Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped hundreds of HR departments choose the right HCM software so they can engage employees and drive talent development.

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ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is a human capital management solution for companies with more than 50 employees. The core capabilities of the solution include human resources management, payroll, benefits, talent management, compliance, time and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 238 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Kronos Workforce Ready

Workforce Ready by Kronos is a human resources (HR) platform that combines workforce management with human capital management (HCM) capabilities and is suitable for businesses of all sizes.  Kronos Workforce Ready is a single cloud-based... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 201 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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RUN powered by ADP

RUN, powered by ADP, is a web-based payroll solution designed for small businesses. The solution can be deployed on either iPhones, iPads or on any touchscreen device. RUN can integrate with multiple third-party accounting software... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 140 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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BambooHR

BambooHR is a cloud-based human resources (HR) software service for small and midsize businesses. BambooHR offers small and growing companies a human resource information system (HRIS) that includes an applicant tracking system (ATS)... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 104 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Onboard

HR Cloud’s Onboard application is a full-featured cloud-based onboarding solution for companies large or small doing business in any industry. Onboard allows HR professionals to craft a paperless, self-service onboarding process... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 64 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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UltiPro

Ultimate Software’s UltiPro® is a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution designed to help organizations manage their HR, payroll, and talent needs. A configurable solution, UltiPro has functionality for recruiting and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 57 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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honeybeeBase

honeybeeBase is a cloud-based team management solution for small size businesses that allows them to track attendance, schedule tasks, clock employees in and out, communicate shifts and more. honeybeeBase allows employees to clock... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 56 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Viventium

Viventium is a cloud-based payroll and human resources (HR) solution for small to mid-size businesses. Key features include payroll, HR, talent acquisition, ACA tracking, business intelligence, and time and attendance. A mobile Employee... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 55 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Ascentis

Ascentis offers a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) suite designed for midsize companies of all industries. It includes HR and benefits, recruiting and onboarding, talent management, time and attendance and payroll. Ascentis... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 52 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Vibe HCM

Vibe HCM offers both HR transactions & compliance and strategic employee engagement in one HCM platform for midsize businesses. Vibe HCM offers recruiting, onboarding, communication and connection, HR management, talent development... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 45 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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PurelyHR

PurelyHR is a cloud-based leave management solution for small to midsize businesses. The system’s core modules allow HR departments to track staff leave requests and approvals as well as manage diverse time off policies and hierarchies.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 39 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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SyncHR

SyncHR is a single-source core human resources (HR), payroll and benefits solution with one data model to support the entire system. The cloud-based design allows SyncHR to provide a real-time solution across functional areas within... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 33 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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BizRun

BizRun is cloud-based human resources (HR) solution. Core features include timekeeping, PTO and leave management, centralized employee recordkeeping, a photo board, compensation management, employee and supervisor self service and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 29 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Vista

Vista is an integrated human resource, benefits, payroll, recruiting and self-service application that offers tools for administrative HCM and payroll processes.   Functional elements include workflow, tax management, recruitment,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Netchex

Netchex is a cloud-based human resource (HR) and payroll management solution designed for midsize and large enterprises. Key features include recruiting and onboarding management, payroll management, tax compliance, time and attendance... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 23 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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BirdDogHR Talent Management Suite-Performance

The BirdDogHR Talent Management System offers cloud-based applicant tracking and performance management software for organizations in all industries, especially construction, manufacturing, engineering and skilled trades. The Talent... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Clockwise

Clockwise is a time and attendance solution suitable for companies of all sizes in sectors such as legal, accounting, consulting, staffing and professional organizations. Key features include time and attendance tracking, mobile apps,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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EPAY Human Capital Management

EPAY Human Capital Management is an integrated HR system that helps midsize and large companies track, manage and pay their employees. EPAY Systems specializes in industries like business services, staffing, manufacturing, healthcare... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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When I Work

When I Work is a cloud-based employee scheduling solution that helps organizations track time and attendance, create and edit employee schedules, add new jobs to the calendar, review timesheets and fill shifts. When I Work lets users... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Collage

Collage is a cloud-based human resources (HR) and benefits management platform built for the needs of small and midsize businesses. Collage also digitizes group benefits enrollment and can sync with any insurance provider in Canada. Collage’s... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: March 14, 2019

Human capital management (HCM) software could be thought of as the next step in the evolution of human resources (HR) software. Rather than managing employees as if they’re static resources with finite skills and limited capabilities, HCM software manages employees as “human capital” that can be grown, leveraged and strategically deployed.

This might sound like an insignificant shift in perspective without a substantive difference, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! The shift in perspective behind HCM software brings with it a selection of new tools and applications—discussed in detail below—that improve the ability of organizations to leverage and grow their human capital investments.

As a “next step” in a long line of HR software, tools and strategies, many companies have questions about HCM software. An increasingly large portion of these companies are small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Below we examine and explain core aspects of HCM software, paying particular attention to the functionalities and use cases most relevant to SMBs.

In this HCM software Buyer’s Guide we look at:

What Is Human Capital Management Software?
Common Functions of Human Capital Management Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is Human Capital Management Software?

Technically, HCM software fits into the broader category of general HR software and as such, it can include some or all of the following core HR functionalities:

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • Personnel tracking
  • Time and attendance
  • Payroll

The informal distinction between HCM and general HR software is that HCM includes tools useful for more strategic workforce planning and analysis, while core HR software is typically more focused on the nuts and bolts of employee management. This is discussed in more detail in the final section below.

Of course, this standard warning applies: Vendors market their software differently and have a tendency to blur distinctions and descriptions. While the distinction above may not hold in all cases, it’s still useful to keep in mind as you read reviews and move closer to a purchase decision.

Common Functions of Human Capital Management Software

The following are generalized descriptions of the functionalities commonly included in HCM software. While they may be described differently by different vendors, the essential functionality will be similar across the board.

Core HR administration These are the functionalities associated with traditional HR software, such as: benefits and payroll administration, employee life cycle process management and organization of employee data.
Talent management These applications help manage recruiting and onboarding processes, compensation, management of employee performance and training and education programs.
Workforce management These tools help manage day-to-day workforce activities by tracking time and attendance, activity and task tracking, scheduling and absence management.
HR service delivery These tools are provided largely for the benefit of employees, offering direct (online) access to important records and information regarding their employment.
Workforce analytics These functions include reporting and data visualization features as well as predictive HR analytics models to help the predict and plan for likely future scenarios and challenges.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Core HR buyer. Your company has grown and it’s time to graduate from your spreadsheet-and-email methods of managing employees. Core HR platforms provide the essential, must-have HR functions such as personnel tracking, absence management, payroll, benefits administration and recruiting. Core HR platforms can be purchased for on-premise installation or as online software.

Best-of-breed core HR buyer. You already have a system for managing human resources. It’s an older system and doesn’t have much fancy functionality, but it’s integral to your operations and would be costly to replace. But, you’ve found you need some additional functionality, maybe something to help you better track applicants or update your appraisal and review processes. Often, HCM applications can be purchased as best-of-breed solutions, letting you add new HR functionality without much capex or system downtime.

Strategic HR buyers. If you’re in this group, then you probably have loftier HR goals, like workforce optimization and strategic workforce planning. These goals require better analytical tools that can help with forward-looking projections and planning. To the average (core) HR buyer, some of these tools would be considered “nice to have.” But for companies that want to amp up their HR strategy and are looking for tools to help with, for example, performance management, succession planning or compensation management, then HCM software is usually the best choice.

Recent Events You Should Know About

SAP using SuccessFactors for improved employee acquisition (August, 2016). As more and more companies learn to adapt their hiring practices to an increasingly millennial-centric workforce, SAP is finding success with its own HCM platform, SuccessFactors. In an article in ITbusiness, the software giant describes how its HCM platform helps the company attract and retain the best available talent from a younger population.

Applebee’s franchisee using UltiPro to improve onboarding, payroll processes (September, 2016). RMH Franchise Corporation, which operates over 175 Applebee’s locations, announced it was switching to cloud-based HCM platform UltiPro to improve its onboarding and processing of payrolls. The company expects the move to greatly reduce the workload for office staff, by automating many repetitive processes involved with accounting and tax reporting for the company’s 10,000-plus employees.

Walmart automating 7,000 back-office accounting and invoicing jobs (September, 2016). After completing a successful trial run in some 500 stores this summer, Walmart announced it will continue moving ahead with the plan to automate certain back-office roles. The move comes as Walmart faces continuing pressure from slowing sales and is actively trying to leverage new IT to improve operational efficiency.

Related HR and HCM Software Categories

There’s a variety of stand-alone HR applications and full HR and HCM platforms on the market, and buyers are encouraged to examine all of their options before making a purchase decision. Depending on if you’re a core HR buyer, a best-of-breed core HR buyer or a strategic HR buyer (see explanations above) you might find the perfect HR tool on one of the related pages below: