Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    The Classroom and the Community

    A new version of my HR Technology class is set to commence this June, just a few short weeks from now. This session will be unlike any of the three prior classes, as it will be delivered 100% online.  Some changes that I have already had to make include leaving out the 'hands-on' use of Halogen's Talent Management Suite, as without the face to face meetings I don't think I will be able to effectively utilize the powerful set of capabilities that Halogen offers. I have also had to modify many of the presentation materials that I traditionally use to make them more 'wordy' and less 'visual' as so much of delivering courses online is reliant on written information. Flickr - carf

    I have entered into a new vendor partnership for this session, with community platform vendor Tomoye, that should provide an equally outstanding opportunity for 'hands-on' experience with a leading enterprise technology.  A community platform is certainly easier to deploy to a 'virtual' class than a traditional Talent Management application, particularly in the compressed time frame of a summer class.

    But aside from introducing the students to a community platform, I want to get the greater community of experts and leaders more involved in the class.  One of the things that I continually notice in higher education, is that many outstanding ideas, papers, presentations, etc. produced by students simply get seen only by the instructor, or sometimes by the other members of the class. Some excellent work, or decent work that with a little bit of refinement could indeed become excellent, sort of 'disappears'; used only to meet the requirements of an assignment, to earn a grade, and ultimately to complete the class and the degree.   The class is so often such a closed and insular environment, and I think that is a weakness in the traditional model.

    So in thinking about this issue, I floated an idea on Twitter, to have various experts from the community help moderate some of the online discussion topics that are commonly used in online course delivery. What I am after is a way to get the students more aware of, and introduced to some of the great leaders and visionaries in HR and HR Technology, while at the same time contributing themselves to that same community.  For example, if we conduct a discussion around enterprise software delivery models, an expert with many years experience deploying enterprise solutions could be in the same discussion with the class, many of whom will be getting their first exposure to these concepts.  Later in the course when we review the impact of Web 2.0 on HR, a CEO of a software company that markets these types of solutions can help moderate the discussions.

    It is not really a breakthrough concept, classes have used guest speakers for a hundred years, and this idea really is not that much different.  But it has the potential to be more meaningful to the students.  The guest speaker thing is not that interactive, usually just a speech and a few questions at the end, and like almost everything else in the class 'disappears' as soon as the speech is over.  What I am hoping to achieve with 'community' leaders helping to moderate class discussions is something potentially more lasting.  Hopefully students will get the chance for more personal and meaningful exchanges with the 'guest speaker' and that both parties and the greater community as a whole may benefit.

    For those community leaders reading this who did 'volunteer' to help and to participate in the project, I will reach out to you directly as the class gets closer, and I have finalized the platform and model for the process, and I say many, many thanks in advance for offering your expertise, time, and assistance.

    Higher education needs to be more 'open', and this is for me, a small step in that direction.








    ERP and the Ford Taurus

    Ah, 1997.

    Elton John's Candle in the Wind was on the charts, you saw Titanic two or three times,  and one of America's top selling cars was the Ford Taurus.  Maybe you bought one, or more likely had one as a rental car. I swear I drove a Ford Taurus something like 72 weeks in a row when I was still in ERP consulting. 

     Stylin' in the Taurus

    She's a beauty, no?

    You know what else you might have purchased in 1997? 

    Your ERP system. The same one that still runs your HR, Payroll, Accounting and Distribution processes.  In 1997, about $14B was spent by organizations on ERP.  By now you would have had to go through two or likely even three significant upgrades, each one getting progressively more complex, costly, and time consuming.  But underneath it all, the chances are the 'core' of the system is still largely the same as the 1997 model.  The data model you are using today, is probably largely unchanged from the original version of the system you implemented in 1997.

    What about your business? How many things have changed since 1997?  Would you still make the same ERP purchase decision today that you did in 1997, when chances are you were in a panic over Y2K and you were pretty sure your Cobol mainframe system was going to spontaneously combust?

    Is it really time for your organization to begin to let go of the loyalty to a system you bought over a decade ago? 

    Many organizations still feel the need to only look to their ERP solution and try to add-on Talent Management functionality, or the ATS module rather than do a comprehensive assessment of the market, the business issues, and make an informed decision about the right technology solution for the business. 

    You eventually sold (or junked) that '97 Taurus, didn't you?

    NOTE : I ran this post, more or less on my old Wordpress blog, but after an interesting Twitter chat with Byron Abramowitz and Michael Krupa about ERP, upgrades, and creaky data models, I decided to run it today.  Also, it was WAY easier than writing a whole new post.


    A Picture in Search of a Post

    I like pictures of baby geese swimming in line behind Mama Goose.

    Maybe it is because I always enjoyed the work of the great psychological theorist Konrad Lorenz, who developed the concept of imprinting, and proved that baby geese would follow anything around if they were convinced what they were following was their Mama.

    This is the point in the post where I should 'connect the dots' and link the image of the baby geese, trusting and obedient, and following Mama Goose to some grand pronouncement somewhat related to the theme of this blog, HR Technology.

    I should make a point about people getting caught up in the latest trend in technology (Twitter, Social Recruiting, or bashing ERP), and implore them to analyze their own specific business challenges and capabilities before blindly following 'what the cool kids are doing'.

    Actually bashing ERP is not really a 'trend', it's just something I like to do.

    Or I could stretch the analogy to wax philosophic about Mama Goose as the leader, and the baby geese totally reliant on her to safely navigate the dangers and uncertainty of life as a goose, and exhort the managers and leaders who may read this to bear in mind their similar responsibilities to their organizations and employees.

    Or I could just post a cool picture of a family of geese, peacefully swimming along, and leave it at that, in fact that is what I am going to do.

    So, here it is, some geese following their mom, a picture in search of a post.


    HR Tech Central - Update

    A few weeks ago I agreed to participtate in the launch of HR Tech Central, a site designed to collect, organize, and promote content from many excellent HR and HR Technology Bloggers.

    By all accounts, the site has been extremely well-received, and hopefully will continue to grow as an intersting and valuable resource for HR and HR Technology.

    If you have not had a chance, I encourage you to stop by and check out the great content from the likes of John Sumser, Michael Specht, Talented Apps, Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Advisors, and even little old me.

    The below list is a sampling of some of the great content that ran on the site in the month of March 2009:

    Hot List - March 1, 2009 to March 31, 2009

    Top Posts

    The following are the top posts from featured sources based on social signals.

    1. Workplace policies for Social Media- Michael Specht, March 18, 2009
    2. Five Things HR Can Do- JohnSumser.com, March 13, 2009
    3. Time to offshore the law- Phil Fersht, March 2, 2009
    4. How do you navigate barriers?- Talented Apps, March 25, 2009
    5. The Twitter Revolution II- JohnSumser.com, March 25, 2009
    6. Bad news bears. Or other unlikely misfits.- Talented Apps, March 23, 2009
    7. Special deal for blog readers- Michael Specht, March 16, 2009
    8. A Collaboration Experiment- Steve Boese HR Technology, March 6, 2009
    9. Resources for the other 77%- Steve Boese HR Technology, March 12, 2009
    10. Performance Review, what’s in it for me?- Talented Apps, March 18, 2009
    11. Here Comes The Train- JohnSumser.com, March 11, 2009
    12. 4 Questions With... HR Minion- JPIE, March 10, 2009
    13. Where should outsourcing vendors invest their marketing dollars in this climate?- Phil Fersht, March 5, 2009
    14. Talent Management March Madness!- Inflexion Advisors, March 4, 2009
    15. 4 Questions With... Jennifer McClure- JPIE, March 4, 2009

    So there you go, lots of awesome content, all nicely organized and categorized.  Thanks for checking out HR Tech Central and for stopping by.



    The Survey Says

    Recently, my organization launched a survey of hiring managers and search committee participants that use our Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to enter and approve job vacancies, post the vacancies to our corporate job site, and review applications and candidate documents.Flickr - jacorbett70

    As we sort of expected, the initial results are less than stellar. Some highlights:

    On 'Ease of Use and Navigation', 65% of respondents rated the ATS either 'Below Average' or 'Extremely Poor'.

    For 'Overall Look and Feel', 48% of respondents rated the ATS either 'Below Average' or 'Extremely Poor'.

    But in answering the question, 'I am getting sufficient qualified candidates for my vacancies', 65% either 'Agreed' or 'Strongly Agreed', with only 24% disagreeing strongly or mildly with the statement.

    There are also lots of interesting comments, ranging from the simple, 'I hate it', to the witty, 'I would rather have candidates apply by carrier pigeon'.  There are some positive comments as well, mostly having to do with having all candidate information and documents stored in a central repository and the fact that some internal administrative tasks are now a bit easier.

    The survey will stay open for several more days, so it may be premature to draw final conclusions yet, but I think the overall trends and tone of the responses are clear.  But what is not clear to me is what, if anything we should do. 

    A majority of users don't like the system, the look and feel, layout etc., but the same respondents indicate that for the most part we are attracting plenty of qualified candidates.  We are making hires.

    And since the ATS is a ERP-based package application, there is only so much we can do easily and inexpensively to try and re-architect it to address many of the user concerns. 

    I have a feeling it is going to come down to a basic decision between spending time and resources on this 'problem' versus pursuing other initiatives that actually may be more impactful to the organization.

    Do we need to 'fix' a system many users don't like, if the end result, finding qualified candidates and making good hires, is apparently not broken?