How to select the right HR software vendors for an HRMS demo
HRMS software demos are important. Not ‘test-driving’ your shortlisted systems leaves you making a decision based on the vendor’s marketing and sales copy and little else. A thorough demo will test the user experience, the variety of HR processes, the mobile functionality, self-service options, integration with other systems, security issues, and that’s just the system itself; a demo is also an opportunity to discuss implementation timescales, price, and even check on the stability of the vendor company. If you want to ensure first-hand that an HRMS suits your organization’s needs and fits your business strategy then you need to try before you buy. The question is, how do you decide who to invite to show you their wares?
Creating a vendor longlist
Before you can decide on the three or four candidates you want to see up close, first you need to take a broader view and see what’s out there right now on the HRMS landscape that looks like it might be what you want. In other words, draw up a long list of possibles. There are a number of ways to build a longlist:
- Online demos: many vendors’ websites will include short video demos of their product; nowhere near enough information to make a decision but enough to know whether it’s a possible option or not. (See below for a list of online demos from established HRMS providers).
- Recommendations: as with anything else, word of mouth is a powerful endorsement. Consult your network of industry peers and other business contacts and check out online user reviews. But explore why the recommendation is being made – if they’re raving about the predictive analytics when you’re just looking for a combined time and attendance and payroll system, it may not be a match.
- Industry Pundits: there’s a lot of informed and expert opinions available, including analyst reports, articles and reviews; examples include Gartner’s Magic Quadrants and Forrester's Wave reports.
- The HRMS Consultant: personalized expert advice is also available, for a fee. Look for an HRMS consultant who is well-versed not only in the HRMS market but also in your particular industry sector and its HR technology needs.
- RFP: once you have some names, sending them a standardized RFP (request for proposal) to complete is an efficient way of asking for information that goes beyond the marketing copy.
Creating a vendor shortlist
Once you have your longlist it’s a case of whittling it down to a manageable size. Factors to consider when deciding who to invite to demo include:
- System features match up with your HR and business requirements.
- Potentially useful extra features available.
- Vendor reputation for servicing similar organizations to your own.
- Scalability – will the system keep pace with anticipated business changes?
You’re looking for a shortlist of three or four options, each of which based on the information you have so far, is a potential purchase decision. A key purpose of the demo process is to test the information you already have and whether the system lives up to its promises.
A few online demos to start you off…
As mentioned above, the following links offer a sample of online HRMS demos:
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