It is an inevitable question you know is going to come up at some point when discussing HR software, “What other systems does it integrate with?” HR people are tired of having to duplicate data entry in multiple systems every time you have new hire, someone leaves or you need change some information. The classic scenario is a new hire. If you have no integrations and use multiple systems the new hire may need to be added to your HRIS, payroll provider, benefits provider, 401K, intranet, performance management system, learning management system and the list goes on.
The need for integration exists is because the full HRM/TM solutions don’t necessarily have best-in-class components. Their ATS may not have the social component you are looking for like Jobvite or their performance reviews may only support an annual process and not ongoing feedback like other newer systems. Inevitably, an organization ends up with some point solutions that they use for various HR functions. Now the key is figuring out how to integrate the point solutions with the system of record so that information gets shared between the systems.
Challenges to Integration
First and foremost the biggest challenge for HR people is finding vendors that actually want to integrate. Many vendors are not interested in integrating in the hope that customers will only use their platform for all their HRM/TM needs. A great way to retain customers is to ensure that your system is their only system of record.
The second is systems design. To have an open API you have to design your system in a way that lends it itself to being integrated easily with other systems. Until recently, systems were not necessarily designed with integration in mind. Most systems being built now are specifically built with open APIs.
The third is the sheer number of vendors constantly popping up across the HR systems spectrum. As a vendor you need to pick and choose who you want to integrate with, you can’t integrate with everyone. Vendors will choose to integrate with companies that they see as complimentary and matching their needs without being a threat to their ability to sell their own platform.
As with any software search you probably have a long list of things you are looking for. You may not get everything you want so it is also important to prioritize each item. Decide how important integration is to you and with which systems is integration integrally important. You can eliminate a number of vendors pretty easily if you decide that a specific integration is critical and they don’t support it.