We are pleased to present key findings from the 2014 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey, our most comprehensive global survey to date. This report highlights several key insights on HR transformation plans, goals and progress at 1,048 organizations around the world along with Towers Watson's perspectives on HR service delivery success.

This year's survey highlights HR functions empowering their organizations via three key themes: making smart investments, balancing efforts and managing change effectively.

Empowering HR Through Transformation

HR technology spending continues to be strong, in spite of cost reductions in other parts of organizations. We believe this reflects an understanding that technology is a large and increasingly important driver of HR effectiveness and efficiency. These investments are directed mostly toward the implementation of new technology and new functionality, including HR portals, talent management solutions, mobile access services and leading software-as-a-service systems such as Workday.

Adoption of SAS is on the Rise   Moving forward: 2014 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey Results

The trend toward reviewing and replacing the core HR system certainly continues, but we also see a trend toward greater investment in HR data and analytics, portals, and payroll. About one-third of our respondents reported that they plan to spend more in the coming year, and 29% of them will be moving to a new core HRMS.

Spending is on the rise for the first time since 2011.

In order to maintain a strategic advantage, HR organizations are using numerous data sources to create insights. One of the most critical of these sources, and new to our study this year, is the employee engagement survey. Over half of the respondents survey their employees every two years or more, and of those, 33% report that they use the results to influence transformation within their organization, while 30% feel they could do more.

33% of companies are using data from engagement surveys to direct people investments and impact their business.

Our daily work as HR professionals has tangible and immediate implications for the workforce and the organization as a whole. Successful HR leaders prioritize opportunities to make their organizations more agile and flexible by addressing technology, structure and process challenges. The key to making the right choices is to prioritize strategic needs and match them with the right service delivery solutions.