Our mission as a research and advisory services company is to help organizations "dramatically improve their business performance through their talent, learning, and HR strategies, processes, and systems." In this never-ending quest, we continuously find that one of the most challenging (and important) parts of building a modern, high-performing company is the implementation of well architected, easy-to-use, HR and learning systems.
And for me personally, this is just something I love. I spent almost 25 years of my career in technology (at IBM, Sybase, and a few other companies) and I have had the opportunity of personally experiencing the mainframe era, the PC era, the internet era, and now the "connectivity everywhere" era. I have a feeling the next big thing we're going to be dealing with is: "web-connected touch screens replacing almost every hard surface in our lives."
Anyway, you as an HR or training professional have to stay up to speed on this whole topic. This year in particular our industry is becoming flooded with new integrated talent management tools (which are really moving into the realm of what I call "people management"), amazing new tools for internet sourcing and assessment, social and informal learning platforms (and yes, a new generation of LMS's, believe it or not), and some of the most creative and amazing user interfaces you have ever seen. And the i-Phone and i-Pad and Android devices out there are suddenly platforms for everything from learning to recruiting.
The one place you can go to see and learn about all this stuff is the HR Technology Conference. I met Bill Kutik, who runs this conference, more than five years ago – and he is one of the most knowledgable, seasoned (read "about my age"), and focused analysts/journalists in our space. He has been co-chairing this conference since it started in 1998 and makes sure that the agenda, speakers, and topics are highly relevant to our market.
First of all, this conference is one of the best ways to get educated on the current state of HR technology solutions. Each of the customer sessions is delivered by an HR executive, and vetted by Bill to represent a real-world case study of the implementation of some major HR solution.
Second, in addition to hosting 40 of these educational sessions, this conference is "the best place to meet vendors." Nearly every vendor executive is there, so if you are in the market for a new platform (or just trying to figure out what is going on), you can probably meet the CEO of heads of product management from the vendors of your choice. Third, this is the place to get perspective on the whole market. The brightest and most informed people come to this conference, and I think it is well worth attending just to meet with them. For example:
Barb Arth and I are working very hard to complete our second annual report on Customer Satisfaction with Talent Management Systems, which we will debut at the conference. (This research, by the way, will not only "name names" of vendors, but also give you the real-world insights into what drives success with these systems.)
If you are thinking about fixing up your aging or messy HRMS environment, Bill has arranged to have Gretchen Alarcon from Oracle (the leader of their HR product strategy) talk about the current state of Fusion, Oracle's next-generation HR software platform. David Ludlow from SAP will also be presenting with his client from Comcast. And Dave Duffield from Workday will be presenting with their flagship client Flextronics to help you understand why you need a SaaS based next-generation HRMS. We are soon to launch our new HRMS research – this market is quite hot again as these next-generation systems come to market. (Check out Silkroad, Softscape, SuccessFactors, and Ultimate in this area as well.)
If you are trying to modernize your recruiting platform (and this is the most mature yet rapidly changing areas of talent management), you can some to see Taleo's new Talent Intelligence platform, and also see how Taleo has evolved into a true end-to-end talent management solution with their client from United Airlines (an absolutely amazing story, by the way). Rudy Karsan, the CEO of Kenexa will be there with Novartis showing you how Kenexa has really revolutionized the market for employee branding and assessment. And Gerry Crispin is holding a panel on the future (or death) of job boards, a huge area of stress and direction in our industry.
(By the way, we will also be demonstrating and introducing our brand new Talent Acquisition Research and Advisory Practice on the show floor, so come talk with Madeline Laurano or the rest of our team if you want strategic support in your whole talent acquisition strategy. This service includes a major library of research on systems, solution providers, best-practices, benchmarks, strategy – as well as a benchmarking service and lots more.)
If you are struggling with informal learning (who isnt!), Jeanne Meister is hosting a panel which includes L&D executives from Cisco, Deloitte, Cerner, and LG Electronics to talk about how to build informal learning solutions and attract younger workers. This whole area is dramatically impacting technology platforms by the way, so you have to get up to speed on this topic.
And there is a session from Workscape on enterprise compensation solutions (a very hot emerging market, which Workscape leads), a panel hosted by Brian Kelly from Inform (now SuccessFactors) featuring companies who have successful solutions for workforce planning, a session with Adam Miller (CEO of CornerstoneOnDemand) showing you how next generation talent management has reached the public sector, a session from IBM and Kraft on the opportunity for HRO (I have a lot of thoughts on this topic), and much more.
(In addition, I will be hosting an expert session for 75 minutes on the whole topic of performance management and general technology strategies, so if you just want to come chat and get new ideas on your strategy, please come and join me on Thursday at 1:45.)
Overall, I always find this conference to be one of the most energizing experiences of the year. It is a place to meet analysts, consultants, and top vendor executives in almost every part of the HR technology market.
How to Attend:
You can download the conference brochure here. When you do sign up, if you use the promotion code "BERSIN10" (ALL CAPS), you will get a $500 discount – so please do use this code to register.
Remember: HR Technology continues to be one of the most important parts of your end-to-end HR, talent, and learning strategy. Rather than wait for vendors to call on you, take the time to "get ahead" of the market and see what's going on – and come meet with us.
We are very excited to be part of this event, and I look forward to seeing you there.