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Brent Skinner (1 Posts)

Brent Skinner

Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Brent Skinner is Nucleus Research's principal analyst covering vendors, trends, and technologies in human capital management (HCM). His experience in the field of high technology stretches back 20 years. Prior to joining Nucleus, he was technology editor for HRO Today and a ghostwriter supporting thought leadership for a team of corporate executives. Earlier in his career, Brent was a research consultant to Kennedy Information and contributing editor to Executive Recruiter News. He has been an adjunct instructor at Boston University since January 2003.

The most important questions to ask of your HCM vendor


When it comes to choosing a new HCM provider the stakes are high. Choose the wrong one and not only could this be a costly decision—it could cost you your job.

Therefore, it is imperative that before you sign on the dotted line, you consider these six things:

#1 The brand name.

I’ve seen so many organizations select a vendor because of the “brand name” only to discover too late that its solution is neither scalable nor able to be customized. However, if organizations do due diligence before going to market, they can avoid this.

#2 Cloud isn’t for everyone.

Beware of blanket statements…most of the time, cloud is preferable. Occasionally, however, on premise is the better solution for certain employers. It is also important to consider if the deployment option (SaaS, hosted, or on premise) has the flexibility to scale when the organization grows.

#3 Growth potential

My firm belief is, make sure your solution of choice is scalable. If there’s high growth, which is every organization’s goal anyway, make sure you won’t need to jump ship to a completely different product, later. Some vendors, for example, will require a full rip-and-replace of their modern solution just to get you on a different solution of theirs designed to handle your new employee headcount. Find a single solution that can handle the growth from the get-go—one that can run or be upgraded if/when needed.

#4 HCM with WFM

When an organization can integrate its “time” data with its “people” data, that’s powerful. For example, performance reviews are historically highly subjective. But if you can add real numbers, then it begins to remove bias and leaves employees and managers alike with actionable, data-backed feedback.

#5 Think globally

Based on what is available now, there are a few options. One option is to deploy multiple instances of your application, each separate from the other. Another option is to deploy a single instance and select one set of “rules” that will govern matters system-related world-wide. However, both these options are restrictive. My recommendation is to select a solution that runs on a distributed platform that can handle domestic and global requirements and different rules.

#6 ROI

ROI should be significant and realized in a short amount of time. Don’t underestimate the return from a properly selected workforce management solution. Our research shows that, under the right conditions, Workforce Management provides significant ROI for every $1 invested.

To hear more, join me for the upcoming SumTotal and Nucleus webinar, “Four Things To Do Before Signing Your WFM Provider Contract.”