With so many HR software vendors, launching on what seems to be a near-daily basis, many HR technology buyers are at a loss for how to manage their HR technology portfolios.

There are two main schools of thought: best-in-suite and best-in-class.

Best-in-suite: an HR technology platform that provides many capabilities from a single vendor. For example, buying an HRIS, ATS, LMS, and employee survey tool from a single provider. Example vendors Namely, Workday, Zoho

Best-in-class: a portfolio of leading tools purchased from an array of vendors. For example, using an HRIS, ATS, and LMS from separate vendors.

Each approach comes with its own benefits and shortcomings. Best-in-suite makes it easier to integrate data across capabilities and manage vendors. However, “do-it-all” platforms may not do it all well. Meanwhile, the best-in-class approach allows HR tech buyers to take advantage of the best tools on the market. Unfortunately, data integration and vendor management can be a challenge.

It is for this reason that many companies opt for a hybrid HR technology architecture. A hybrid architecture is one where there is one or just a few platforms that serve provide most of the required capabilities and leading tools provide the rest of the required capabilities.

One Fortune 500 people analytics leader I spoke with dismissed the idea that there will ever be a best-in-suite platform that is good enough to provide all of the HR technology needed for an enterprise.

Another people analytics practitioner explained to me that she has seen organizations go through cycles of expansion and consolidation of their HR technology portfolios.

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