Tips for getting the most out of the CIPD HR software show

Are you looking for the best HR software for your business?

When considering whether to ditch the disconnected spreadsheets in favour of a joined up HR software system, or even switch from one vendor to another, the CIPD HR Software Show is a great place to start. Especially since it’s free to attend!

But, even niche expos like the HR Software Show, can be bit overwhelming, especially if you plan to take advantage of the learning sessions, and visit the vendor stands.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your time out of the office:

Know What You’re Looking For

The HR software industry is going through a massive change at the moment thanks to the rise of cost-effective, connected Cloud and mobile technologies. Some HR software suppliers have already seized the opportunity to invest in redeveloping their solutions for the new digital world – others have preferred to stick with their older platforms, but added a web front end.

Older systems usually have more features, while newer systems are often cheaper to run and offer more potential for future growth. That means you not only need to consider the HR features you are looking for, but how secure you feel about your choice of technology platform and supplier.

If you’re not sure which is best for your organisation, check out this webinar where leading independent IT consultant and Cloud expert Dr Richard Sykes talks about the latest technologies, and how they impact HR.

Have a Check List

Naturally, it’s important that the system has the features you are looking for, and is appropriate to your size of company and the budget you have available.

Taking a few minutes before the event to equip yourself with a list of your key requirements, so you can check them off as you talk to the different suppliers make it much simpler for you to make comparisons after the event, so you know who you want to talk to again.

The show is the perfect opportunity to quiz vendors about key aspects of their solution and service that you won’t always find on their websites. Good questions to ask include:What are the licence or subscription costs- And how are they calculated-You may also want to cover questions around device compatibility (is it designed for PCs, Macs, tablets and smart phones), and security, such as where your HR data is hosted, how access to data is controlled, whether you can make use of single sign on, dual authentication or other approaches your IT team may insist on.

Avoid the Crowds

By the way… have you registered for the event yet? If you’ve already done so, your badge should be posted to you this week, giving you fast-track entry to beat the queues.

In our experience, the show can get busy very quickly. Getting there when the doors open (9:30am, both days) is a great way to get some alone time with the vendors—rather than going from crowded stand to crowded stand and not reaping the full benefit of the day. Unless you are a football fan, it may make sense to come along on the second day, which is when England and Wales go head to head.
It also pays to be early for the learning sessions, unless you prefer to stand!

Plan Your Timecipd-hr-software-show-2016-cezanne-hr

Navigating your way through London Olympia can be pretty exhausting at times—especially when you have the Recruitment Exhibition happening side-by-side with the HR Software Show, and showcase presentation areas on opposite sides (you can download the floorplan in advance here).

Prepare your day in advance by deciding which vendors you plan to visit, and which free learning sessions you’d like to attend. There are 36 sessions to choose from over two days—ranging in topic from technology platforms and the benefits of the Cloud, to performance management and recruitment.

If you are looking to learn from the experiences of others, why not join the session with DP World on day two about selecting and implementing a Cloud HR system for their European operations. They’ll be sharing the drivers behind their technology choices, the implementation approach, and the benefits they’ve experienced. The session will be relevant to any organisation looking to take advantage of the Cloud.

Free learning sessions: HR Software Show and Recruitment Exhibition

If you are looking for a quick demo at the show, some of the exhibitors let you reserve slots in advance, either through the CIPD website, or direct. You can book your appointment with Cezanne HR here.

Come Prepared

As conversations with different supplier can quickly merge into one, it make sense to have pen, notebook, and somewhere to keep all your newly collected product brochures, so you can keep track of first impressions and the information you gathered. Also, seating areas are in short supply, so shoes that you can walk in all day are key—and don’t forget your fitbit! There always seems to be more walking and standing involved than one would think.

The coffee and lunch options within the building can often become over-crowded in the middle of the day. If it becomes too much, why not pop across the road to one of the local coffee shops and cafes in the area.

Side note: if you’re gluten intolerant (like I am), near-by Pizza Express and Crussh serve plenty of GF options, and there’s a Costa further down Hammersmith Road that often has a GF sandwich and/or wrap available.

Can’t spend the day out of the office? If you aren’t able to make it to the HR Software Show, then an online demo is always a good alternative. Most vendors are happy to take you through a personalised tour of their system over the internet, so you don’t even have to leave your office.

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