Introducing the HCM Systems StarChart: The Definitive Guide for Institutions Seeking Their Best-Fit Solutions

Principal Analyst

Top of Mind: Introducing the HCM Systems StarChart
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Higher education institutions are considering how to better meet modern workforce needs as they strive to attract and retain excellent faculty and staff. In Tambellini Group’s daily work with higher education institutions, we are seeing that they increasingly prioritize human resources functions in their strategies for improving institutional effectiveness. To ensure their human resources teams can implement best practice processes, many institutions are exploring paths for modernizing their core human capital management (HCM) systems.

Tambellini research shows that over 80 percent of US higher education institutions have not yet invested in a SaaS-architected HCM solution. Most institutions’ existing solutions are decades old and are either on-premises or hosted/managed deployments. Meanwhile, institutions face challenges in maintaining their existing HCM systems with understaffed IT teams, outdated hardware that is expensive and time-consuming to upgrade, and increased security vulnerabilities.

Our expert research analysts have created the first publicly available preview of the Tambellini StarChart™: 2023 Platform Human Capital Management Systems to support institutions in vetting modern HCM solutions. As colleges and universities map their paths to core administrative system modernization, Tambellini StarCharts are valuable tools for evaluating each vendor solution on usability and innovation criteria. Usability data points include institutional usability surveys, functional depth, and breadth, segment presence, and demonstrated scalability. Innovation data points benchmark each solution’s ability to address unique functional and operational requirements and the vendor’s ability to sustain innovation at scale.

Why Score Vendors Based on Innovation?

Tambellini assesses vendor product innovation because cloud-based platforms are designed to continuously add new innovative features and adapt to the rapidly changing higher education landscape. On Tambellini’s HCM StarChart, the solution vendors with the most favorable placements on the innovation scale are incorporating modern technologies like generative AI and machine learning into their solutions.

For example, as vendors incorporate generative AI capabilities into their HCM systems, they promise to secure institutional data while harnessing it to streamline operational activities like building documentation for faculty and staff onboarding, developing surveys, and creating job postings. HCM systems are also beginning to leverage machine learning to predict future upskilling and hiring requirements based on an institution’s resources and workforce skills information. Providing institutions with better visibility into how existing resources relate to potential skills gaps can help them better support their faculty and staff in proactive professional development while minimizing skills shortages over time.

It is crucial to keep in mind that the StarChart isn’t designed to provide overall rankings of vendor solutions because there are no “right” or “wrong” positions on either the innovation or usability axis. For instance, solutions with the most favorable placements on the usability and innovation scales may be cost-prohibitive for some institutions. Furthermore, institutions with less complexity and fewer resources may not need the latest innovative functionality in their systems to successfully meet their community’s needs. Larger colleges and universities with more complex needs can benefit more from systems placed higher on the innovation scale that offer sophisticated extensibility, AI functionality, and integrations to link with their existing solutions.

Selection Criteria for Inclusion in the HCM Systems StarChart

The systems included in the 2023 Platform HCM Systems StarChart met the following criteria: 

  • The system is part of a platform that includes a finance solution.
  • Vendors are actively selling the system in the North American market in 2023.
  • At least one North American institution selected the system in the last 12 months.

There are six systems from five vendors that met the standards listed above, including two systems from Ellucian:

The StarChart provides an initial guide to help institutions narrow their viable system options based on the most critical factors for their specific needs. Choosing the best-fit system will require a more in-depth, personalized assessment of how the available options will impact your institution’s people, processes, and infrastructure. Reach out to a Tambellini analyst to learn how to best leverage the Tambellini StarChart ™: 2023 Platform Human Capital Management Systems for your institution’s unique circumstances, resources, and goals. Tambellini’s HCM StarChart joins our recently published StarCharts covering finance systems and student systems.

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Principal Analyst
Dave Kieffer spearheads research focused on finance, and HCM applications, data management and other critical higher education technologies at Tambellini Group. He brings more than 30 years of creating, implementing, and managing enterprise-class applications in higher education. His experience includes all levels of applications development and management in higher education. Among other things, he has been responsible for ERP implementations, mobile, and web development, application architecture and integration technologies.

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