Employees typically account for 40% of the cost of running any business, and HR software is perhaps your greatest way of achieving the best from those people.
However, choosing the right software package can be a complicated task. We look at what may suit you best depending on the size of your organisation, and list the UK’s best-known suppliers.
The biggest suppliers in the UK HR software market today are: SAP, Oracle, NorthgateArinso and Midland HR. In general, the HR packages offered by enterprise software vendors such as Oracle and SAP offer a higher level of integration than their standalone competitors. If you need to link HR data into financial, manufacturing or other back-office systems, then an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system may be more cost-effective – but this integration comes at a price.
Case study: Star and Oracle
For example, Star, a UK-based ISP (internet service provider), selected Oracle software to manage HR and performance management, since the software was already being used for finance, sales and customer service. “It means we have a unified platform for all business processes,” explains HR director Mina Kumari.
Tools for smaller organisations
Standalone HR software packages such as those offered by NorthgateArinso and Midland are often chosen by smaller organisations because they are less expensive and tend to be less complicated to install. They are popular where companies have less money to spend and may only have one location, or don’t need complicated self-service options.
Case study: Canterbury City Council
Certain organisations also have stronger experience in specific market sectors. This is important if you don’t want to waste money customising a package to your particular industry’s quirks. Canterbury City Council uses NorthgateArinso because of the company’s strong experience in the public sector, says Jim McDonald, director of corporate services with the council.
“We’re accessing the knowledge of an organisation that has a particular specialty in the public sector, which gives us great confidence that we are responding well to legislation changes or issues specific to local government,” he says.
Key suppliers in the UK HR software market
With over 60 years of experience, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) offers a wide range of human resource, payroll, time and attendance, and employment screening solutions from a single source. ADP’s easy-to-use solutions for employers provide value to companies of all types and sizes.
Agresso is an international developer and distributor of integrated business information management systems, including HR and payroll, workflow and reporting tools.
From organisational charting and reporting to restructuring, mergers and succession planning, Aquire provides easy-to-use tools that increase information visibility, speed up decision making and streamline HR activities.
A division of Bond International Software, Bond TeamSpirit is a provider of HR and payroll software across a range of modules.
Carval’s HR Unity Software offers solutions for HR, recruitment and training administration, payroll processing, time and attendance management, access control and employee self-service. These can be integrated, and all modules are also standalone solutions.
Cascade is a browser-based HR system with a range of modules, including HR, payroll, workflow, learning and development, recruitment, online recruitment and timesheets, as well as self-service.
Ceridian offers a range of integrated HR services and software including payroll, flexible benefits, talent acquisition and employee assistance programmes.
Headquartered in the UK, Cezanne HR leads the way in providing modern, cost-effective Cloud HR software for UK and international businesses. Quick to implement and designed to be configured by the customer, Cezanne HR’s modular approach allows organisations to select the functionality they need, and fit it to their way of working.
COA Solutions’ key product is Smart Business Suite, which combines core HR a payroll systems with financial management, procurement, document management and business intelligence solutions.
Crown Computing supplies workforce administration and management solutions to medium-to-large organisations in both the private and public sectors. Clients include BAE Systems, Salvesen Logistics, ITN and several large local authorities.
In addition to core HR and payroll modules, Frontier Software offers iontergaretd tools to manage recruitment and e-recruitment, learning and development, time and attendance and employee and manager self-service.
Midland has a strong market presence in the UK, and the company’s Trent HR package is a best-seller in local government and education, although it is strongest in the mid-market, with most customers having around 250 employees.
The product is designed so that people running HR can install the package without a lot of external support. NorthgateArinso says more than half of customers are from the public sector, because it is able to customise its software easily for unusual employers like universities and local authorities.
The current market leader, particularly following the acquisition of rival PeopleSoft in 2006. Oracle customers in the UK include the NHS and British Airways, and most customers are large enterprises, although Oracle offers a version of its software specifically for smaller businesses.
Patersons – Global HR & Software
Patersons’ online International HR and Payroll product is tailorable, flexible and integrates easily with existing systems. It is delivered as a single system under a single global contract.
The company combines HR technology with managed HR administration services. Its HR systems and services include HR management/administration, recruitment, performance management, learning and development, exit interviews and payroll.
Pyramid is a software house that specialises in the development of integrated payroll and HR solutions for medium and large companies. Pyramid is fully integrated, but with full security and auditing features to help you keep control of your data. It also integrates with Microsoft Office and all major report writers.
Sage HR & Payroll
Sage HR & Payroll is a new division of Sage UK, delivering integrated HR and payroll software and outsource services to organisations of all structures and sizes, while specialising in the needs of larger organisations and those with bespoke requirements. Its SnowdropKCS range of HR software solutions help manage an entire employee lifecycle.
Has a reputation for being slow and complex to install, but the company points out that since many of its customers install SAP as part of a major change programme, challenges are to be expected. Certainly, most SAP customers are large enterprises – current clients include Barclays, HBOS and Revenue & Customs.
Select Software UK
Select Software is an independent software house. The latest addition to the product range is Select HR Web Edition, based on the latest Microsoft.NET technology. Fully customisable, featuring a drag and drop workflow designer, this product is aimed at all sizes of company.
Simply Personnel provides automated HR and personnel management solutions to small, medium and large organisations from all industry sectors.
StepStone provides on-demand software and services helps with talent management across the entire employee lifecycle from attraction and recruitment, through to deployment, retention and optimisation of talent.
Vizual supplies comprehensive HR software solutions for complete HR management. Its portfolio includes HR.net Lite, HR.net Express, HR.net Professional and HR.net Enterprise, developed for larger organisations with more complex HR software needs, such as multi-language capability.
Youmanage incorporates a comprehensive suite of modules designed to support line managers and HR professionals through all of the key aspects of a typical employee lifecycle. Youmanage enables managers to be more self-sufficient and more effective – reducing HR support costs, improving employee engagement and helping organsations comply with relevant legislation.