Most HR Departments Lagging Behind In Integrating Technology, Survey Reveals

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine  

Oct. 9 --The majority of human resources departments have only partially integrated the technology available to them with their HR processes, a survey of HR professionals reveals.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the 380 HR professionals responding to a survey conducted in July by cloud-based HR solution provider SilkRoad said they “had some level of HR integration,” but two-thirds said “their organizations' HR functions were still only partially automated, with spreadsheets used for some activities, such as storing employee profiles,” the Chicago-based company said in a survey report released Oct. 7.

Recruiting and onboarding were the functions most frequently integrated--that is, they were “connected organizational processes designed to attract, manage, advance, engage and retain employees,” according to SilkRoad's definition--with 18 percent of respondents saying they had done so, while about 13 percent said they had integrated a full range of functions, including onboarding, performance, learning, succession and workforce planning.

While only 27 percent of respondents said they could access their company's HR data through mobile devices, the reason doesn't seem to be that HR pros are averse to using new technology; for example, 57 percent said they are planning to use social media as part of their HR strategy.

When asked to describe the problems lack of full technology integration caused them, more than half of the HR professionals cited “lack of consistent workflow and process” (59 percent), “lack of critical data and analytics” (59 percent), redundant work (56 percent) and lack of communication (52 percent).

As for the buzz word of the moment, “big data,” just 19 percent of respondents said they planned to include it in their HR strategy for the coming year.

The report SilkRoad issued deplored the incompleteness of HR integration, arguing that “only when talent management applications share data will professionals have the information they need to support workforce planning and better business decision-making.”

HR integration can be complicated, however, because companies often use software from multiple vendors, “and getting those systems to talk can be very difficult,” Tom Boyle, director of product marketing at SilkRoad, told Bloomberg BNA in an Oct. 9 e-mail. “Each vendor typically has a different process and stores data differently, so bringing those systems together can be tough,” he said.

Another problem is that at many companies, different departments have responsibility for different pieces of data HR may want to integrate, Boyle added.

He recommended buying “an integrated suite to account for all HR processes,” or if that's not possible, asking each provider to design its software interfaces “so that disparate systems can easily 'talk’ and the data within them can be shared.”


To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at