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    Entries in HR Tech (220)

    Thursday
    May182017

    Google and the interface of everywhere

    Google's big I/O event happened this week, and in customary fashion the search and technology giant made a bunch of interesting product announcements and made public for the first time some brand new solutions and innovations. Folks in the HR/Recruiting space will largely be most interested in and perhaps concerned by Google's announcement that it intends to launch 'Google for Jobs', a consolidated job search tool (powered by Google's search technology at the core), for job seekers that will surface job listing from a number of sources like LinkedIn, Facebook, and CareerBuilder. And while that announcement certainly was interesting, and needs to be top of mind for folks who run or heavily promote their jobs on job boards like Indeed, to me, it was not the most interesting thing to come out of I/O.

    First, Google announced the forthcoming Lens app, a tool that essentially makes a smart phone camera more intelligent by allowing you to learn about a product by taking a picture of it, find out information about a performance by taking a photo of the name of the band, or connect to a wifi network by snapping a photo of the login and password information. This app is a nod to the increasing use of the camera/photo as not just a means of recording an image, but as a method for navigating the world and its objects and experiences around us.

    Second, Google announced additional places (beyond its Home device and its Pixel phone) and tools where its 'Assitant' app will be available - on iPhones for the first time, on more Android devices, and soon, in cars, refrigerators, and more. Google's near-term vision is to make Assistant available essentially everywhere, and to (ultimately), disconnect or break the bond between the smart phone, (and Android for that matter), and the Assistant capabilities.

    These two announcements combine to form the basis and the beginnings of a powerful service (Assistant), that eventually will seem "interface-less", or said differently, will be accessed via a variety of devices and methods - voice, images, touch screens, and sure, if you must, by typing commands into a keyboard. Who knows, maybe the next iteration of Google Glass, (remember that?), will be to largely function as a lens and continuous input stream to the Assistant. As you stroll around with Glass you can ask it for advice and information about where you are, the restaurant you are walking by, and who knows - maybe see a list of open jobs at the Cafe you are sitting in having a coffee.

    What is interesting about all this, to me, is the longer term implications it has for the tools and technologies that we use at the workplace. Consumer-driven technology innovation has been driving enterprise tech for a while now. You were using a smart phone or a tablet at home, before you ever did so for work. And I think the same thing will become true for this future world of the 'everywhere' interface to smart tools and services designed to help us navigate the world, and get things done.

    Smart phones exploded for work applications because (in part), we didn't want or need to be trapped to a desk and a computer in an office in order to get things done. Now, we are beginning to see what is coming 'next' - after the smart phone, when the technologies are all around us, in our ears, in the devices we interact with, and never more than a spoken 'Ok Google' away. What will be the first HR system to be fully integrated and accessible via voice, image, and even wearable tech? 

    I think it is tremendously exciting and fun. And way more interesting and powerful than a new website that aggregates online job listings. But if you have to talk about that, it is ok. I get it.

    Have a great day!

    Tuesday
    May162017

    The half-life of technology-based advantage

    ... keeps getting shorter and shorter.

    Take a look at the chart below which tracks the daily active users of the most recent 'next big thing', Snapchat, against the DAUs for a slightly older 'next big thing', Instagram - specifically Instagram's "Stories" feature, one designed as a pretty blatant copy of Snapchat's core use case.

    Here's the data then three quick points about what it reminds us about technology-driven competitive advantage.

    The chart is a couple of months old, especially for the Snapchat data, but the trends are holding up. Instagram essentially was able to surpass the DAUs of Snapchat's primary feature in less than one year. It is kind of hard to say what this means for Snapchat in the longer term, I imagine they will try and continue to innovate, (and I confess to not being a user of Snapchat, I tried two or three times and could never understand it), and perhaps reverse or at least slow these trends.

    But bigger picture, what does this 'story' (pun intended), remind us of?

    1. Almost every technological advantage can be copied by competitors, and sometimes copied very quickly. Snapchat had a 5-year or so head start and within months that advantage or distinction has disappeared. Technology, consumer or enterprise, is moving, adapting, innovating faster than ever.

    2. When considering/selecting/implementing enterprise tech, (like a new HR Tech solution), "features" or capability probably should not be the most important differentiating criteria. The HR solution providers across a wide range of domains are developing similar capabilities and features and even user experiences. I probably saw demos of four or five new enterprise learning management solutions in the last 18 months and they all look, feel, and act really similarly. In fact, if I had to do a 'blind' test, like the old Pepsi Challenge, I am not sure I would be able to tell them apart. 

    3. So if technological advantage, i.e. features should not be the most important criteria when evaluating technology then what should it be? Well, I know I have opined on this before, but I still submit HR leaders should be carefully evaluating the things that can't be as easily copied across providers. Elements like the implementation experience, customer service and support, the provider's vision of the future, and the extent to which the solution provider sees you as a true partner - in innovation and in business success. These are all critical elements, hard for competitors to copy, and admittedly, harder to assess on an RFP than a list of feature/functions.

    Ok, that's it - I'm out. Going to fire up Instagram. I heard today they copied the 'koala ears' filter from Snapchat. 

    That's what my selfies have been needing.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    May152017

    HR Tech China #2 - Five Things I'm Looking Forward To

    In a few short weeks I am heading back to China to host and speak at the 2nd Annual HR Tech China event, this year being held June 6 - 7 at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shangai, China.

    Last year's first HR Tech China event was incredibly memorable, interesting, and valuable, especially for the US-based folks that attended, as I don't think you can even begin to understand a place, business and organizational challenges, and its people without visiting in person. And even that, in a place as large, dynamic, and complex as China only gives you a first step towards really knowing a place and your opportunities there.

    And of all the places in the world where opportunity is present, I can't think of any one with more potential than China. The economy continues to grow and modernize, the appetite for new and innovative technologies are endless, and the desire by many US companies to expand both into the Chinese market, and out of the Chinese market by local firms, is dramatically expanding. 

    If you really, truly, expect to be a global company, then you almost have to be in China, I think.

    That said, I am incredibly excited to be heading back to China and for the 2nd HR Tech China event. And since no one asked, here are the five things I am looking forward to the most about the event and the trip.

    1. HR Tech China (the event) - last year's event was really incredible, and I am sure Year 2 will be even bigger and better. With an array of local Chinese HR leaders and experts, business and economic officials, and a wide variety of both local HR tech and services providers, as well as many of the large, global HR technology companies you know well, this event is perfectly suited for the Chinese and greater Asia HR leaders. The event is first-rate, and quickly becoming a leading event in the global HR tech space.

    2. The Food - Where to start? Easily three of the top ten 'best things I have ever tasted' have been on my trips to China. Peking Duck in Beijing, Hot and Sour Soup in Hong Kong, and spicy sea snails in Zhuhai I still dream about. I am going to eat everything on this trip. 

    3. Shanghai Disneyland - C'mon who does not love Disney? On the trip back from last year's HR Tech China I had the chance to stop in Hong Kong and visit the Disney theme park there. It was really fun and a great experience, and luckily on this year's trip I am going to make time to visit the newest Disney park, this one right in Shanghai. Everything I have seen and heard about Shanghai Disney is that it is really incredible and I can't wait to see it.

    4. The Flight - So a 14 or 16 hour flight might not sound like so much fun. But think of it this way - no emails, no text messages, no one bugging you for anything for the better part of day. A book, a movie or two, a glass of wine, a little sleep - sounds like a night you can only dream of having at home these days. Enjoy the solitude while it lasts.

    5. The People - I have met and look forward to seeing again, so many great people that are a part of HR Tech China. Nowhere have I felt more welcomed. Incredibly nice, generous, curious, motivated, and smart - that is how I would describe the people I have had a chance to get to know a little. Can't wait to see them again and make some new friends. Add me on WeChat!

    I know China seems like a far away place, and it kind of is, but each time I go, (and I hope that it will be more often than once a year in the future), it seems a little closer, and a little less far away each time.

    I know this blog does get readers from Asia and Australia and New Zealand, if anyone is interested in coming to the event in June in Shanghai, send me a note via the contact form on the left side bar and I will make sure you get the information you need.

    Have a great week! 

    Friday
    May122017

    HRE Column: HR Tech Conference Preview #1

    Once again, I offer my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, as I have been wrapping up the program development for the upcoming HR Technology Conference that will be held at in October, I take a look at some of the more interesting trends and themes in HR tech that have emerged from reviewing about 450 proposals and talking with dozens of HR leaders and technology service providers. These issues demand continuing focus for HR leaders and the spotlight will be placed on them at the Conference this fall.

    So in this month's HR Executive column I examine a a few of these technologies and trends that are continuing to be top of mind for HR leaders and HRIT leaders and that will be on display at the Conference in October. There are of course a few other themes and trends that are important, but I could not fit them all into the HRE piece. I will probably touch upon some of them in next month's column.

    I am super excited of what is in store at the event and plan to share as many of the big ideas that will be showcased there in the next few months both at HRE and here on the blog as well as the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Here's a taste of the HRE piece:

    As I write this, we are about two and half weeks from the official launch of the program for the 20th Annual HR Technology® Conference and Exposition, which will be held at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas from Oct. 10-13. Developing the program for the event consists of a combination of reviewing approximately 450 "official" speaking proposals, having dozens of discussions with potential speakers, attending numerous industry events to see speakers in person as well as connect with HR technology providers, and finally, attempting to read and review as many sources of HR tech industry news and information as time allows.

    From all of these activities, I come up with a conference program that accurately reflects the current state of HR technology in organizations, showcases innovative and forward-looking HR and HR tech thinking, and presents an event where HR and HRIT leaders can learn, see and experience all the best of HR tech in one place.

    And each year, as I close up the process of program development, I like to take a step back to examine the overall themes and concepts that have coalesced from the process in order to draw some observations and conclusions about the current (and future) state of HR technology. From that perspective, here are some key observations and themes that I have seen from this process that reveal insights into HR tech, and that act as a bit of a preview of what you can expect at the conference.

    Recruiting remains critical and competitive

    One consistent finding in my five years of conference programming has been that most new technologies that come across my desk are centered on recruiting. When companies are expanding and opportunities for growth often hinge on finding new talent, the need for new tools, approaches and processes to power more effective recruiting becomes essential.  We will continue to explore the evolution of recruiting technology and processes at HR Tech this year, with a focus on how modern technologies are enabling organizations to succeed in meeting their recruiting objectives. One specific area we will focus on is how organizations of all sizes are approaching the design, build and integration of the assortment of recruiting technologies that are available. Additionally, expect to see an incredible array of new and innovative recruiting technologies in our Startup Pavilion as well as being featured in our "Discovering the Next Great HR Technology Company" session.

    Technology powers engagement

    Employee engagement remains an important subject for organizations and HR leaders, as engagement levels have remained fairly constant -- and not very high -- for many years. But this challenge also represents an opportunity and many HR technology providers have developed solutions to address these challenges.

    Read the rest at HR Executive Online...

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and re-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, or help you weed the garden.

    Have a great day and Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there!

    Thursday
    Apr272017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 283 - Compliance in a Changing HR Landscape

    HR Happy Hour 283 - Compliance in a Changing HR Landscape

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest Co-host : Madeline Laurano

    Guests: Angela Lockman, Kristin Lewis - Equifax Workforce Solutions

    Listen HERE

    This week on a special HR Happy Hour Show recorded live from the Equifax Forum 2017 in Scottsdale, Steve Boese and guest host Madeline Laurano are joined by Kristin Lewis and Angela Lockman from Equifax Workforce Solutions on the challenges for HR leaders in keeping up with changing laws, regulations and ensuring compliance in what is a fast-moving and uncertain environment.

    Angela and Kristin shared their unique point of view from the perspective of the leading provider of compliance solutions for HR and organizations on topics such as health care reform, immigration policy changes, and potential tax reform. They shared how Equifax works with employers to help them navigate these issues, as well as how Equifax works with government and regulators to endure that they understand and appreciate the employer point of view and the impact on employers.

    We also talked about how onboarding of new employees is changing from one that for a time seemed to focus primarily on engagement and acculturation, to one where these compliance steps have become even more critical. 

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    You can't do any 'strategic' HR or talent management unless until I9, eVerify, Visa Management, ACA reporting, WOTCs - are in line. Equifax is the leading authority in this space.

    Thanks to Angela and Kristin for sharing their expertise and thanks to the Equifax team for hosting the show.

    Please check out show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    Subscribe on iTunes and everywhere podcasts can be heard - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.