How Has HR Technology Developed?

How Has HR Technology Developed?
How Has HR Technology Developed?

The story of HR technology is a rapidly moving and changing adventure. While HR has always been an important part of an organization’s functionality, the improvements and changes in technology have increased its relevance. The fact is that it’s not just the technology that’s changing, but also the whole of HR. This, in turn, is transforming how a business operates and the evolution of HR technology seems to only be starting.

The changing nature of HR technology

How has technology changed in terms of HR? The first real implementations of HR technology focused on centralized systems that helped the department deal with basic functions such as compliance and payroll management. There were certain record-keeping programs but not much of it was integrated or multi-purpose. There was software aimed for specific tasks and its uses were rather rigid.

Towards the end of the 1990s and early 2000s, technology started to improve in terms of integration. More software became comprehensive and the uses started to broaden. The technology was used to introduce and integrate HR into other enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This meant that uses of HR technology widened and the new technologies started supporting the departments in things like recruiting and training. The first performance management systems launched and HR became a lot more involved in how it operated. Talent management systems emerged and digitization took hold of the industry.

By 2010, HR technology had turned its attention on the cloud. Old core systems of record-keeping and data tracking had become obsolete and cloud solutions offered a modern take on the whole thing. HR data tracking became more widespread, integration took hold and systems started using machine learning and AI technologies to boost the department’s functionality. This has been a turning point and turned the whole industry into a more sophisticated operation. These developments have also resulted in a more employee-focused use of HR technology. Whilst it used to be that only the HR personnel interacted with software, now it’s often the employee that is utilizing the products. For example, modern small business payroll software often has the employee imputing the data rather than the HR or accountancy team. This has put a lot of pressure in ensuring HR software is user-friendly, something which is at the heart of choosing the right software to use.

New leaders in HR technology

In terms of who provides HR technologies and to whom, there have been two major shifts in the story. From the start, HR technology was mainly something for big companies to use. Technology, in general, was rather expensive and hard to access and that’s why HR departments adopted it when they were big enough to do so. However, as technology has become cheaper and more accessible, more small businesses are implementing it in their operations. What’s more, the cloud has helped make HR functions more real-time based. Information is instant and its updated instantly – giving HR personnel a lot more tools in terms of gathering data and using it to boost performance. All of this has leveled the playing field in terms of who benefits from technology. HR technology is no longer for the big companies but even the smallest of companies are able to reap its benefits.

The other major shift has been in who develops these technologies. Expertise nowadays comes from big technology and small business hubs like the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. Localized HR technologies are important because of the sophistication of HR technology and its implementation. Software from the region where businesses operate can often respond to small business needs better. So if you’re a small business in Dubai, you’ll want to find payroll software in Dubai to ensure you comply with all the regulations.

Improved adoption rates

Overall, the story of HR tech has seen it become a more complex and important part of business operations and efficiency. According to studies, the adoption of HR technologies is seen as an important part of improving the organization. It is something that can help boost employee satisfaction and talent acquisition, leading to more effective workforce and better delivery of business objectives. In the end, the continued development of HR technologies will result in better service and happier workforce.

About the author


Tom Bernes

Tom Bernes is the Editorial Director at The Next Hint Inc.

Prior to joining The Next Hint Inc, Tom had a hand in a number of online and print publications, including as chief copy editor and Government Technology Magazine as managing editor. He also did a stint in Sydney as group editor of RBI Australia's manufacturing group, which is when he also developed an affinity (a love, really) for cricket.

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