “plug in” with any technology you may already have. Many strides have been made by these vendors to better compete in the market and up the game, so to speak.

Lest I forget, we can’t forget to mention insurance carriers! They have their own technology solutions to bring to the table. Many Life and Disability carriers these days have partnered with a ben-admin and/or HCM company to bring a co-branded product to the market. Often times, for employers moving to a new carrier, the new carrier can offer incentive pricing on a new ben-admin platform which can integrate with the employer payroll and/or HRIS system. It becomes a win/win for the carrier and of course the employer with their shiny new ben-admin platform.

One very important thing to keep in mind, is determining which technology solutions are available to your specific size of company. As you’ll see in the chart below, the progression of solutions available usually favors the larger employers. But if you are on the smaller side (we’re talking under