Top Tips and Advice – CIPD HR Software Show

For someone who is about to embark on the procurement of a new HRMS, the CIPD HR Software Show is the place to be. The UK’s top HR Software vendors will present at Olympia on 15th and 16th June, all willing to showcase their software to prospective new clients.

However being confronted by many so different solutions can be a daunting proposition. Therefore we have reached out to friends and colleagues of Cascade for their essential hints and tips to help you make the most of the conference and exhibition.

Our Panel

Denis Barnard

Denis Barnard is director of HRMeansBusiness Ltd, and founder of He is dedicated to helping HR professionals grow their human resource infrastructures and connect them with best-fit HR and software products. Denis provides a valuable insight of the exhibition from a  HR consultant’s perspective.  Denis has devised a useful checklist specifically to help delegates maximise their time at the event. This can be found on

Sarah Lowe

Sarah Lowe is HR Manager at Sika Limited. In 2013, Sarah presented to a full house at the CIPD Show with her seminar – “Utilising HR Software to Effectively Manage Organisational Change”. As a HR professional Sarah understands the types of questions delegates will want to ask prospective HR technology vendors.

Lawrence Scholey

Newly appointed to Cascade as one of our key Account Managers, Lawrence Scholey brings with him a wealth of experience working within the HR industry. As a previous HR  Manager for an underwriting company based at Lloyd’s of London, Lawrence has a good perspective from both the vendor and the client’s point of view.

Andy Court

Andy Court, Head of Marketing at Cascade is responsible for our striking stand, the great platform to demo our software and the insightful seminars, all of which have been specifically developed to provide HR professionals with a well-rounded understanding of our HR Software. Last year Cascade was crowned ‘Best Stand in Show’ a coveted award presented at the CIPD Annual Conference in Manchester. Andy has experience from attending the show year on year and understands the changing needs of the delegates.

Advice about the CIPD HR Software Show


Last year, the CIPD HR Software show attracted over 2,000 visitors. With in-excess of 45 exhibitors, there are a multitude of HR and recruitment software vendors available to demonstrate their technology. In addition to this, there will be an extensive programme of free seminars presented by some of the vendors over the two days.

When asked how to prepare for the show, we received the following responses;

Andy Court;

This market is very competitive and therefore there are plenty of solutions to have a look at, at the show. Vendors all have their strengths and weaknesses depending on where their solutions are implemented. Before you attend the show, I would recommend shortlisting vendors to engage with to ensure you make best use of your time. For example some vendors are more suited to delivering projects for private sector businesses rather than public sector organisations. If you don’t have time before you attend the event, I would recommend picking up a show guide at the entrance, sitting down in the café and assessing which vendors are suitable, before being shown products that are perhaps not fit for your requirements.

Denis Bernard:

In brief, preparation should see you travelling to the exhibition with:
A summary of functions and features you need to have present in the software;
A summary of the key processes you need to see tested out;
A timeline for your project and
A series of arranged appointments for the stands you want to visit, preferably having forewarned the vendors of what you will be wanting to see.

Lawrence Scholey;

Know a bit about what you want – the show has a lot to offer but never enough time, so it is worth doing a little investigation on what products you want to see and go armed with questions. Everyone is there to help you make an informed choice about the products they sell.

Sarah Lowe;

Review the programme and prioritise the events that you want to attend as it’s very easy to get distracted and miss out on key sessions.

When asked for top advice for a newcomer visiting the show, we received the following responses;

Lawrence Scholey;

Be prepared – there are so many good products to look at. It can be overwhelming, so make sure you know what you want to get out of it before you step foot in it, the show that is.

On a more practical note, you’ll need water, comfortable shoes and the floor plan. Olympia is vast and it takes some time to get around the whole site. It can be quite warm, so you’ll need the water to quench your thirst and with the myriad of vendors you can get confused wandering around.

Andy Court;

In the words of Peter Reeve, Head of HR at MND Association, “Prepare, prepare, prepare.” This is the theme for this year’s presentation from Cascade. We are looking forward to hearing about our client’s journey from procurement of their HR software to the successful roll out.

Denis Bernard;

My top tip has to be: know what you are expecting to see. It’s the key to any form of testing, and it works perfectly well for attending software exhibitions as well!

Sarah Lowe;

Give yourself plenty of time to visit the stands and attend the sessions. Get to the free sessions early as the seats get taken up pretty quickly.

When asked whether it would be a good idea to visit the show on both days, we received the following responses;

Denis Bernard;

I think this will be determined by the number of products you are wanting to see, and, peripherally, how far you need to travel to attend. I don’t think that anyone can look at screens for more than an hour, and you need to take a break in between. Exhibitions tend to be stuffy and hard going on the feet, and very basically catered, so I would restrict product viewing to no more than 4 in a day. If you spread, say 6 or 7 demos over the two days, you will be a lot more refreshed.

Sarah Lowe;

Yes, if the content (of the Free Seminars) is specific enough to your needs. O, otherwise a day is enough to visit the stands.

Andy Court;

If you have identified more than 6 vendors as a potential supplier, yes I would split your demonstrations over 2 days so you digest what each vendor has to offer.

Lawrence Scholey;

From experience, working in HR and Payroll can be quite demanding, so it is not always possible to make both days. That’s why it’s important to know what you want when you go. If you are thinking of replacing or implementing a HR and Payroll Software product then you can either come straight to Cascade or spend two days at the show looking for something almost, but not quite, as good.

When asked how beneficial the free learning seminars would be to a newcomer to the event? We received the following responses;

Sarah Lowe;

They’re ideal for a number of reasons (one) they are very current and topical (two) they are a great way to meet people and network (three) they give you a taster and (four) they are free!

Denis Bernard;

From an experiential point of view they are handy; you need to pick and choose those which will be of particular value to you, but remember, those sessions eat into vital product demo time.

Andy Court;

I would only look for vendors that have clients willing to present their stories on their behalf. These client case studies are so valuable, you will pick up hints and tips from people who have been there and done it. Attending the vendor sessions is perhaps a disguised sales pitch!

Lawrence Scholey

Hmmm. If it is something that you are interested in, then by all means listen and learn. However, I have found on chatting with a number of individuals at these sessions, they have taken the lessons for either a brief chance of a sit down or an opportunity to quiz an expert with their particular issue – this doesn’t help everyone that attends.

Key Facts about the CIPD HR Software Show

Where is the Show? Olympia London, Blythe Road, London W14 8UX

Olympia London is the only venue in London with a dedicated rail station – Kensington (Olympia). It’s served by the London Overground and national rail networks. A further five Underground lines are connected, only a short walk away.

What are the dates and times?

Wednesday 15 June 09:30 – 17:00
Thursday 16 June 09:30 – 16:30

How much does it cost?

Entry to the event is FREE, simply register online for tickets.

Can I grab a bite to eat there?

There are two cafes within the exhibition area, plus a number of cafes and restaurants located within the vicinity which are listed on the Olympia London website.


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