“Blurred Lines” sung at HR Tech

My initial impression of HR tech was pretty simple – blurred lines.

The lines between enterprise resource planning, business process, and human capital management software have been completely blurred. Companies like Workday, SuccessFactors, and Infor are rapidly bringing business and finance into human capital and really making it harder for the organizations that only focus on recruiting, on boarding, performance management and so on to keep market share.

On the opposite side, there are a multitude of vendors that have specific technology needs that need corporations need to be filled. Online interviews, video, screening capability, assessments, scheduling, logging hours, mobile, social media, and so on. They all integrate with different systems and media.

And then of course, there is everything in between. Recruiting, learning, performance management, etc. all combined into elaborate suites that are mobile ready, socially ready and highly flexible, all on the cloud. All ready to infuse with one system or another.

I will admit that even I was a little blurry looking at it all and trying to get an understanding of how to even write this blog and keep it short. Too late.

What makes it even harder is how many outsource providers are in the mix at HR Tech who are combining services with tech. We have achieved outsourcing human capital to technology with absolute precision. My favorite is how the response from an outsource provider that has tech is always “but we don’t have to turn on the whole suite. We can do whatever you want with as much or as little as you want”. Nice. Talk about blurring the lines.

But what wasn’t there was a paradigm shift. Sorry tech vendors, I didn’t see it.

I think we are still in our infancy of understanding how to merge data across functional areas and HR, and link it to business outcomes – and letting HR lead that charge. So I have high hopes for next year where many of these companies have clients with more than 1 or 2 fiscals under their belt post integration and full adoption. So here is the warning vendors – bring it.

I was disappointed with the software choices for HRO. Not to hype our own stuff, but HRO has 100 to 200 systems it’s managing when working with its clients – maybe more, and I didn’t see much to address that except for “convert to us”. Vendors are talking about big data, but HRO is about “complex” data, not really big data. Lots of room for improvement there.

Highlights? Bill’s goodbye, Elaine Orler of the Talent Function group preaching about how to pick tech, the awards and the back room conversations about what really happens with vendors. But it’s a must go show. Next year we will meet with the analysts and show them what big complex data in HR is all about. I will admit that I met more ppl there in talent acquisition and management than I did at any other show this year – and they were all tuned to tech.

Like I said, eager for next year to see how adoption and post integration yields long term results. Curious to see who headlines next year.