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Sierra-Cedar – 2018-19 HR Systems Survey – APAC Edition

July 4, 2019
By marketing peoplestrong
Sierra-Cedar – 2018-19 HR Systems Survey – APAC Edition

For the past 3 years, I have been fortunate to know Stacey Harris, Vice President Sierra Cedar. I have been lucky to contribute my 2 cents to the 22 years long HR Systems Survey. When I look at the survey report I focus on the Asia Pacific in general and India in particular. The survey offers deep insights and rich data every year. Its an invaluable source of HR Systems information for any HR technology professional. The survey offers insights for both vendors and buyers of HR technology.

I did my first webinar with Stacey on 30th May 2019 focused on the Asia Pacific Edition. Here I present some key findings from the Asia Pacific edition.

HCM Application Blueprint

The revised and updated HCM Application blueprint by Sierra-Cedar is a great tool for most HR Technology professionals. Using the structured approach indicated by this tool, you can hold meaningful and insightful conversations within and outside your organization.

It is not as easy as it looks. Most of these conversations need to cross-functional collaboration and would need you to understand various moving parts within the HR organization. It would need you to look at your HR Systems strategy and Enterprise Integration strategy.

The core of the HCM application blueprint consists of 3 foundational elements namely, Strategy, Culture, and Data Governance. These elements indicate the diversity of skills and talents that are required in today’s complex enterprise environment to make any HR Technology implementation a success.

APAC Story

This year’s survey showed Asia Pacific organizations more aware of these aspects within the HCM Application Blueprint. More Asia Pacific organizations indicated the presence of an HR Systems Strategy and Enterprise Integration Strategy than EMEA and North America.

Asia Pacific organizations are 1.8 times more likely to increase their HR Technology spending than North America. This high HR Technology spending can be linked to the region’s growth potential. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Regional Economic Outlook report published in May 2018 claims that Asia is expected to grow by 5.5% in 2018. This will account for nearly two-thirds of global growth. Recently published World Bank report expects India to grow at 7.5% in 2019-20, making it the fastest growing economy in Asia and the world.

The Growth Impact

The high growth rates of the region coupled with high availability of working age population mean the HR Technology agenda in the Asia Pacific takes a little different route than the rest of the world.

The first implication is this region can leapfrog the HR Technology evolution and straight jump to mobile HR and SaaS applications. The survey indicates that Asia Pacific is on an average 1.5 times more likely to move to Mobile HR than EMEA and North America. Many Asia Pacific organizations are likely to move directly to the cloud environment, having completed skipped the on-premise HR technology solutions. This is an opportunity for organizations to deliver higher value to their business via an integrated solution as they don’t have to worry about legacy systems.

The Asia Pacific organizations are 2 times more likely to have a younger workforce than European and North American organizations. This younger workforce helps them adapt to mobile first HR strategy easily, while also helping create a culture of change management. The survey indicates, focus on change management in HR technology implementations can give 19% higher business outcomes.

This combination of the younger workforce, leapfrog of system implementation and culture of change management, presents a unique combination in Asia Pacific organizations. Companies in this region hence can think about their HR Technology in a lot more strategic manner than any other region. The survey indicates that the Asia Pacific is more focused on influencing workforce business decisions and informing business strategy as compared to other geographies.

The growing Asia Pacific market will present opportunities for all types of HR Technology solutions. 80% of Asia Pacific organizations have already adopted Core HRMS and related applications. While only 45% and 30% have respectively adopted Talent management and HR analytics related applications.

Importance of Adoption

For organizations building sustainable HR Technology systems, strategic and environmental transformations are necessary to meet both workforce and business needs. Measuring the adoption of HR technology solutions post-implementation is a simple indicator of its success. Higher adoption of HR Technology by its intended users means organizations can benefit from analytical capabilities.

Higher adoption is a great enabler for HR to start adding value to the business and deliver insights and foresight based on organizational data and user behavior. However only 10% of organizations today track adoption in any way.

Organizations making the effort to measure their HR Technology adoption reap the benefits in improved outcomes and are aligned with 10% higher Talent, HR, and Business Outcomes—a very simple behavior change that can lead to dramatic improvements.

Changing Role of HR

HR Technology is now a critical and important factor to deliver value through HR. It is not an option anymore. HR must learn to leverage technology to drive process efficiencies while delivering higher order activities, especially via analytics and insights.

Traditional roles like recruiting are now fundamentally altered and use of HR technology in recruiting has only gone up in the last decade. The recruiter today does not only have to be adept at using multiple electronic sources of candidate information, but she should also be comfortable using various ATS and CRM solutions available in the market.

Talent management and HR Analytics are newer roles within HR which are currently largely enabled by technology. HR professionals must increasingly become conversant with topics like data security, network security, and IT risk assessment. The skill sets demanded from an HR professional today are very diverse. The traditional roles of HR admin and HR generalist including the HR business partner are on a decline.


Asia Pacific region presents a great opportunity for HR technology buyers and sellers alike. This region is at the cusp of digital transformation. Many Asia Pacific businesses are transforming their traditional business models with digital ones. HR technology can certainly leverage the momentum in this region.

HR Technology solutions that are mobile first, have an integrated experience like consumer-grade technology and offer deep insights to drive business results are most likely to succeed in this market.

On the other hand, companies that keep the triad of Culture, Strategy and Data Governance in balance will see the greatest benefits from its HR Technology implementation.

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