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10 questions to ask in an HR software demo

As delegates prepare for the CIPD’s HR Software Show at Olympia London, our Sales Manager Marc Greggains advises what questions to ask in order to get maximum insight from vendor demonstrations…

  1. How will the software help my [*insert problem here*]?

It sounds obvious, but too many Human Resources professionals settle for generic demos that suit the agenda of the sales professional, rather than addressing their own needs. This is reflective of the fact that many organisations need to adapt to suit the rigidity of HR systems. Only by asking business-specific questions can the HRSS delegate be sure that the software will be fluid enough to meet their individual requirements.

  1. Can you demonstrate how I configure the system to reflect our brand?

Linked to the above point is the need to evidence how quickly and easily the system can be configured. Buy-in from colleagues will be crucial but one of the easiest ways to achieve this is by the software looking as though it ‘belongs’ to the brand. At-a-glance dashboards are also popular features as they present a quick and easy overview of must-know data, but they should be customisable.

  1. Show me how to create an absence report

In truth, different HR professionals may request to see a report that focuses on a slightly different data set, but because absences remain a distinct problem for many UK businesses, this seems a logical place to start. Truly beneficial HR software should relieve industry professionals of time-intensive admin so what better way to test this than by watching how many clicks it takes to produce a report that will capture the attention of the board.

  1. What experience do you have in the [*insert sector here*]?

Whilst it could be argued that highly configurable software can be moulded to suit most organisations’ requirements, it is often beneficial to locate a vendor with sector-specific experience. This way, they may have already encountered – and overcome – challenges that the HR team faces on a daily basis.

  1. What if I’m not ready for all functionality from day one?

Many HR systems are modular to ensure businesses need only invest in the functionality they need, when they need it. This avoids overspending in the early stages of software usage, but enables the system to flex and grow in line with business needs.

  1. How will my investment be futureproofed?

No modern business stands still, so it is important that the software will evolve in line with organisational change. Savvy HR teams should seek the ability to add fields and create workflows, quickly and easily, without any vendor input or added cost, for maximum ROI.

  1. What is your approach to training?

Linked to this is the need for comprehensive training, access to a portal and efficient service desk when questions or problems arise and, ideally, complimentary training for new starters so that they’re fully equipped to use the system irrespective of their time with the business.

  1. How would my project be handled?

Whether the project represents a HR team’s first software investment or a migration to an alternative system, it is important to know who will be involved from the vendor’s perspective, how they will structure the programme of work, and how the process will be handled from order to implementation. An idea of lead times may also be crucial.

  1. Will the HRMS support us with GDPR compliance?

It’s been one of the most talked about topics of the past 12 months, and it has been so heavily referenced that – even though the legislation has only just been implemented – people are already tired of hearing about it. But, boring as the subject may be, GDPR compliance should not be mistakenly regarded as a given.

  1. Can I visit your HQ?

A HRMS is usually a long-term investment so it is important to assess the true qualities of the supplier, including the organisational culture, product roadmap and service infrastructure. Assess the answer to this question carefully – a vendor with nothing to hide will be more than welcoming.

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