The imperative of modernizing HR technology

IN the rapidly evolving landscape of business operations, the imperative for adaptability, agility and innovation has never been more pronounced. Human Resources (HR), as the custodian of an organization’s most valuable asset — its workforce — stands at the forefront of this transformation. However, many businesses continue to grapple with outdated HR technology, clinging to legacy systems that impede progress and expose them to significant risks. Why is there a pressing need to modernize HR technology, and what are the perils of clinging to outdated systems?

Legacy HR systems, remnants of a bygone era, are emblematic of stagnation in an age characterized by relentless innovation. These antiquated systems, rooted in the 1970s and 1980s, were instrumental in digitizing manual HR processes, yet they now pose formidable challenges in an era defined by digital disruption. While they served as rudimentary “Systems of Record,” automating basic recordkeeping tasks, they are ill-equipped to meet the demands of the modern workforce. Today, they present a myriad of obstacles, including data management challenges, system compatibility issues, and security risks.

The advent of remote work, generative AI, and data analytics has underscored the inadequacy of legacy HR systems. Modern HR technology is indispensable for creating exceptional digital employee experiences and facilitating organizational agility.

Indeed, the risks associated with maintaining legacy systems extend beyond mere technological obsolescence. Legal and security risks loom large, as outdated systems often fail to comply with stringent data security and privacy laws, exposing organizations to regulatory sanctions and reputational damage. Moreover, the increased likelihood of cybersecurity breaches poses a significant threat, jeopardizing sensitive employee information and undermining customer trust.

Financial considerations further underscore the imperative for modernization. While the upfront costs of updating HR technology may seem daunting, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial investment. Outdated legacy systems incur exorbitant maintenance costs, drain employee productivity, and hinder business innovation. The opportunity cost of clinging to obsolete technology is staggering, as it precludes organizations from leveraging cutting-edge solutions to drive efficiency and competitiveness.

Moreover, the impact of outdated technology permeates organizational culture and employee satisfaction. Legacy systems impede productivity, frustrate employees, and erode trust in leadership. In an era where seamless connectivity and uninterrupted service are the norm, the repercussions of system downtime and decreased productivity cannot be overstated.

To navigate this precarious landscape, organizations must embrace a strategic approach to modernizing HR technology. It is opportune that Darwinbox and Hungry Workhorse are organizing a gathering of HR leaders in the country to deliver a seminar on “Change for Great Success: Why Top Companies in the Philippines are Shifting from Legacy to Darwinbox,” happening on May 29, 2024, in Makati City. Speakers include veteran HR practitioner Nicasio Lim, DPM, senior advisor, independent director, consultant and executive coach; Vikrant Khanna, global head of Value Management, Advisory Solutions at Darwinbox; and Aditya Gupta, region head of Strategic Accounts at Darwinbox.

Darwinbox is a new-age, end-to-end, mobile-first, and employee-first integrated HR system built for configurability, integrability and efficiency. Darwinbox serves 900+ enterprises and 2.5 million+ employees across 116+ countries. In the Philippines, Darwinbox works with leading enterprises like Maxicare Healthcare, Shakey’s Pizza, Robinsons Bank, Straive, UNO Digital Bank, Delbros Group, Security Bank, Toyota Motor Philippines, Radius Telecom, and JG Summit Holdings (now Gokongwei Group), plus leading international brands such as Nivea, Starbucks, Dominos, Sephora, Swarovski, Adidas, Zara, Lacoste, Calvin Klein, AXA, Tokio, Cigna, and T-Systems. Globally rated as the #1 HCM platform (on Gartner Peer Insights), Darwinbox is backed by the likes of Microsoft, Salesforce, TCV, and Sequoia. The platform has appeared on Gartner Magic Quadrant for three years, running from 2021-23, being the fastest and the only Asian HCM player in 2021-22. The company’s technology partnership with Microsoft is helping accelerate the development of cutting-edge innovations, including AI in HR.

In conclusion, the urgency of upgrading HR technology is undeniable. Legacy systems, relics of a bygone era, pose significant risks to organizational security, productivity, and competitiveness. By embracing contemporary solutions and leveraging innovative technologies, organizations can unlock new opportunities for growth and transformation. The time for action is now; the future of HR hinges on our ability to adapt, innovate, and embrace change.


The author is the founder and CEO of Hungry Workhorse Consulting, a digital, culture, and customer experience transformation consulting firm. He is a fellow at the US-based Institute for Digital Transformation. He teaches strategic management and digital transformation in the MBA Program at De La Salle University. The author may be emailed at