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It’s hard to believe that yet another year has come and gone. 2015 was a busy year for our team, especially dealing with all of the hype created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We completed more than 160 projects in 2015, with approximately one-third of those related to ACA reporting technology.

Our practice has also grown; we now have 16 full-time members working in cities across the country, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and San Diego. More and more employers are realizing the importance of HR technology and noticing the significant advances in HR tech over the last few years.

HR buyers are looking for a much more attractive user interface with their HR software systems, and HR tech vendors are starting to deliver on that. Our second generation buyers are looking to replace their aging HR software systems with those new versions – ones that will deliver the aesthetic with the functionality.

Another trend we’ve seen with HR buyers is the increased interest in Business Intelligence (BI) and data analytics tools. Employers are looking to collect and analyze the big data their systems are collecting and translate that data to help make decisions regarding long-term strategies.

“Approximately 91 percent of American adults have a cell phone ”

Approximately 91 percent of American adults have a cell phone , so it’s no surprise that mobile applications are increasingly becoming a top buying criteria for HR buyers. Mobile HR applications increase speed, productivity, convenience, accuracy and engagement – all key areas employers want to improve.

In trying to solve the talent problem, more robust talent management solutions are being desired by HR buyers. Buyers are looking for ways to automate and manage recruiting, learning, performance, compensation and succession planning. Talent Management has really picked up over the last few years. We’ve lost count of the number of vendors in the space!

We’ve also been seeing buyers leaning more towards all-in-one/integrated systems versus the best of breed solutions.

Below are a few of the big trends we noticed this past year:

ACA, ACA … and more ACA! 

With ACA employer reporting requirements due in 2016, the number of vendor selections, implementations and general ACA technology consulting has been through the roof. We have worked with a lot of HR vendors with ACA reporting functionalities and stand-alone third party ACA reporting tech vendors both offering solutions to employer clients. We are expecting ACA technology to still be a trend as employers might look at switching technology based on how their first 2016 reporting experience goes.

Increased number of full Human Resource Information System (HRIS) selections and implementations (versus just Benefits Administration or Payroll) 

Since our practice was started in 2012, the bread and butter has been selecting and implementing Benefits Administration systems; however, the past year we have seen a shift. Now, our team’s business is almost half Ben Admin-only and half full HRIS projects (excluding ACA projects). This seems to be in line with the industry, as more buyers are looking for a single, integrated solution.

Next generation buyers 

We are seeing less first generation buyers – those moving from a paper-based system to an online enrollment system. We have been seeing more second or third generation buyers – those switching or upgrading their current online enrollment system or looking for other HR technology systems like talent management.

More experienced buyers – importance on user interface 

“Buyers are looking for an attractive, easy-to navigate user interface ”

As we are working with more experienced second generation buyers, we are noticing that user interface is an important buying criteria. Buyers are looking for an attractive, easy-to navigate user interface as one of the top buying factors. Functionality like self-service and automation are also important drivers in selecting an HRIS system.

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Happy holidays and happy New Year from the HR Technology & Outsourcing and the Exchange Solution Practices!


What did you guys see this year? Was ACA a big deal to your employer? Who’s ready for 2016?