The 4 Most Common Employer Goals for Benefits Administration (Cont.)

Posted by on March 26, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Welcome back from spring break! Earlier this week, I shared with you the first two of four common goals employers have when looking for benefits administration systems. You can read about the first two goals (the desire for one system and the ability to customize) here if you missed them. I know you are all dying to know the other two, so I won’t beat around the bush any longer. Here they are!

Common Goal #3 – Ease of use for employees

– This has gotten a lot better recently. Benefitfocus really challenged the industry with their great user experience four years ago. By now, a lot of other vendors have caught up to them – but since this is a huge part of Benefitfocus’ identity in the market, they continue to prioritize resources for design and technology. Even the most traditional firms are catching the ease-of-use bandwagon. The current ADP’s Workforce Now and Vantage products have improved their user interface considerably from previous versions where enrollment events were confusing or intimidating for employees. They’ve also invested heavily into UX (User Experience) with a swanky and gritty Innovation Lab in New York’s Silicon Alley. The programmers and other hipsters are transforming ADP’s HR Tech for mobile and the Millennial consumer at a breakneck speed.

– To help you evaluate a vendor’s efforts, the use of video, avatars, and decision support are three areas where vendors are differentiating from each other. For example, if voluntary products are part of your offering, pay attention to how those last three innovation areas are able to support them. Will decision support cover both core benefits and voluntary?

computer

Common Goal #4 – Customer service

– This has been the most frustrating aspect of the Benefits Administration space. Service has continued to be negotiated out of our industry (credit for this fantastic insight and turn of phrase goes to our friend, the infamous Rhonda Marcucci). In addition, a lot of the victims in the merger and acquisition war have been some of the best servicers in our industry (SHPS, Aliquant, Workscape, etc.). Alas, good soldiers all – too bad that overly good service makes it difficult for a business model to succeed! That being said, we’ve seen some vendors aggressively address this with either fees at risk or even more innovative methods. We have one national vendor that agreed to offer all Lockton clients a segmented implementation and service team to improve our customers’ consistency of service. Other vendors are also very responsive to Lockton’s agitation as we have a sizeable book of business with each.

– We feel the best vendors are willing to put Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place to help their clients rest easy after contracts are signed. Not everyone is able to do this, but it’s certainly a way to objectify a subjective process. Speaking of subjective, there are even a couple vendors who do away with many of the technically measured SLAs and just focus on customer satisfaction. It’s an up or down vote and it controls at least 2% of fees paid. That certainly won’t bankrupt anyone, but it does show a willingness to put customers’ satisfaction above profit margin and that is a beautiful sight in our book. Give us a holler if you’d like to have some recommendations in this area of the vendor landscape as it changes frequently!

How do these goals differ from your organization’s when looking at replacing your benefits administration system? Did we channel your inner frustrations – or do you have some unique needs not captured here? Please share by commenting below. Please follow me on Twitter @HRTechKaiser for more insights and the latest news in everything HR Techie!

The 4 Most Common Employer Goals for Benefits Administration

Posted by on March 24, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Have you ever felt like you’re alone? That no one could possibly understand you and your needs? Well lay down on Dr. Kaiser’s couch and let’s explore those HR Tech concerns. That’s better, your breathing has calmed. Tissue? Would you be surprised to find out that there are others just like you out there? HR and benefits leaders fed up with their systems and the confusing marketplace of alternatives? You are not alone!

therapist

Ok, so this conversation is imaginary, but truth be told, we hear very common themes from the employers we’re helping infrastructure their business. After a recent engagement with a mid-market client wanting a replacement to their Benefits Administration system, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the more common employer desires for their next Benefits Administration solution. We see these same goals listed for many of the employer clients we work with.

Common Goal #1 – Employer desires one system to run all HRIS functions, if possible

– While we always start our clients off by looking at single source solutions to minimize frustrating Vendor Management duties, often we recommend our employer clients to break off portions of their infrastructure with high complexity or importance to their identity as an employer to “point” solutions that specialize in that area. Benefits Administration is one of the most frequent pieces addressed this way. Others include ACA Compliance, Time and Attendance, and Talent Management.

  • Most of the stand-alone Benefits Administration solutions are usually excellent at working with a separate payroll/HR vendor. That being said, our implementation oversight teams often have to advocate for these vendors to prioritize the connectivity feeds to payroll and HR.

– Sometimes your existing HR, Payroll, or Time technology vendors are able to provide Benefits Administration services as well. For example, to pick the most common vendor in the marketplace, ADP’s WorkforceNow suite is an all-in-one application that’s doing rather well in some of our clients’ evaluations. It has better Benefits Administration functionality than most other all-in-one solutions out there and most telling to our buyers: up until recently their benefits module was strong enough to be sold stand-alone without payroll. Very few other vendors can say that about their benefits modules in the mid-market. It will offer less than the stand-alone Benefits Administration vendor solutions, but will be the most integrated offering.

– Carrier connectivity can be a problem if the vendor isn’t heavily versed in the benefits domain as is the case with many of the payroll vendors who only scratch the surface of benefits complexity. As a great attempt at a proof statement, Paychex offers free carrier feeds to their BeneTrac clients to assure them they understand and can handle the connectivity needs. While it may sound smoother than it actually turns out to be, it’s a great marketing technique.

Common Goal #2 – Ability to customize

–  This is a scary word for our teams as most of the dissatisfaction we’ve seen with vendor solutions after the contract has been signed originates from customers’ customizations or ongoing maintenance of those customizations. There are times customizations make sense – but they are very rare indeed – and expectations need to be crystal clear of the ongoing maintenance. We much prefer finding a solution for our employers where “configuration” is possible within the toolset/options included in the standard product (flipping switches vs. writing code).

– The higher-end solutions can accommodate a lot of plan and communication complexity within their solutions without requiring professional services work. Vendors in this space include bswift, BusinesSolver and Empyrean among others. Of course, each will have different areas of strength and a well-researched Business Requirements Document (BRD) can save an employer buyer a whole heap of heartache!

 

Stay tuned for the other two most common employer goals, which we will share later this week. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on these goals? Are they pretty similar to those of your organization?

Businessolver Vision 2015 Recap

Posted by on March 11, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

A few weeks ago one of our own, Paula,  attended Businessolver’s Vision 2015 in San Diego.  She has provided a quick recap and some of her thoughts on the seminar from keynote speaker Maria Ferrante-Schepis.

vision 2015

First, a few quick stats from Businessolver:

  • 73% of employees do not understand ACA because it’s “too complicated to understand”
  • The average enrollment takes 19 minutes
  • The average cost for employee benefits is $4,000/annually for the employee and $19,000/annually for the employer
  • The need for Decision Support, or as Businessolver calls it, Recommendation Engines, is driven by:
    • Confusion in purchasing plans by 86% of the population
    • 38% are not confident they are making the right choice
    • 42% do not use what they purchase effectively

The Keynote Speaker was Maria Ferrante-Schepis, and she knows how to engage a room with her passion for insurance.  She has a book out there, “Flirting with the Uninterested”, which became a top seller for Insurance on Amazon.

Insurance is an important construct of our society.  Maria is of the opinion we need to talk about insurance in new ways.  There’s so much distrust surrounding insurance; our job is to help close the gap between the industry’s intentions and the consumer perceptions.  She states innovation will drive the change in perception, and innovation itself is an important competency in all industries.  The essential need of business today, facing unprecedented change, is to reimagine business.  We see this in our space and it is still surprising how many of our vendors are moving along as if nothing big is underfoot.  We see this in the resellers setting up shop in Costco and Walgreens – there are those out there attempting to change how health insurance is purchased.

Innovation is the intersection of:

  1. Insight
  2. Idea
  3. Experience

If someone only holds two of these they are inventing, not innovating.  Survival will be dictated by the ability to innovate and do something different to make the business/product offering stand out.  The weakest link for innovation is insight; this is where data analytics are playing a bigger role by the day.  Status quo is going to be fatal.

Maria referenced what she calls a Napster Moment – “When someone who has no business being in your business reinvents your business (and puts you out of business).”  Another great quote from the day was, “You can’t read the label sitting inside the jar!”  This is what is generally behind creative disruption, one certainly hopes.

The market is shifting to a need for authenticity because insurance has a negative emotion/experience.  It is only purchased for when bad things happen, so no one wants to think about it.  If you get in an accident and don’t have insurance, you’ll go broke.  If you don’t have health insurance, you will pay extra taxes. The list goes on.

To gain authenticity (that “you’ll know it when you see it” authenticity), several key components are needed.  Insurance has a reputation of distrust and we are largely associated with this group as brokers.  In reality, we are just innocent nerds attempting to connect people with their benefits, yet we are still considered part of the “gang” at times.  There are six steps to building authenticity, which I think we can use to look for in the vendors we work alongside with:

  • Be Easy to Understand – use simple, everyday language
  • Be Down to Earth – real, human, and approachable
  • Be Memorable – interesting and refreshing
  • Be Positive – warm and comforting
  • Be Credible – trustworthy and unbiased, have the employee/employer’s best interest in mind
  • Be Relevant – understand and know me, speak to me

The opposite of these – and something we see all too frequently – is confusion, impracticality, negative experiences, unreliability, irrelevance, and many vendors are just plain forgettable.

Just as we struggle with making technology fun, those on the insurance side are working to make it sexy.   Maria advocates cleaning up the symptoms which impede relevance in the insurance industry:

  1. Out-dated communication models
  2. A face-to-face requirement to enroll
  3. The commission model
  4. Need for human intervention
  5. Invasiveness
  6. Traditional levers and risks
  7. Insurance Companies themselves

Across the country people are working to separate the symptoms from the real problem of relevance.  Education is going to be key. There’s a drive to make people understand how insurance is a sharing model. Maria showed a video that asserts, with insurance, we can move to a Collaborative Consumption, and this is happening with some crowd-sourcing sites specific to covering health costs.  I was not aware of the Medical-Sharing Ministries out there who are, at the moment, exempt from ACA.  She even showed a site in Germany where people could pool money for healthcare costs, a set premium per individual.  When someone needs to use the funds all members have to vote to determine if the money should be released.  I think there are going to be some crazy, innovative options coming out in the next couple of years.  Some will be laughable, and some may just gain traction and surprise us all.

Now I’m not advocating for my health costs to be part of any Kickstarter Campaign; however, the tides are shifting due to the ever changing regulations and evolving millennial workforce.  There is a smart rat out there who is going to make insurance fun somehow.  I, for one, am interested in seeing how they do it and I will bet on few things, it will be online, it will be slick, it will rely on technology, and we will get to play in the space.

ACA reporting: No rest for the weary HR technologist

Posted by on March 5, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

EBA

I am so honored to have contributed an article to Employee Benefit Advisor magazine earlier this week. If you haven’t yet, you should check it out. It’s a quick update on how HR technology plays a role in the Affordable Care Act reporting requirements.

You awake with a start. At first, you don’t know where you are. Your heart is pounding and you are running behind — in fact — way late. That final exam is today and you haven’t studied. In fact, you haven’t been to one class in more than a month. You thought you had dropped the course, but now you realize your grade and your graduation depend upon this test for which you are totally unprepared… Read the full article here.

I hope you were already aware of all of the information in this article, but if not, I hope it calls  you to action with regards to your ACA reporting needs! The time to start addressing the ACA requirements within your company is now! How has your company started collecting the data needed for ACA compliance? Please share below.

What’s the Color of Your Private Exchange?

Posted by on March 3, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Posted on behalf of Mike Smith, Director of Exchange Solutions, Lockton Benefit Group

Last Thursday night, my wife asked me a pretty random question. “Hey Smitty (my nickname is so ingrained, even my wife calls me Smitty…), what color is this dress?”  I glanced over at her iPhone and replied, “White and gold…” to which our youngest daughter said, “No it’s not.  It’s black and blue.” Turns out our nieces created a Facebook post asking people about the color of this particular dress.  I dismissed it as some kind of internet hoax right up there with imprisoned foreign ambassadors looking to move vast sums of money to America…if you could only supply your bank info, instant riches await.  Thinking nothing more of it, I went to bed.

thedress

Well, the next morning, this “dress controversy” was all over the news, social media and even my morning Boston sports radio program.  It kind of freaked me out when Pam came into my office later in the morning and said, “Now the dress is black and blue!” I still only saw a white and gold dress on her phone.  She was fascinated with this dress sensation and researched what was causing the color to change.  Apparently it depends on the circumstances under which you view the dress, light sources, time of day, media source, height, weight, what you had for breakfast.  But I digress.

And that got me thinking about, of course, private exchanges.

As I meet with clients, Lockton Associates, analysts, competitors and partners across the country, I am inevitably asked, “So, what’s your definition of a private exchange?” And my standard reply is “That depends.” Some define a private exchange as a vibrant marketplace of expanded plans and choices for employees, powered by decision support technology and underlying defined contribution.  Others say it’s a metallic structure of plans (platinum, gold, silver and bronze) from competing carriers, underwritten on a fully insured basis.  Still others say a private exchange is just ben admin on steroids and sometimes “free” with the inclusion of voluntary benefits. What about the inclusion of a public strategy for the non-benefits eligible/seasonal population or retirees, or as an alternative to COBRA? How about mobile and wellness? There are even very liberal (small “L”) interpretations stating that every employer is an exchange unto themselves, since they offer choice (“take it or leave it is still a choice”), some method of decision support (think benefits comparisons), define their contributions through the annual renewal/budget cycles, and administer benefits either manually, outsourced or through some technology combination.

grumpy baby

So who’s right?  Well, that depends.  We have seen clients be successful with a strict defined contribution, broader choice, and powerful decision support.  Sometimes this was due to budget pressures in their business and sometimes it was the desire to get employees more engaged as consumers.  Another client was able to leverage a private exchange through carrier and technology innovations to meet head-on some unique challenges posed by the Affordable Care Act and by such, actually grow their business. Many clients are using an integrated hybrid solution of private and public exchanges to provide a seamless benefits program throughout an employee’s career and in transition to retirement or end of employment.

So the dependency is really what a particular client is looking to accomplish: their HR strategies, their ability to enable that strategy and what is holding them back.  There is no one-size-fits-all for clients. Employers often look to provide financial/physical stability for their employees and their families, as well as look to be efficient and productive as businesses. Benefits help with these goals. And sometimes private exchanges can help employers meet these goals. But there is more than one way to accomplish these objectives. I applaud our partners and even competitors who are building and innovating in this arena — but for Lockton, we will always think about the client first, rather than our internal business needs, products, investments, investors or shareholders. Being privately held has its advantages.

We consult with clients in the emerging private exchange market space through education, analysis, vetting and then implementation.  Some clients look to turn-key solutions (including competitors’), others to our preferred partners, and still others implement a solution customized to the needs of their businesses and employees.  We demand transparency, disclosure and a spirit of partnership in these exchange solutions.  Clients still have many responsibilities (fiduciary, compliance, payroll, etc.) even after going with a private exchange.  As the exchange market grows, we see the need for independent advice growing in an era of product/solution-based sales pitches, presentations, webcasts and news releases.

Many people are confused by the various approaches.  I think the right answer is dependent upon returning to the questions stemming from employers’ HR strategies, goals and objectives, balanced against other (sometimes competing) business requirements.  In my opinion, brokers and consultants investing in their capacity to provide advice to map these strategies, goals and objectives to actionable solutions will see opportunities in this emerging market.  And all of that depends on where they are investing for the future.

By the way, the dress is still white and gold.

Position Control 101

Posted by on February 26, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Imagine you are headed to a baseball game on a warm, sunny spring day. You approach your city’s stadium with your ticket in hand, showing exactly what section and seat you’ve purchased.  You have no trouble entering the stadium and finding your particular seat.  You may have brought a seat cushion to alter your seat to be more comfortable, but the basic characteristics of the seat (fold-down, red, hard plastic) are the same no matter who sits in it.  After the game, you leave the seat as-is for the next person attending the next game.  If a person doesn’t have a ticket for the baseball game, they will not be allowed into the stadium until a ticket agent confirms that a seat is open and the fan has purchased it.

stadium seats

Position control is a lot like that stadium and seat.  It’s a method of setting up seats (positions) in a stadium (your company) that have specific characteristics like hard plastic (HR division), red (job title), and fold-down (salary range).  In a position control system, each position has its own unique position number or ID and is separate from those employees currently holding that position.  In most cases, a seat (position) has to exist before a person can be brought into the organization.

Information about the position is stored separately from any employee information to allow for ease of movement.  One of the most important reasons a company will implement position control is to be able to strictly manage the organization structure, including financial budgeting and headcount.  Because the position structure is set up one time (and then updated with additional positions as they are approved), a company can more easily track exactly how many current employees and new hires there should be in a given fiscal year.  The alternative to a position control system would be a job-based system, which tracks only the people in the jobs.

Position control systems work best for organizations that are fairly static, where jobs and job descriptions are mostly fixed, the organization is hierarchically structured, and budget by position and FTE often well in advance of filling positions.  A prime example of a business type that uses position control is the hospital industry.

Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a position control method or system.

ADVANTAGES

  • Consistency in application of job information
  • Allows control and management of the budget
  • Reduces risk of legal exposure due to inconsistent application of job information
  • Job association to position allows organizations to run reports and analytics around position categories for workforce planning
  • Job association to position reduces the risk of missing key positions in reporting
  • Mass changes to employees’ positions (i.e., multiple people in one position) can be done fairly easily
  • Allows more accurate reporting and provides better management information about the positions and vacancies in the organization
  • Forces a discipline around the process of creating a position; ensures that all of the approvals and information are collected before entering a person onto the system or moving an employee to a position
  • When a new employee is hired and position management has been set up, only the employee data and the position number that the person will hold needs to be entered

DISADVANTAGES

  • May stifle operating approach if the organization is unstructured and / or continually creating new roles
  • May be viewed as non-value-adding by line managers
  • Requires a high level of acceptance and commitment to processes from HR and line management
  • If it is not managed well, it will hamper effectiveness of HR and cause loss of respect and trust from managers
  • Anomalies at the position or employee level can become difficult to manage if they are numerous
  • Matrix supervision cannot be managed with position management; if a supervisor needs to manage people outside of the positions they are designated on, it is a security change
  • Position creep is common:  positions approved and created to ‘get someone in’ and clean-up of the old / inactive position is delayed
  • Position management is complicated and few HR software packages have it;  those that have it don’t necessarily do it well—there is often a disconnect between recruiting and position management
  • Organizations must determine how employees on LTD, employees in transition out of the organization, or non-employees will be managed. Should they have a different position?

Position control is a functionality available with many HR, Payroll technology vendors.  Prior to determining that a position control system is needed, it’s a good idea to have a dialog with the appropriate parties in finance, payroll, and HR to discuss the system objectives.  If a position control system is desired, it’s helpful to see demonstrations of position control functionality or speak with vendors whose systems have it.  It takes some work, but if you do the research and understand the concept, implementation will go much smoother.

How do you currently track information in your organization? Do you have any experience with position control?

Tips for Purchasing New Technology

Posted by on February 24, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Purchasing Tips Whitepaper

If your company is in need of new technology for HR, payroll, benefits administration, or time and attendance tracking, you’ll want to check out the newest whitepaper from Lockton Benefit Group’s HR Technology and Outsourcing Practice. Here’s a sneak peak!

Purchasing any new HR technology system is a big decision for your company. From the cost and available resources to system fit, there are a lot of considerations. Here are a few tips:

  • Do your homework.
  • Set expectations.
  • Designate a project owner.
  • Be flexible.
  • Have a plan.

Check out the full whitepaper here on Lockton.com.

 

 

IRS Releases Final ACA Reporting Forms

Posted by on February 12, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

A lot has been going on the past few weeks: the Anthem data breach followed by the phishing scam of those same victims and then the IRS delivered the final instructions for ACA reporting forms. If you weren’t aware of the employer requirements for the Affordable Care Act, the release of the final reporting forms confirms that employers will be required to collect a massive amount of data.

For employers, the IRS released the final versions of Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and instructions for completing them. For insurers, the IRS also released final versions of Forms 1094-B and 1095-B with instructions to report minimum essential coverage.

What does this mean for employers?

Employers should start talking with their HRIS vendors now to determine what data is already being collected or if they will need to seek out an ACA technology system to facilitate the collection of the data required for the 1094-C and 1095-C forms.

1094-c

In our experience, each HRIS vendor may have some capabilities to help their clients with ACA compliance.  However, not many vendors can help support a client with all of the required areas of compliance.  In addition, each employer must find out if they are capturing the required information, (i.e., Offer of Coverage Codes, Safe Harbor Codes, names and social security numbers for each covered individual, leave/absence management information, etc.) which is not likely captured in current technology solutions.  Employers must find out if this data will need to be manually entered into a system, form, or software, how they will do this, and how they will ensure the integrity of this data.

The HR Technology & Outsourcing Practice has outlined a list of questions each employer should be asking their current HR technology vendors with regards to their readiness to aggregate the information required to populate and distribute the forms, as well as help with other areas of ACA compliance. Depending upon their response, a stand-alone ACA tracking solution may serve a client well.

Questions each Employer should ask their current HRIS Vendors
How can you help me with ACA compliance related to:

  1. Hours tracking and measurement?
  2. Determination of eligible employees?
  3. Initial Notice of Exchange?
  4. Affordability?
  5. How are you ensuring I am capturing required data?
  6. Aggregating data from my disparate HRIS systems (HR, Payroll, Benefits Administration and Leave Administration)?
  7. Populating the required IRS forms?
  8. Distributing forms?
  9. Exchange Notification log and response?
  10. Storing aggregated data for seven years?
  11.  Audit reconciliation?
  12. Mechanics:  Are you pulling data from my other vendors or am I sending to it you? Is data pushed to me or am I running reports? Am I sending the forms or are you?

How do you feel about the final forms release? How do you feel about the reporting requirements? If you have any questions about ACA reporting requirements and how technology can help, let us know!

And Another Data Breach

Posted by on February 5, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Health Insurer Anthem Reports Massive Data Breach

The nation’s second largest health insurers, Anthem Inc., is the lastest to fall victim to hackers. Anthem reports that as many as 80 million current and former customers have had their account information stolen in a breach last week. Information such as names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, medical IDs, and employment data were affected; however, no medical or credit card information was taken. (Read CEO Joseph Swedish’s statement here.)

anthemAnthem is currently working with the FBI and Mandiant, the computer security company hired to evaluate Anthem systems, to further investigate the issue. This hack is “the largest health care breach to date,” said Vitor De Souza, a spokesman for Mandiant.

The breach does not come under HIPAA rules because no actual medical information appears to have been stolen.  (HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was created in 1996 and governs the confidentiality and security of medical information.)

Anthem has said it will notify – by mail and, where possible, email – everyone whose personal information was stored on the compromised database.

We’ve talked about how important system security is before and even predicted that there would be more data breaches this year. Remember, it’s not if, but when, you will be hacked. What are you doing to prepare and protect your personal information? How have you been affected by this latest breach?

How the Future of HR Technology Buying is Changing

Posted by on January 27, 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Last week, our team had the opportunity to gather together during our semi-annual confab. It was a long, but fun and educational week. In between our BBQ binges and Whirly Ball tournaments we had the opportunity to discuss some of the HR Technology trends and vendors with an industry friend, Rhonda Marcucci. Rhonda heads up Gruppo Marcucci, a consulting firm out of Chicago. Our discussions had me thinking a lot about where this industry is heading from both the vendor and consultant sides, but also the employer/consumer side.

lincolnWith today’s technology advances and the trend toward “digital”, the buying experience is changing. Buyers have so much more information so easily available to them. With the click of a button, thousands of pieces of data are at your fingertips. With all of that information, it makes sense that consumers now use on average 28 different vehicles to research their large purchases. For instance, search “Benefits Administration” on Google and you get about 45,800,000 results! I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “quality over quantity” before. The same applies to this excess of information. Yes, just because you read it on the internet, doesn’t mean it is fact.

For example, a few years ago we had a client that sent our their own RFP for a benefits administration system and requested printed materials. They went into a bit of shock when they received huge boxes of brochures and binders. How could they possibly get through all of that data and still manage to do their day job? They would be responsible for all that data in making the right decision. And that’s when they called us…

temple inland

The commercial vendors must be able to make their websites engaging. In order to stand out from all of the other competition (and there is a lot in the tech space due to the low entry barrier), your website should have a slick looking, personalized interface consumers can interact with.  The battle is between the tension to engagingly provide information about value proposition, while at the same time protect the secret sauce that gives them a competitive edge. The desire for engagement goes beyond just the website though. Consumers are demanding that engagement throughout the usage of the product.

In companies, most large purchasing decisions are made by teams, which means tech companies have to appeal to more than one person within a consuming company. And while appealing to a group, they also have to note that there are many other vendors that offer a very similar service offering. What makes them stand out from those other vendors? It comes down to a culture fit. We have been seeing this trend a lot lately too: the final decision for a new HR Tech vendor coming down to two comparable vendors and the deciding factor ends up being the culture match of the vendor and the client.

What are you noticing as a buyer or seller of technology? Are there any other trends you’ve noticed?