The HCM Buying Process – Vendor Selection Strategy

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Recently, I wrote about the Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey, and how that survey helped me to get multi-million dollar funding for new HCM technology.  While I was writing that entry, it made me think of the next step of the HCM buying process: vendor selection.


In one of my previous roles, I was tasked with evaluating the current technology in place, then providing strategic direction of what to do with our existing HR technology – and how it would benefit our to-be designed HR Shared Services organization.


Once I could prove the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the firm was a rip-and-replace of old for new, I then set my focus on building out our requirements and the vendor selection strategy.


I’ve never been a fan of large RFPs that basically allow the vendor to tick boxes, or say YES to everything, my preference has always been around key business scenarios.



Testing the Features


I liken this to buying a car.  If I created a list of all the features I wanted my new car to have, I imagine 95%+ of cars on the market today would likely fit the bill – how does this help me? It doesn’t.

However, if I were to actually test drive the car, in my conditions, along the roads I drive, and in the style I drive, that process will certainly narrow the selection down.

So, why is it when buying software, we forget this common sense buying tactic?

Some Help


I’m going to make things really easy for the reader, below are links to Naomi Bloom’s Killer Scenario pages. I used a selection of these in the past, and it was quite fun to see vendors squirm when presented with some of these scenarios – it’s also an alarm bell you should hear go off if your vendor refuses to do this for you – again think car buying, would you buy a car when the salesman refused to allow you a test drive?

Naomi’s Killer Scenarios

Do your requirements gathering and check your existing processes in place.  If you have no processes mapped out, then you are running way too fast before you can walk!  Compare the killer scenarios here with some of your own, and make sure they make sense in your organization, there is no point asking your vendors to prove their tool works for a scenario you will never use.


Take the necessary time and kick some tires.

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