I work at an organization where HR truly is a business partner. We have the proverbial, "seat at the table" when it comes to strategic decision making and business modeling. Thus, the technology we use to drive our business is CRITICAL to driving the overall business.
I can list a million reasons (literally) why HR Technology is crucial but for the purposes of this blog, I'll focus on my top 3:
1) Managing Talent
This is increasingly important as the size, diversity, and geographic span of your organization grows, but knowing who can do what and who has done what is extremely beneficial in overall talent management. For example, Finance is in dire need of a project manager to help implement an expense management system but they don't know where to turn. Little do they know that a PM in IT is wrapping up their current project and before their time with our company, their IT experience was specific to finance at another organization implementing the exact same system. With an HR Technology system that helps managers identify and tap into that talent, both HR and the business can save money and seek qualified talent to help the business grow and evolve.
2) 'Making the World Flat'
Yes, another Friedman quote :-). But very relevant here. If you are in HR for a company that operates in 30+ countries, HR systems are almost necessary to provide any sort of unity or standardization in terms of business processes, workflows, tools, forms, etc. Heck, even corporate branding can be HUGELY affected by a unified system that is used globally. But at the basics, it flattens the world and makes available tools to people thousands of miles apart from each other.
3) Mitigating Risk
Lastly, I believe that mitigating risk is another key factor in HR Technology. The more manual the process - the more exposure to risk you have. Even if you operate the best in class systems, if the integration is manual, you still run the risk of corrupt data. HR Technology will help to keep the integrity of the data used, BUT, the output data is only as good as the input. So ensure your processes are air tight. Or at least a slow leak.
So in closing, HR Technology supports the business to thrive, but I'd also be willing to say that to some point, HR Technology provides the means for business to thrive. Will the internal HR support of an organization ever become a profit center? Well, likely not...but as professionals we can sure help to validate why it is a cost center you can't live without :-).