Searching for a new technology solution to support your HR, payroll, and workforce management goals can be daunting. For some organizations their legacy technology may not be meeting their needs but for many other organizations, their current technology provider doesn’t provide the partnership they need to truly succeed and achieve their goals.
In fact, Kelton Research has found that the biggest reason why HR leaders regretted selecting their current solution provider was because of poor partnership. And nearly two-thirds are unhappy with their current provider’s partnership.
These dynamics are changing how organizations evaluate HR technology solutions — now organizations understand that the software you purchase is only one part of the equation. The partnership you have with your vendor before, during, and after purchase is critically important — especially when it comes to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions.
This prioritization of the service that goes with the solutions we invest in has led to many HR teams thinking about their solution providers as falling into one of two groups:
- Vendors: Companies that strictly provide technology
- Partners: Companies that provide technology as well as a great customer experience that builds meaningful, lasting relationships
So how can you tell what type of solution provider you're interacting with? In this first post, we'll look at the various touch points of the beginning of your experience — from purchase to implementation to go-live — as a customer to understand how vendors and true partners differ at each step. Stay tuned for our second post as well, where we'll discuss the different key touch points of your ongoing experience as a customer.
When you're buying a new solution
Your experience starts when evaluating, selecting, and purchasing a solution. During this phase, you and solution providers start to understand the solutions they offer and how they build relationships with their customers.
Vendors highlight their product features and capabilities and may highlight how they’re better than other products. And vendors may also offer you a great deal on their solution, but you may find a number of hidden fees within their contracts or on invoices after the fact.
On the other hand, partners understand your goals and needs and tailor demos to showing how their solution can add value to your organization and solve your specific problems. And come purchase time, partners are transparent about all costs and potential fees — so your organization isn’t surprised when the first invoice arrives.
Here's what you should be asking when evaluating HR solutions to bring out these differences:
- How has your solution delivered value to customers with similar needs and goals to ours?
- What other costs and fees are not captured in this proposal?
When you're building a foundation
After purchasing your new solution, you and your solution provider will begin the implementation process. This phase of your experience is mission critical and will greatly impact the future success of your solution.
Vendors may have a standard approach to implementation but deploy a solution with little guidance and lack the broader picture of your goals and needs, as well as the goals and needs of your people. Their process may require a lot of administrative time and effort from their customers — from collecting data and configuring your solution to your needs to testing your environment.
Partners, however, implement a consultative solution that leverages their knowledge of your unique goals and needs as well as their knowledge of best practices gained through their experience. Partners also understand that the implementation process can be overwhelming and time-consuming for their customers who also have day jobs to do, so they have invested in tools to make your experience easier and more seamless by extracting data from legacy solutions for you. They'll often provide a best practice-based configuration for you to further adjust to your needs, as well as offering tech-enabled testing options.
As you dig into discussions of what building out your solution would look like, there are a few additional questions you should ask:
- What is your implementation philosophy and methodology?
- How will you help us realize a faster time to value?
- What investments have you made to ease the time and effort required from our team during implementation?
As you go through your first year
Your first few months after go-live with your new solution can be both exciting and stressful. During this phase, you’re building your confidence in your new solution and working across your organization to increase user adoption.
During this time, vendors are quick to get you through implementation. This means that they may decide your implementation is complete and transfer you to support with little extra guidance. Or they may recommend that you to purchase additional service hours if you need further technical assistance with your solution.
Partners instead take the time to ease your transition from implementation to support to make sure you're confident in your new solution and first year is smooth. They provide your technical support resources, all the training and enablement you need, and support your rollout of your new solution to your broader organization.
To get a clear picture of how an HR technology provider will help you make your first year a success, you can ask — you guessed it — a few more specific questions:
- What happens after our implementation is complete?
- How do you support us after go-live as we transition to long-term support?
- What happens if we need to fine-tune parts of our solution after go-live?
Conclusion: Partnership ensures HR technology success
The beginning of your relationship with a technology provider has significant impact on your organization’s ability to achieve your goals. Understanding how vendors and partners are different can help you select the best solution for your organization. If you're interested in seeing some best practice standards around the kinds of relationships you should be looking to build around your HR technology, we invite you to learn more about how UKG supports our customers and creates meaningful, lifelong partnerships.