As companies prepare for the economic recovery, many are poised to enter
2010 with renewed interest in improving their HR technology systems, processes
and organizational structures, according to experts at Watson Wyatt, a leading
global consulting firm.

“In the current economy, organizations will keep a watchful eye on their
spending as they analyze their investments in HR technology,” said Steve
Hitzeman, national leader for technology and administration solutions
consulting at Watson Wyatt. “Employers are likely to continue or even increase
their cost-savings initiatives by taking steps to globalize and streamline the
HR function, scrutinize their vendor relationships and strengthen their service

Watson Wyatt HR technology experts identify these emerging themes for 2010:

Scrutinizing vendor relationships and sourcing options. Employers
with vendor contracts that are up for renewal will evaluate whether they have
received optimal value from those relationships. For example, employers that
aren’t satisfied with their HR business process outsourcing might decide
whether to stay in their contracts next year, or revert to outsourcing to
multiple vendors with specialized services.

“Rather than place all of their eggs in one basket, many companies will
migrate to a blended, co-sourced service delivery model,” said Dan Vander Hey,
senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt.

As disenchantment with the time requirement and expense of platform hosting
and technology upgrades grows, Watson Wyatt experts also expect many employers
will continue to embrace software-as-a-service (SaaS) options. These options
help reduce costs by providing access to software via an external provider.

Globalizing the HR function. A growing number of multinational
organizations are expected to focus on standardizing their HR processes,
organizational structure and systems, such as payroll, across borders. 

“In an increasingly global workplace, employers will be challenged to strike
a balance between having consistent standards for their HR technology and
processes across the different countries they operate in, while not losing
sight of region-specific issues,” Hitzeman said.

Investing in a consumer-grade experience for workers. Companies will
grow more comfortable with Web-based, consumer-oriented applications that
convey HR information through interactive and self-service tools. Many will
look to technology to boost employee collaboration and lower costs by expanding
the use of social media or leveraging their portals.

“The recession spurred many employers to assess their technology
capabilities and priorities,” said Hitzeman. “In the coming year, tight budgets
and cautious spending will compel many companies to look for a strong business
case that justifies taking action.”

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