HR Technology 2013 – a leadership view

Like other ‘cool’ HR technology vendors, we recently made the trip across to Las Vegas for one of the biggest events in the HR calendar – The HR Technology Conference and Expo.

Thankfully the unspoken rule of ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ was waived and so, in this post, we round up some of the key takeaways from the event as experienced by; Mike Ettling, Sage People Non-Exec; Mike Maiorino, Founder and CEO at HRMS Solutions; and Sage People CEO, Nic Scott.

Mike Ettling, Non-Executive and former CEO at NGA Human Resources

“This year’s HR Tech conference was the largest in its history and, as always, the networking was excellent – it was a great venue to reconnect with old industry colleagues. This year, we also bid farewell to Bill Kutik, who for the last 16 years has served HR Tech well – thanks for an outstanding “last blast” in Vegas. We wish him well in his so called “retirement”.

There is a tremendous amount of excitement and momentum in the HR industry at the moment which is not surprising given the fact that HR is the first significant back office function that is truly adopting cloud solutions. However, what struck me was the abundance of ‘me too’ copycat software in the talent and HRIS arena. As you dig deeper you don’t find much differentiation in either product functionality or in target market segment. I question how these vendors will survive in the long term. Certainly the big talent software vendors have assembled and built their core architectures, so I do not foresee quick bucks being made through exits to the big talent vendors. Software vendors in the HCM industry are going to have to have a distinct and better mousetrap and a unique and focussed approach to the market.

I believe this is where Sage People differentiates itself with a clear focus on an underserved market segment with the ‘mini-multinationals’, and clear differentiation on the product side in terms of the Force.com architecture, and the ability to localize for different geographies, which was demonstrated at the event.”

Mike Maiorino, CEO, HRMS Solutions, Inc.

“For me the conference is certainly one of the key events in my calendar. Not only is it an event where I can meet with peers but the discussions are key indicators of trends to come. This year, although being on the cusp of the agenda for a few years now, was the year for integrated HRMS and talent management systems. A number of the discussions I had were with HR professionals looking for a solution that was fully integrated.

Unlike many other industries, HR has continued to grow over the past few years and currently shows no let up. This is backed by research from Bersin which suggests that 50 per cent of buyers are now looking for integrated HRMS systems. I’ve found that HR are now more aware of the impact technology can have on their roles and are increasingly dictating what they want from a solution. So for any vendors who were unable to attend, it’s important to look at ensuring you’re offering integrated solutions, and HR professionals, you shouldn’t accept anything less.”

Nic Scott, CEO, Sage People

“Not least, at the event this year I noticed an increase in global organizations who still don’t have a solution that can fully support them. It seems that with the proliferation of big data many more HR professionals are beginning to seek out solutions that can still provide the day-to-day support that they need, but also can help manage and find use for the data they are collecting. This is often where our solution can help. It was great to see so many attendees impressed with our depth of the functionality, ease of use and, perhaps most importantly, the dashboards and reporting offered to help deliver real insight across their entire organization.

Those already using HR technology in the cloud will be aware of the great impact cloud solutions can have; faster deployments, easy collaboration and data sharing. The challenge comes when talking to those who aren’t yet ready to move on from their legacy systems. Regardless, I feel that with continued innovation, like that demonstrated at HR Tech, HR executives are seeing how such solutions can make a difference and benefit their role.”

If you attended the HR Tech Conference we’d be interested to hear your experiences of the event and to continue discussions around how technology can support your role. You can contact us here.

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