Ignore Your SaaS Vendor’s Technology At Your Own Risk

Posted by: on Sep 5, 2010 | 4 Comments

I read the tweets coming from the Workday Technology Summit on August 23 and was surprised. A couple of the analysts seemed to suggest that Workday should stop talking about its SaaS Multi-Tenant technology approach and focus instead on the business value of the Workday application when they are talking to customers.  While that might be good advice for Workday, I hope the analysts are not advising customers who are looking to purchase SaaS solutions to focus only on the functionality of the application and not worry about the technology.  Potential customers should absolutely dig into all the nooks and crannies of a vendor’s technology.

Vendors are not to be trusted especially when it comes to HR data.  If you are a customer thinking of using a SaaS vendor for HCM/TM applications (especially core HR) you had better make sure that the Vendor is using technology that is proven and fully supportable.  Sometime after go-live when the SaaS application experiences an outage or data breach is not the time to discover the vendor’s servers are running Windows Server 2000 or the database is Oracle 8i or the “servers” are a rack of Psystar towers.  You might get compensated for the downtime but at that point you probably have lost confidence in the vendor.

Customers need to fully understand the technology used to power the SaaS application. Purchasing HR applications/software should always be a joint venture between HR and IT.  HR can focus on functionality and usability and IT can focus on technology and security.


  1. Dwane Lay
    September 8, 2010

    Well said. The issue is when no one in HR feel confident enough to question the vendor’s system. To many time we cede control to the vendor or our internal IT partners without understanding what really drives the machine.

    The future of HR lies in our ability to leverage technology and information. I think the best companies are starting to see that (if they haven’t already).

    • Michael Krupa
      September 11, 2010

      Dwane – Thanks for your comment. If HR and IT organization work together and play off each groups strengths then HR technology decisions would be made with more complete information.

  2. Trish McFarlane
    September 10, 2010

    You’re the 2nd person in as many weeks that I’ve heard say “vendors are not to be trusted” with HR data. Do you think that problems tend to be trending up and thus the warning? What would you recommend an on-the-ground HR professional do or read that can help us learn to be more savvy when it comes to asking the right questions of our vendors? Thanks for helping us with this Michael!

    • Michael Krupa
      September 11, 2010

      No I don’t think that problems are trending up BUT I do see that many HR technology decisions are made without asking all the relevant questions from a SaaS vendor about how EXACTLY they protect their customers data. If your company has a relationship with any of the analyst or strategy firms (Knowledge Infusion, Gartner, Forrester etc..) they should be able to provide some documents on this. IHRIM might also have some documents. Finally as more HR departments turn to SaaS based applications, SHRM should be stepping up to the plate and providing guidance on this. Last but not least, reach out via Social Media (like you are doing) to the HR Technology resources out there and ask questions and search blogs for any posts previously written about the topic in question.