10/16/13 9:35 AM Rebecca Whittenberger

13734932_sMany HR technologies are here to stay and aim to improve internal communication in every department they touch.

If you recently attended this year’s HR Technology Conference, you know firsthand the sweeping technology revolution transforming human resource departments and the management of both people and processes. No department is left unscathed.

Even if you didn’t attend the HR Tech Conference but work in HR, you may still have a pretty good idea of the wealth of technology solutions available that improve internal communication.

Examining “Tech Bytes”

This month’s issue of HR Magazine features a fun little technology section called Tech Bytes. This section breaks down the top HR trends analyzed by Towers Watson’s 2013 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey. These top trends include plans for adopting new technologies, analyzing HR procedures, and extending manager self-service.

If you are of the opinion that HR technology doesn’t directly impact your work so therefore it isn’t a big deal, you might reconsider when you see the following statistics.

In the category Adopting New Technology:

  • 29% of organizations plan to implement a new management system soon.
  • Among companies seeking a new system:
    • 35% are considering only SaaS solutions, which is almost three times more than those considering only on-premise solutions.
    • 88% of companies will consider SaaS to replace their current management systems.
    • 1 in 3 companies will ultimately implement a SaaS-based platform.

Members of the 2013 SHRM Technology and HR Management Expertise Panel are already seeing a major shift from on-premise applications to the cloud. In 2-3 years, these same experts expect that 66% of HR departments will host their technology in the cloud. (Live from SHRM 2013: The Top 10 Technology Trends HR Needs to Know)

Using Doorways, Gates, and Other Entrances

What are some of the HR applications resulting from this adoption of new technology? The increasing use of HR portals, a major trend, will ultimately improve internal communication. According to Tech Bytes, “more than half of organizations use portals, primarily to enable employee self-service but also to ensure compliance, communicate policy and increase collaboration within HR.”

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Some of the more popular portal features include:

  • HR knowledge base (60%)
  • Internal HR team sites (53%)
  • Onboarding for new employees (43%)
  • Web-based summary plan descriptions (34%)
  • HR case management (30%)

How do organizations get their employees to become repeat users of these features? Tech Bytes emphasizes that “almost half of organizations with portals keep their content fresh by updating it daily or weekly – a key to user adoption and satisfaction.”

Realizing that Information is On the Move

One of the biggest HR tech trends is the mobilization of information. Tech Bytes reports the following:

  • 36% of companies make HR applications accessible through mobile platforms.
  • 4 of 5 organizations utilizing mobile HR report satisfaction with their experience.

Where do we store this very helpful yet massive amount of mobile data and make sure that it’s secure? Good question. There aren’t enough filing cabinets in the world to hold all of the information technology is providing. The only way to go is up, which means storing your data in the “cloud.”

Sounds risky? Live from SHRM 2013 mentions another trending issue in HR tech: “assurance through evidence” that the cloud is secure. “Companies like ADP and even the federal government have utilized the cloud for years,” reports Live from SHRM 2013. “If it’s secure enough to store sensitive payroll and government information, it can do the same for your HR department.”

Choosing Between So Many Choices, With So Little Time

Although still categorized as “trends,” it appears that many of these HR technologies are here to stay and aim to improve internal communication in every HR department they touch. HR professionals, CEOs, and executive managers are realizing how imperative it is to stay ahead of the technological curve by implementing those technologies that best fit their organizations and their talent.

Want to learn more about the biggest trends in HR technology right now?

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Check out SHRM's HR Magazine here.