New technology is touching nearly every aspect of the human resources industry, simplifying everything from benefits enrollment to record-keeping to performance management software.


HR professionals now have the ability to use technology to improve all their processes, often in a way that eases the process for everyone involved.


As a result, spending on tech-related HR solutions is expected to rise in 2016.  Employee Benefit News surveyed benefits decision-makers, who say their organizations are planning to spend more than ever on technology-related products. The survey found “38 percent of respondents plan to increase their spending on technology next year, with 44 percent having already increased their spending from 2014 to 2015,” Andrea Davis writes.


“Much of that spending is directed toward new employee portals and front-end systems to better integrate and use various benefits functionalities (health, retirement, voluntary benefits and more).” “Forty-seven percent say they plan to increase spending next year on benefits administration systems,” Davis writes, “and 36 percent plan to increase spending on employee benefit portals.”


One reason HR departments are increasing tech spending is an increased availability of useful tools on both the large and small scale, Mike Nesper writes for a different Employee Benefit News story. “Ten to 15 years ago…only large groups were focused on technology,” Nesper writes, quoting Mark Rieder, a senior vice president at NFP. “Today, they’re all very much interested in becoming more efficient. Technology has become affordable enough to [deploy] regardless of size.”


In all of these systems, going mobile is a common thread. It’s the future of HR tech, according to Stacey Harris, Sierra-Cedar’s vice president of research and analytics, in a Human Resources Executive Online story. “Mobile HR increased by 92 percent this past year, from 13 percent average mobile-enabled HR processes in 2014 to 25 percent this year,” Harris said. “We’re anticipating a 47-percent average for 2016, so that’s another 90-plus-percent jump.”


Mobile allows for better self-service, and is the epitome of employee-focused tech, according to Harris. “(It’s) having a huge impact on how much the HR technology is being adopted and used,” Harris said. “We haven’t seen huge increases in self-service before now, but now we are, including an increased focus on shared-service centers, HR portals and help-desk solutions.”


Another common theme, Josh Bersin writes for Deloitte, is that these new technologies are employee-focused. “This shift—away from HR and toward the employee as the user—has had a huge impact on the market. Vendors that focus only on back-office functionality and which don’t have any compelling mobile apps are likely to lose ground,” Bersin writes. “Many companies are ripping out decades of investment in last-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, replacing them with tools that can directly empower managers and employees.”