As an integrator in the HCM industry, we focus on “behind the scenes” work to help companies implement and then manage millions of daily transactions within talent management systems. This means that we are speaking with numerous clients each and every day – hearing first-hand about their talent management goals and visions, their wish lists for better functionality or software solutions, their internal challenges to secure budget and scarce resources to execute on projects and their current successes with system roll-outs, expansions and deployment of core HR programs.
As we focus back on a very successful year of growth in the talent management technology industry, we’d like to share some of these insights.
Too often, we hear clients say “We’re so behind.”, and our response is often “Behind whom exactly?” From our vantage point, we see companies of all sizes and in all industries working toward essentially the same goals to modernize and optimize their talent management practices. Case studies at industry conferences and from vendors can inspire, but the reality for many HR and Learning leaders is that they just make them feel like they are more behind the trends. So, in part 1 of this blog post, I’d like to share the “inside scoop” of where we are seeing organizations focus their time and resources in terms of the overall talent management process. Here are the top three:
There is no denying that we are in the midst of an HR technology boom with most companies in some stage of defining their talent management system roadmap, researching what to buy, working through an RFP process or getting through a rigorous contracting cycle. What’s different now is that we’re seeing a very educated buyer and sophisticated procurement process. We are responding to an increased number of requests to engage with companies long before an RFP to conduct what we call a “Phase Zero Analysis” – in other words, guide clients through an assessment of their current HR systems, map out existing HR functionality and data interfaces and then develop a roadmap to fill functional gaps or replace current systems with new solutions to reduce IT costs, increase operational efficiencies and improve the employee experience.
Improving the Employee Experience through Seamless Integrations and Consistent User Interface Solutions
All companies seem to have learned the hard way that “customizations” to core systems are to be avoided at all costs but we are seeing a definite resurgence in customized solutions that don’t impact core systems. Most software providers are open to extending the functionality of their core platforms by interfacing to other third-party tools through APIs or web services. We are now asked to do a lot more creative work to deliver an integrated and engaging user experience by providing the employee with seamless navigation through their talent management solution and out to other corporate tools such as document management systems, employee portals, virtual meeting/classroom tools or third-party reporting and analytics tools. And, on top of this, we’re being asked to help brand the experience in a similar fashion across these platforms to whatever degree is possible. The results pay off tremendously with employee-facing systems that not only look and feel similar as you navigate through them but we reduce the need to sign on to several different applications, and the role-based functionality inherent within most talent management applications allows for a more personalized overall employee experience where the employee is presented with the information and functionality applicable to his/her role.
We are seeing the prophesy of the looming talent shortage come to bear each day as client after client engages with us to take on administrative tasks on behalf of their company. Clients are seeking to supplement their internal team resourcing and de-risk for scarce skills given the detailed knowledge and experience needed to operate today’s HR systems. The requests range from simply supporting clients with SaaS maintenance cycles throughout the year to working hand in hand with clients on a daily basis to help manage configurations and ensure quality control when integrating and publishing new content, to fully managing their compliance training program for them on a global basis, along with the reporting services that entails, or to managing 24/7 multilingual user support for them. In all cases, companies seem to have tried to take on the administration themselves, only to find it difficult to staff and manage or that they could do it more cost-effectively through an external partner who has the tools, talent and scalability to run the services more effectively.
Stay tuned next week for Trends in Talent Management Technology Part 2… In the meantime, contact me to discuss some of these trends or share your own challenges and goals for talent management in 2014.