A small- or medium-sized business’ human capital management needs to be under control, and as an SMB matures into a larger business, this control comes with technology. HR needs HCM technology capable of handling HCM’s many elements: payroll, time and attendance, performance management, recruiting, workforce optimization and more. To find the right HCM technology, however, you could probably use some steps to follow.

Follow Your Sixth Sense
You may have sensed that employees’ issues just aren’t being resolved like they used to. Gaps are becoming unmanageable. Payroll has been wrong a couple times now, for instance. Or perhaps you used to hire on intuition—and successfully—but now, the latest hires have been questionable. Meanwhile, should regulators come knocking, you doubt your ability to meet all their requests.

As a successful entrepreneur, you probably have a sixth sense, and listening to it is the first step to finding the right HCM technology. Why? You first need to understand that you need it.

Whereas your organization was previously able to handle HCM through processes that developed organically since your company’s founding, HCM is now begging for technology. Good HCM technology is an overlay that provides much-needed structure and unity to the many elements of HCM. The question is how to move from here, the realization that HCM technology is necessary. Every company’s journey is different, but the following steps will help any SMB select an appropriate HCM technology.

Step One: Get a Team
Founding your business may have been a solitary endeavor, but you quickly learned that a team is critical for achieving objectives over the long term. Finding the best HCM technology is similar. Who at the moment is handling finance, HR, payroll, operations and department management at your company? Bring them into the decision-making process. This group will help you find a well-suited technology. Schedule a regular steering committee to review readiness risk and course-correction.

Step Two: Determine Buying Criteria and Decide
Should you select an on-premise solution? For most businesses, a cloud-based HCM technology delivered via software-as-a-service is a better choice. Above all, set the buying criteria. What are the business problems and pains that HCM technology must solve for your organization? Be realistic about go-live dates. Consider all possible factors—data conversion, team focus, training plans. Among your tasks are to define requirements, fix a budget, and determine internal return on investment.

Step Three: Search for a Vendor
Some buyers turn to assistance from third parties. Just as important is to explore the thoughts of people in the industry. On social media, follow and study conversations around hashtags for payroll, workforce management, HR, and HCM. What are communities such as HR.com saying? What are analysts saying?

Step Four: Look for a Partner, Not Just a Vendor
The best vendors of HCM technology are more than vendors: They’re partners. What is the implementation methodology? How is training provided? Make sure your chosen vendor will be there, to help over the long term.

Step Five: Price Comes Last
Always evaluate a vendor first for its solution’s capabilities. Compare price last. It’s possible for the lowest-cost bidder to have the solution that’s just right for you, yes, but typically, the best vendors’ solutions are not the least expensive. You will pay for your HCM technology somehow. It’s preferable to do so up front, as opposed to paying later for a bad decision.

Make the Move
You know your company needs a technology that enables HR to get HCM under control. Follow these steps, and they will lead you to an HCM technology vendor worthy of your business.