While too soon for the holidays and just post-back-to-school frenzies for many, it is indeed the season for new and interesting product developments from the HR software providers.
The timing for new tech product announcements has gravitated to the fall because of the predominance of the HR Tech conference (Las Vegas, October 7-10 this year) as a two-ton gorilla for providers of solutions to the HR market. While many will be making announcements at the show itself; others have pre-empted that date with new additions to their products suites sneaking out the door earlier. (Sometimes this is an advantage in getting traction with analysts – rather than an onslaught at a conference!)
What can we expect and what have we seen so far
Our research on buyers’ trends points to the desire for single suite and increasingly a single vendor (rather than a self or third-party integrated patchwork quilt.) In fact, even when the application is one single talent area – such as recruiting or performance management – buyers indicate that they will go to a provider that has an entire suite, thus supporting their future direction for an integrated whole.
While our recent report covered many solutions for integrated talent management (Talent Management Systems 2014: Solution Provider Comparisons and Profiles), at recent conferences for analysts and end-users, vendors have been demonstrating new capabilities to make total workforce management easier as well as launching improvements to existing technologies. Let’s look at some areas where attendees at HR Tech can expect to get the “wow” effect.
1) There are some great new apps for mobile—and here I mean smartphones. The ubiquity of smartphones has made it the vehicle of choice du jour, more so than the tablet, especially for HR, management, and employee transaction use. Expect to see smartphone momentum in the onboarding software arena as well.
2) Just-in-time, just-enough, in your business application learning will prevail. Look especially at new applications for sales folks that provide extensive and immediate information on a prospect all in one interface, with social contacts, history of the prospect, any issues at the time, and nuggetized learning about what worked and what didn’t in the account. And the learning part? Information about the business, the products, etc. that the rep may not know.
3) Look for mentoring and coaching management tracking in software. As the concept of continuous learning and continuous feedback replace one-a-year performance events, software providers are looking to provide tools that enhance the conversations, yet keep track of them and their content and suggestions for performance improvement.
4) Improved integration across talent suites, and in some cases across HR and talent technologies together. While attendees may not think this is “wow-worthy,” it really is. Work providers have done in the last year to better consolidate and synthesize their products sets – beyond just the look and feel (though that is important too) will facilitate the ability to glean the analytics that companies need today.
5) And yes, analytic applications will likely abound: stand-alone applications will synthesize an organizations data and provide insights—rather a datamart in the sky – as most are Cloud applications. But talent suite providers have been busy as well, increasing the metrics and the ability to actually analyze employee and trend data. (No Virginia, “cost of hire” is not an “analytic” – it is a metric). Consultancies are likely to jump on this band wagon to provide support for organizations just sticking their toes into the analytics lake. This help will likely receive a warm welcome in many venues. And are you a data scientist? Bring your network profile link—companies are seeking staff to develop and run analytics departments.
6) And speaking of the total workforce – look for applications that offer hiring and compliance support for not only salaried and hourly labor, but improved contingent worker management as well. And it is about time, says I.
For many, HR Tech may be their first viewing of fairly newly released hiring management applications such as those from Saba and Workday, predictive analytics solutions for retention such as those from Oracle and Ultimate Software, fitness support as that in Oracle HCM Cloud, and many others. In addition, younger companies will likely support entire new HR Cloud suites, and even younger start-ups such as HackerRank and Fuel50 will highlight solutions for locating engineers and career pathing software.
You won’t want to miss Josh talking about “The New Talent Agenda: How Integrated Talent Management Has Fundamentally Changed” on October 8th from 11-12, or Stacia and Katherine lead a discussion on “Creating a Compelling Employee Experience Through a Unified Talent System” on Thursday the 9th from 10:45-11:45.
For more information on the content of this year’s HR Tech, in Las Vegas the 7-9th of October, go to: http://www.hrtechconference.com/sessions.html#sthash.78gg2qZM.dpuf
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