The Intelligent Approach to Buying HR Software

The Intelligent Approach to Buying HR Software

14:45 05 September in Applicant Tracking Systems, Articles, Best Practices, Business, HR Technology, Technology

I want to disrupt the way many people go about selecting business software, and more specifically applicant tracking systems. I want to show people a way to choose, maintain and optimize their software investment by thinking of new ways to understand the process from start to post-purchase. In the many years I’ve worked with clients and prospects, I’ve learned a great deal from them about buying habits, including misconceived perceptions that lead them down the wrong path.

Software ownership is not easy when you start off with a poorly developed strategy, so getting off on the right foot before the buying process and being able to successfully carry this strategy through post-purchase, will garner you results much more in-line with your actual business requirements.

What is too commonly practiced is that people start out believing they need to divest themselves of their current system and purchase a new one, and the interesting part is they probably don’t have a business case to do so. This belief is usually the result of one or more of the following factors:

  • Poor communication between the end-user business and the software provider.
  • A lack of understanding about the software they currently have (moreover, this problem most likely began on day one of the purchase).
  • New management’s desire to change providers because of a past relationship with another provider.
  • The lack of a business needs (gap) analysis.

Of all the factors listed, lack of a needs analysis is the most critical and the most difficult, because it’s the foundation upon which well-thought-out considerations and decisions should be made. Critical business decisions should always be solidly grounded in facts and evidence rather than supposition. Each company needs to understand how their processes, culture, location, hiring needs and environment is unique to them and use this knowledge to critically evaluate software to fit their business goals.

When it comes to considerations and decisions, it’s important to look at things that require taking a deeper dive into the workings of the software provider. This action does not mean sending in a standard RFP to a laundry list of vendors (some of which that will not be qualified) and asking them questions that they’ve answered hundreds of times for other companies. Some vendors will basically “copy” their answers from previous RFPs and send you generic responses. This is not helpful and will not get you the information you need. Understanding the value a new system will bring to your unique business and how it will solve your unique problems, is much more important than having a standardized checklist of questions that may not be pertinent to what you need and ultimately not serve you well in the end.

I’ve had countless conversations with people in the 30+ years I’ve been in the HR software development space and quickly came to realize that people are overwhelmed by the options, and further many lack a true understanding of what software is the right one for meeting their business needs. As a means to educate people, I’ve written a business guide that outlines the foundation of what you need to know and do pre- and post-purchase, in addition to what fundamentals make for a great working relationship with your software provider during your business partnership.

You can get your free copy by clicking Get My Free Guide Now.

To your ongoing success.


Photo courtesy of Chris Commons.

Doug Coull

Doug Coull is the founder and CEO of APS, Inc., maker of SmartSearch talent acquisition and staffing management software. Doug founded APS in 1986 after a successful management career in the contract engineering industry. Under Doug’s leadership and unique perspective on the development and user adoption of software and technology, APS pioneered the resume scanning based system as a new approach to digital candidate management. In the ensuing years, APS continues to reign as one of the industry’s most innovative software developers in the field of HR technology. APS currently services customers on five continents, serving both corporate human resources, as well as the staffing industry. Doug attended Augustana College and the University of Minnesota. He’s the father of two sons and is an avid automobile enthusiast. Doug lives in North San Diego County, California.

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