The difference between an IT and an HR service delivery platform
by Jolene Nicotina March 07 2018
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You did it. You made the case for HR to finally get the technology to speed up service delivery and improve employee experience. You have budget approval and you’re ready to present your short list. During your committee meeting, your CIO suggests, “Why don’t we just use the same software we use for the IT help desk? It can be configured for HR case management. And we rather not add another vendor.” Admittedly, you hadn’t considered that option. You stop and think, “Well, it is a good point. Why can’t we just use IT’s platform instead of an HR Service Delivery platform?”
Many IT service providers have expanded their product offerings into different markets, such as customer service or HR service. This is appealing for IT leaders who typically favor having few providers. But, it prohibits HR’s ability to have best-of-breed technology.
The nature of IT queries is different from that of HR. Troubleshooting an IT issue usually calls for repeatable tasks with black-and-white resolutions. Employee-related issues aren’t so cut-and-dry. Processes and policies vary by employee type, location, role, etc. Therefore, responses require more personalization and documentation (e.g., an employee leave of absence or workplace injury). HR needs technology that’s designed to address the intricacies of its specific use cases.
2. HR benefits from a vendor with domain expertise
Because they interact with HR day-in, day-out, HR Service Delivery providers understand the HR landscape better than IT providers do. And, HR Service Delivery providers often have past practitioners on staff. This allows them to offer guidance on how to best configure technology to reach business goals, which HR departments may not always be so sure of.
In addition, HR Service Delivery providers invest all research and development into HR, so their platforms always incorporate the latest technology and address HR’s most pressing concerns.
3. HR needs technology it can configure without IT
Due to changing compliance requirements and business needs, HR often needs to update processes and forms. But, they don’t always have their own developers or technical specialists. That’s why HR benefits from technology that lets them easily update workflows and forms without having to go through IT—especially if HR is to be more agile.
4. HR has special security requirements
The cases that flow through HR require more security and privacy than what IT is used to handling (e.g., social security numbers, bank account details, protected health information, etc.). Compliance laws, especially the impending GDPR, demand HR take certain measures to protect employee and candidate data. Security and compliance requirements are even more nuanced for unionized workforces and certain industries, such as healthcare. HR’s technology must be designed with individual privacy in mind, which hasn’t had to be a main concern for IT service providers.
5. HR platforms are designed for people, not tickets
The user experience (UX) of an HR platform is built around HR users (HR service representatives, people managers, business partners) and individual employees. The design caters to typical employee scenarios. For example, if an employee needs to access a relocation policy and then start the relocation process, they are able to get information and take action from the same place. IT service platforms were originally built as ticketing systems. Therefore, their design is influenced by a focus on how a case moves through the system, rather than how an employee interacts with the system. Better UX leads to faster user adoption, which ultimately translates to greater efficiency overall.
Still stumped as to which route to take? Documenting your top use cases and requirements along with what IT resources, if any, are available for implementation and maintenance can help you understand if a generic enterprise solution can work for you or if an HR Service Delivery platform is a better investment. For a thorough evaluation of the HR Service Delivery platform landscape, see what Gartner has to say:
Jolene Nicotina is the Content Marketing Manager for North America at PeopleDoc, Inc. She works on making sure HR professionals have all the latest information they need related to HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Jolene worked in marketing communications for the healthcare technology industry.