image of tablet with KeyInterval Research report on screen for The Optimal Tech Stack

Last week, Key Interval Research released its third major report this year. The Optimal HR Tech Stack, is the first ever deep look at the technologies that compose the operating environment for today’s HR Practitioners. Rather than speculating about best practices, we wanted to understand what people actually do.

At Key Interval Research, we are looking for standard practices. We think that knowing where people actually are is a precursor to theories about what and where to improve. It’s hard to imagine what it actually means when so called best practices are divorced from the way that people get things done.

We asked 785 HR Practitioners about the software they used in each of thirteen distinct silos or niches. Did they have the tools? Did they outsource the function? If they didn’t have one did they want one? How often did they replace the tool? Did they build the capability internally? Could they recall their vendor’s name? Was it a part of a suite?

The answers are very interesting and very useful for both vendors and practitioners.

For vendors, the data offers a clear point of view on what’s possible. With a little work and the company’s customer acquisition metrics, it’s now easy to create a defensible budget with realistic forecasts of results. The data quantifies aspects of the market that should have been quantified years ago.

For practitioners, the data makes it possible to understand the relative newness and importance of specific silo technologies. When only 20% of your same size peers own the tool and only 30% of those who don’t own the tool wish they did, you can be sure you are on the leading edge. While that’s exactly where the highest returns are, it’s also where the highest risk is. Since a good quantification of the risk/return ratio is an essential element of the software acquisition process, the data is invaluable. And, it’s unavailable elsewhere.

We looked carefully at thirteen different areas:

  • Onboarding: organize, track, monitor, manage, and report on the process of bringing a new person into the organization
  • Recruiting: organize, track, monitor, manage, and report on the process of acquiring new people
  • Learning: organize, track, monitor, manage, deliver, and report on training
  • Performance Management: organize, track, monitor, manage, and report on the assignment and execution of goals
  • Payroll: organize, track, monitor, manage, deliver, and report on the various aspects of delivering paychecks to employee
  • Benefits Administration: organize, track, monitor, manage, and report on employee benefits at both organizational individual levels
  • Time and Attendance: organize, track, monitor, manage, and report on attendance, time worked, arrival and departure times
  • HRIS: organize, track, monitor, manage, and report on the organization’s people
  • HR Analytics: analyze, report and predict business outcomes utilizing HR Data
  • Compensation Management: validate and administer the pricing of job categories
  • Wellness Management: organize, monitor and report on the activities within Wellness programs
  • Total Rewards (Recognition): supplement formal compensation programs with short-term recognition and motivational incentives
  • Succession Management: plan for and manage changes in critical roles

For each area, we provide data and analysis on:

  • Reputation
  • Market Adoption (Penetration) by Company Size
  • Buy Cycle (Time to Replacement)
  • Whether the purchase is a part of a larger suite
  • Desirability (of those who don’t have it, who wants it)
  • Vendor Name Recall
  • Likelihood that a solution was built internally
  • Likelihood that the function is outsourced
  • Current market trends and behavior

All thirteen of the silos are ranked in each of the above areas giving vendors and practitioners an easy way to consider what’s next.

With 785 responses, this is one of the largest studies of its type. No other firm offers this depth of analysis of current marketplace behavior in HR Technology.

At $1,995, it’s a fantastic bargain. The report is 100 pages of robust market analysis rooted in large sample size. If you want your investors (whether venture capital or the local CHRO) to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, look no further.