Creating the HR Digital Infrastructure of the Future

By Franco Girimonte and Amanda Newfield
November 29, 2022
Season 3, Episode 41

A discussion of HR technology and how it is driving change in HR operations, including insights from The Hackett Group’s HR Technology benchmarking and assessment efforts. With North American HR Executive Advisory Practice Leader Franco Girimonte and Senior Director, Executive HR Advisory Amanda Newfield.

Show Notes

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,” where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Franco Girimonte, HR Executive practice leader at The Hackett Group. Today, we’ll discuss creating the human resources (HR) digital infrastructure of the future. Franco is joined by guest Amanda Newfield, senior director at The Hackett Group.

To begin, Amanda explains the four major forces driving the changes we are seeing in HR technology. First, businesses themselves are driving changes by placing more importance on their people and more pressure on stakeholders. This calls for organization and new ways of working. Second, the workforce is driving change alongside the emergence of remote and hybrid working becoming more standard. New ways of experiencing work requires technology that can keep up with these changes. Furthermore, issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and employee experience have come to the forefront. Third is the tremendous growth of the technology itself, including expanded market offerings and quick cloud-based solutions. Finally, HR is driving a lot of change. The increased strategic operational advancement is causing HR to look for other ways to keep up the pace with demand. It has come into focus that while HR is tremendously overloaded with work, they are not receiving additional budgets or staffing to accommodate. This calls for investing in technology to replace these gaps.

Next, Amanda unpacks her perspective on the number of problems emanating from the HR architecture. Many of the HR departments she has observed approach their technology in silos. This often creates missed opportunities. This has impacted their ability to be smart from a strategic perspective about looking at the work within an organization and understanding how to pull different levers. The emerging software is designed to take a more integrated approach upon implementation.

Amanda shares her own research evaluating the effectiveness of current HR infrastructure. The first thing they have done from a research perspective is really look at the HR technology infrastructure from a modern digital lens. Then, it becomes less about its typical silos and more about the cross-process experience. Then, they are able to consider the perspective of customers regarding the technology. Additionally, they determine how to take the data gathered across all the different processes and turn it into useful analytics for HR. They took this approach by looking at the HR strategy and how technology enables that strategy across 60 areas.

Discussing the challenges seen in light of technological adoption, Amanda shares that many organizations do a great job of initial adoption efforts but forget about the ongoing adoption and change management needs of the organization. When we forget about preparing the organization, their adoption of the system starts to wane. Organizations should ensure they are continuing to communicate about the software, adopt continuing capabilities, and think ahead on how processes will change and adapt to new capabilities.

Amanda often sees organizations balk at the concept of process standardization. However, she believes that it is absolutely possible to achieve a global high-process standard. Organizations should challenge their current processes by looking at procedures. Value comes from digitization, so the worst thing someone can do is to become intimidated and give up on digitization totally. Without standardization, businesses cannot achieve automation. Amanda reveals that there is not a system out there which would address every single intricacy and requirements of a business. System standardization should be a goal, but investment in integration helps accomplish other goals. Where system standardization can’t be achieved, organizations should make sure their integrations are carrying the information where it needs to be.

Shifting to user experience, Amanda shares that HR needs to start thinking about their employees as a consumer. With all of this data digitization, the ultimate goal is gaining new insights. In light of the collection of HR data, it is important to be clear about your data governance processes. When we get to a place where we can democratize the data we’ve collected, employees will likely display better performance, engagement, retention and more.


  • 0:56 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Franco Girimonte.
  • 1:38 – What is driving the changes in HR technology?
  • 6:31 – What are problems in the HR architecture?
  • 9:06 – Evaluating the effectiveness of the current HR infrastructure.
  • 11:43 – The challenges of adopting new technology.
  • 15:07 – Process standardization is discussed.
  • 17:44 – System standardization and integration are discussed.
  • 19:28 – Prioritizing the user experience.
  • 21:14 – How companies are migrating the minefield of insights.
  • 23:17 – Thanks for listening to this episode!