Investment in HR Technology Continues to Grow, Towers Watson Survey Finds

Successful organizations align enhancements to technology with changes to process and roles

ARLINGTON, Va.--()--Worldwide investment in corporate human resource (HR) technology continues to grow and is doing so at an exponential rate, according to the 2015 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey, conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson (NASDAQ: TW). The survey also found that despite overwhelming satisfaction with HR technology, a surprisingly large number of companies are still using paper to perform various HR tasks.

Nearly nine in 10 respondents (88%) said they plan to spend the same amount or more on HR technology and systems this year compared to last year. In addition, organizations are replacing their core HR management systems more frequently than ever before — every three to five years versus every five to seven years historically. The survey noted that 30% of respondents will replace their core HR systems this year — an all-time high, with Workday as the preferred selection.

“Modernizing core HR technology is emerging as the primary HR service delivery priority,” said Mike DiClaudio, global leader of Towers Watson’s HR Service Delivery practice. “While in the past, companies have mostly invested in secondary technology for talent, compensation and performance management, there has been a dramatic shift to investing in core HR systems. Many organizations are now looking at cloud-based platforms to replace traditional HR platforms. The changing environment will lead companies to take a closer look at their overall HR technology needs.”

The survey also revealed that employer interest continues to grow in the use of mobile technologies and HR portal technologies. More than six in 10 respondents (61%) plan to use mobile technologies for HR transactions this year, a sharp increase from last year (46%). The survey also indicated that two-thirds of respondents now have an HR portal in place, up from 60% last year.

Respondents reported a wide gap between the level of satisfaction with HR technology and the extent to which organizations still use paper to perform certain HR tasks. For example, while three in four respondents (74%) are satisfied with the technology they use for their performance management programs, more than one-fourth (28%) still use paper. Likewise, 79% of those organizations that use technology for global grading/job leveling and core compensation activities say the technology is effective, yet 42% and 47%, respectively, continue to use paper.

“It is somewhat surprising that so many organizations are still using so much paper. Given the robust technology solutions now available to HR departments, we expect the reliance on software and systems to increase while the use of paper will steadily decline over the next several years,” said DiClaudio.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Changing HR structures. Four in 10 respondents are planning to make changes to their HR structures either this year or next, versus 30% that indicated last year they planned to do so.
  • Shared services. A vast majority of respondents (85%) are meeting or exceeding expectations with HR shared services. Nearly nine in 10 inquiries are solved by self-service or HR shared services.
  • Payroll. Three in four respondents use a single payroll system inside their headquarters country; 78% have multiple payroll systems/vendors outside their home country.

About the Survey

The 18th annual HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey was conducted in January and February 2015. Respondents included HR and HRIT executives at 798 organizations from 37 countries. Half of the respondents are global organizations.

About Towers Watson

Towers Watson (NASDAQ: TW) is a leading global professional services company that helps organizations improve performance through effective people, risk and financial management. With 15,000 associates around the world, the company offers consulting, technology and solutions in the areas of benefits, talent management, rewards, and risk and capital management. Learn more at


Towers Watson
Ed Emerman, +1 609-275-5162


Towers Watson
Ed Emerman, +1 609-275-5162