The opportunities for HR departments to benefit from technology have never been greater. There are myriad vendors for any technology need an HR department may have. However, there is a downside to this level of choice. To orchestrate the flow of data between applications is difficult, like managing a team of people who all speak different languages, but there are solutions to make life easier.
Integration Can Be Challenging
To orchestrate the flow of data between applications is difficult, like managing a team of people who all speak different languages, but there are solutions to make life easier.
The idea of integrating HR applications doesn’t tend to make people excited. So when your vendor tells you about their API, and they make integration sound easy, it can be tempting to blindly follow along. The idea that, simply by using their API, you can have an applicant tracking system communicating easily with your recruiting and employee on-boarding applications is certainly appealing.
Integration, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds. For most people, it’s a painful process. Specialized technical skills are required for integration work. To successfully integrate requires extensive knowledge of programming and the nuances of SOAP, WSDL, REST, and other alphabet soup technologies.
On top of all that expertise, you also need to be an HR domain expert or you may end up building something riddled with inconsistencies and functional gaps.
Where Are the Integration Experts?
There was a time when HR departments had a dedicated technology expert on staff. This practice has all but disappeared. You can always try to build relations with the corporate IT team and ask for assistance, but that can have its issues.
Most IT teams tend to avoid HR integration projects, preferring to work on cutting-edge projects that generate revenue for the company. HR can be regarded as little more than a cost center to them, and is often pushed to the bottom of the priority list.
With persistence, someone from IT may well step up, but it’s likely to be an eager rookie with limited technical and HR domain experience.
Newcomers tend to focus on details, disregarding the big picture, especially when designing an integration solution. Whatever tools and technologies they know will be the ones they use, resulting in an inconsistent mess of integrations that are complex to maintain and have divergent operational requirements.
When the time comes for the IT resource to move on, your integrations will become IT orphans. Nobody will know what they do or want to take responsibility for them. Adapting the many integrations to support the next version of your vendor’s API can be very difficult. You might be unable to upgrade one or more of your HR applications due to unforeseen API incompatibilities.
A Simpler Solution
As bleak as this outcome may sound, it is not inevitable. There is a simpler solution—partner with a company that specializes in HR technology integrations. Unless you or a member of your IT team wishes to become an expert in vendor APIs, a partnership is an effective way of solving the integration problem.
Even the creators of HR applications face integration headaches. Application ROI is reduced by a need for the client to take on complex integration projects. Making integration simpler benefits both the client and the vendor.
Whether you are an enterprise or an application vendor, there are exceptional benefits to partnering with an HR integration specialist. Doing so allows the team to focus on continual improvement without the added stress of creating, operating, and monitoring HR application integrations.