3 reasons why you need an HR technology roadmap


Ever heard the phrase "if you aim at nothing that’s what you’ll hit"? Trying to coordinate your HR technology without a roadmap is much the same – without an overall strategy, success is both incidental and accidental. Whereas traveling with a roadmap means not only do you know exactly where you’re aiming to end up, but the terrain along the way is also less likely to take you by surprise.

What is an HR technology roadmap?

A basic HR technology roadmap will show:

  • The business processes your technology will support
  • The objectives that will be met
  • The technology you need to do that
  • The implementation and maintenance program that will make that technology a success
  • The resources required to achieve your goals

Why do you need an HR technology roadmap?

Any organization large enough to benefit from an HRMS and/or other HR systems will derive a number of benefits from a roadmap or strategy.

1. A clear focus

An HR technology roadmap gives you the clearest and most direct route to your destination. It’s a clear statement of what tech you need, how it links to business goals, and the timings of each stage/implementation. Then you follow the map.

Of course, it’s open to reviewing as business priorities and market forces change. A slowdown in the economy? An organizational restructure? You refer to the roadmap and decide what (if any) course changes are necessary. But you don’t go ‘off-road’ without a proper review first.

2. C-suite buy-in

Sometimes the biggest headache in HR is gaining and maintaining commitment at the top level of the organization; especially for HR technology which may be viewed as an unnecessary expense. A clear roadmap links your HR tech investment plans to other people management and corporate strategies, helping you to lay out the business case.

However, keep it simple – if it’s longer than a page or two, you know no one is going to read it (and if a printed version actually requires binding then you’ve probably wasted your effort!)

3. More co-ordinated vendor management

With updates, upgrades, and the new products they want to sell you, your HR technology vendors and suppliers can have a sizable impact on your HR operations. A roadmap clearly shows your tech priorities, making it less likely that you will be diverted by the latest shiny software when it’s dangled in front of you.

However, don’t neglect to consult your vendor(s) as they will have their own roadmaps in the form of update/maintenance schedules. If you have a single vendor for all your systems then by all means partner with them when drawing up the roadmap; if you’re taking a multi-vendor route then just consult with each for the relevant information – either way, ownership of the roadmap stays with you.

Recommended Reading: HRMS Vendor Guide - An asset for your HR technology roadmap

How to create an HR tech roadmap

First of all, the format is irrelevant for an HR tech roadmap – whichever layout or visual representation works for your business is ideal for you. The key is in the questions you ask. Ask the right questions and the answers will give you all the input your roadmap needs...

1. What are the business goals and outcomes?

As with an HR investment or activity, your HRMS and other related technology should be aligned with what the organization aims to achieve or be. Shiny new features are only worth investing in if they further your goals in a measurable way.

2. What HR metrics will you use?

Speaking of ‘measurable’, how will know when your HR technology is successful? What impact do you expect it to have and how will you know? As a starter, consider employee turnover, retention, engagement levels, collaboration, diversity and inclusion, and the results of any employee surveys.

3. What HR technology supports these goals and metrics?

Research and understand the current HR technology landscape and market – know what’s out there, what it is designed to do, and how it can potentially support your aims.

4. Where are the gaps in your HR technology?

It’s always possible that your current HR tech meets your business needs, in which case your strategy and roadmap will focus on maintenance and sustainability... at least until your business needs, goals and priorities change. But if there is room for improvement (e.g. better integration of recruitment and onboarding software, or the need for a single organization-wide system following a merger, etc.) then this is where you identify what new or updated HR tech you’re missing.

5. What are your priority needs?

Having established your HR technology ‘wish list’, you need to prioritize. Naturally, the overall business goals will offer some guidance, but it’s also worth considering:

  • Which are the most pressing problems (most frequently encountered)?
  • What frustrates people/users the most?
  • Which new tech would have the greatest impact?

6. How can you future-proof your HR roadmap?

In addition to supporting current business goals and implementing new technologies, give some thought to how you maintain current and future performance. Your roadmap should include milestones or ‘stopovers’ for maintenance, updates, upgrades, and assessing the latest trends and future opportunities as they arise.

In other words, remember that your roadmap merely shows the best route as determined at the time – circumstances change, sometimes so do destination, so build in some flexibility and be ready to change direction when necessary.

HR technology is rarely cheap, especially in terms of the time and resources needed for successful implementation. A new HRMS or other software should be approached with the same rigor and due diligence as any other business investment and that’s where your HR technology roadmap comes in – allowing you to start the next stage of your HR tech journey with confidence.


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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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