Quantcast
Subscribe!

 

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

    Entries in HR Tech (265)

    Tuesday
    Apr102018

    HRE Column: Getting Personal with HR Tech

    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, after having attended several HR technology solution provider user conferences, I look at the major ideas, themes, and directions these providers, (and others) are talking about, using as design cues for their latest innovations, and are becoming more important for HR leaders to think about and understand. I am not looking directly at individual bits of functionality or capability, but rather more fundamental and cross-product ideas and concepts in HR tech.

    These are some of the major themes that we will be focusing on for the next HR Technology Conference - the nature of the most innovative HR technology solutions are putting user experiences, personalization, and embedding more intelligent recommendations to users and HR leaders.

    In the piece, I talk about each of these themes in some detail.

    Here's an excerpt from this month's piece in HRE Online:

    A major part of the planning process in creating the program for the upcoming HR Technology Conference and Exposition® is attending as many industry and HR technology solution provider customer conferences as I can. The primary benefit for attending these events are the conversations: with product executives about their current and future plans, with HR leaders who are using these products in their organizations, and with industry analysts and influencers about what they are seeing in the HR tech market.

    In the last month or so, I have had the opportunity to attend three such events: Ultimate Software’s Connections conference in Las Vegas, IBM’s Think event (also in Las Vegas) and Oracle HCM World in Dallas. (As an aside, while I do believe Las Vegas is the best place for any large conference, kudos to Oracle for choosing a location with great weather and great barbecue.)

    Rather than producing an event report for each conference, I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight some common themes across all three events. While every HR technology provider approaches new trends, technologies and customer challenges in its own way, it is useful to assess what kinds of technology developments and “big picture” considerations are being seen across the industry, as these tools and developments are likely to shape much of the HR technology conversation for both solution providers as well as in customer organizations this year.

    Here are the three major themes I took from those recent conferences.

    AI-powered Solutions

    At HR Tech last year, artificial intelligence was the one theme that seemed to emerge out of almost every conversation with a solution provider. This is a good thing for HR leaders, but potentially problematic as well. While the promise of AI and AI-powered HR technology is amazing, the confusing blend of terminology, technology and marketingspeak can make AI in HR tech a difficult concept to grasp, as well as challenging to understand its practical applications.

    At the recent events I have attended, one major theme seems to be communicating more clearly in this emerging HR technology area. Currently, the primary way this technology is being deployed in HR tech is in the form of using AI to create more specific and tailored recommendations to support HR and HCM processes (for example: job matching, targeted employer value proposition messaging to specific, desired candidates, and recommended actions for managerial coaching and development opportunities for current employees). These and other AI-powered capabilities are demonstrating how this advanced technology can be put to work by HR and organizations without having to “learn” how the AI really works or hire AI-savvy HR staffers.

    Expect to see more AI usage, and more examples of AI becoming the “fabric” of HR technology platforms as this technology evolves and organizations become more comfortable with AI-powered HR tools. From what I heard at the three recent conferences, AI offers HR leaders tremendous opportunity and promises to dominate the discussion in HR tech in 2018 and beyond.

    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 plant your spring garden, take your dog for a walk, or change the oil in your lawn mower.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Apr092018

    Is every company soon to be an 'Artificial Intelligence' company?

    A few years back the quote 'Every company is a technology company' made the rounds on social media and in presentations on the workplace, the future of work, and in probably too many TED talks to try and compile.

    But while some work and workplace sayings, at least to me, don't necessarily become any more true just because they are repeated all the time, ('Culture eats strategy for breakfast', I am looking right at you), this notion of just about every kind of organization becoming much more reliant, dependent, and committed to more and more advanced technologies as a means to survive, compete, and thrive still seems valid to me.

    Can you think of any business, small, medium, or large, that has not had its processes, products, services, communications, administration, customer service, and marketing significantly impacted by new technology in the last decade? Aside from perhaps a few of the very smallest, local service businesses, I can't really think of any. And even those kinds of places, say like a local barbershop or pizza joint, are likely to have a 'Follow us on Facebook' or a 'Find us on Yelp' sticker in the window.

    I thought about this idea, of every company being a technology company, again recently when I saw this piece on Business Insider - 'Goldman Sachs made a big hire from Amazon to lead its Artificial Intelligence efforts'. While it isn't surprising or revealing at all to think of a giant financial institution like Goldman being transformed by technology like so many other firms in all industries, this specific focus on AI technology is I think worth noting.

    Here's an excerpt from the piece:

    Goldman Sachs has hired a senior employee from Amazon to run the bank's artificial-intelligence efforts.

    Charles Elkan has joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director leading the firm's machine learning and AI strategies, according to an internal memo viewed by Business Insider.

    Elkan comes from Amazon, where he was responsible for the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Amazon Web Services, according to the memo. He previously led the retailing giant's Seattle-based central machine-learning team.

    "In this role, Charles will build and lead a center of excellence to drive machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy and automation, "Elisha Wiesel, Goldman Sachs' chief information officer, wrote in the memo. "Charles will work in partnership with teams across the firm looking to apply leading techniques in their businesses."

    The key element I think to the announcement of Goldman's new AI hire is meant to work with groups across the entire business in order to find ways to apply AI and Machine Learning technologies. Almost as if Goldman is not looking to create the 'AI Department' akin to the classic 'IT Department' that exists in just about every company, but rather to find ways to infuse specific kinds of tech and tech approaches all over the company.

    And thinking about AI in that way, much differently to how most companies have looked at most of the major technological advances in the past is what leads me back to the question and title of the post. If the Goldman, (and plenty of other companies too) example of looking for ways to embed AI technology and techniques all across their businesses, then it is not really a stretch to suggest at least in some ways they are seeking to become 'an AI company' at their core.

    What's been the most significant single technology advance in the last 25 years or so that has done more to change how work and business get done?

    Email?

    The web?

    Mobile phones?

    Probably some combination of these three I would bet. And has any company you have known decided to 'brand' or consider themselves 'an email company?' Or a 'mobile phone' company? 

    Not really, these were just tools to try and get better, more efficient, more profitable being whatever kind of company they really were.

    So I think the answer to the 'AI question' for Goldman, or for anyone else going all in with AI at the moment is 'No', we aren't really trying become an Artificial Intelligence company. We probably should just consider AI and its potential as just another set of tools that can be leveraged in support of what it is we are really trying to do.

    Even if it is tempting to try and create the latest management/workplace axiom.

    Have a great week! 

    Monday
    Mar262018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 316 - Thinking about AI and Personalized Experiences with IBM

    HR Happy Hour 316 - Thinking about AI and Personalized Experiences with IBM

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest Host: Madeline Laurano

    Guests: Bob Schultz, IBM; Gail Blum, NBCUniversal

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve recorded live at IBM's Think Conference in Las Vegas, a massive event that brings together over 30K IBM customers, partners, and employees to talk and 'Think' about the future of work, business, and technology. In Part 1 of the podcast, Steve talks with Bob Schultz, General Manager of IBM's Watson Talent Business, to discuss what IBM is working on in the HR technology space - with a heavy dose of their AI intelligent Watson technology. We also talked about how AI can actually help create more personal, human, and tailored experiences for employees and candidates at scale. IBM has some of the most interesting technology in the space, and it was enlightening to catch up on what they've been doing.

    In Part 2 of the podcast, Steve welcomes guest host Madeline Laurano to talk with Gail Blum from NBCUniversal (the organization behind many of your favorite TV networks, shows, and more), about talent attraction, talent branding, and creating personal and meaningful candidate experiences. Even the world's most well-known and desirable brands like NBCUniversal have to compete hard for talent, and with the increased digitization of their business, they are now competing against more (especially tech) companies for talent. Gail shared some great insights about how they are approaching these challenges.

    We also talked Top Chef, This Is Us, and the Winter Olympics, and knitting.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, on your favorite podcast app, or using the widget player below:

    This was a fun show - thanks to IBM for having us out at Think.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour wherever you get your podcasts, and follow the show on Twitter - @HRHappyHour

    Wednesday
    Mar142018

    HRE Column: Succeeding with HR Tech - Part 2

    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, I continue the topic of 'Success with HR Tech' that we covered first in February with a look at some of the external factors that impact HR Technology projects. In the March column, we pivot to examine a few of the internal issues, challenges, and opportunities that perhaps have even more of an impact and influence on success with HR tech.

    These are two of the major themes that we will be focusing on for the next HR Technology Conference - the nature of 'success' with your HR technology initiatives, and we will focus on the key issues, themes, and considerations for HR Tech projects, vendor relationships, and internal program/project best practices that are essential for success, and that will be covered in more detail at the Conference this year.

    In the piece, I take a look at some of the issues and considerations that HR leaders should keep in mind as they build a business case for HR tech projects, evaluate potential solution providers, organize and staff project teams, execute their implementations, and finally deal with the important topics of change management and user adoption.

    Here's an excerpt from this month's piece in HRE Online:

    Last month’s column focused on the “success” theme while looking at the considerations and questions you should ask of prospective HR tech solution providers prior to purchasing any HR technology solution. This time around, we will look at some of the internal factors that are vital to customer success in HR tech.

    The organizational elements of success with HR technology will be highlighted this September at the HR Technology Conference and Exposition® in Las Vegas, and the combination of information and best practices on these “outside” (or provider) elements—along with the “inside” (or organizational) elements—will provide HR and HRIT leaders with the foundation for overall HR tech success.

    Here are a few of the key internal elements that organizations must address when planning, executing, evaluating and achieving long-term success with HR technology.

    Creating the business case

    Almost every organization’s HR technology initiatives require internal justification, a budget and executive support, and the means to define and secure these commitments is usually the business case. But for many HR leaders, preparing a technology-centric business case meant to form the basis for HR technology investments is not always easy.

    Here are a few of the key questions that the HR technology program business case should answer.

    The purpose: What specific business problem needs to be solved?

    The importance: What is the negative impact or value of the missed opportunity by not solving this problem?

    The benefit: Stated in quantitative terms, what happens to the business if we do solve this problem?

    Potential approaches: What are some plausible ways to address the business problem?

    Recommendations for action: What are the specific recommendations for next steps? Give special attention to how HR technology will support/drive the business problem’s solution.

    Managing the vendor selection

    Once the organization’s business case has been approved, perhaps the most interesting and difficult process begins: making a technology and vendor selection.  Successful organizations process through and address many of the following considerations when making such selections:

    Identify “must-have” business requirements. Recognize the necessary business-critical capabilities—ones that directly impact the business problem your business case defines—so that you can ensure they can be supported by the selected technology solution.

    Be honest about “nice-to-have” requirements. Take care to understand the difference between critical system capability and other functionality that some users may love but are not fundamentally important to support business processes and solve business problems. No HR technology solution will meet 100 percent of a company’s requirements. The key is knowing that not all requirements are the same.

    Understand the internal factors for success. Who will be the users of this solution? What specifically are their needs? How is their ability and capacity to embrace and adopt new technology? Not all technology solutions are a “fit” with all organizations. Make sure your unique and specific organizational attributes are aligned with the technology provider.

    Gather your candidates. There are increasing sources for HR leaders to create lists of potential solution providers for their HR technology evaluations. From traditional research reports, crowd-sourced software review sites, recommendations from peers, to previous experience with specific solutions, there is plenty of market information available. At HR Tech, we will help you understand how to make sense of all this information to help you narrow down the list that gives your program the best chance for success.

    Assess the providers. Once the short list of technology providers has been created, HR leaders should approach assessment and evaluation in a thorough and consistent manner. Key considerations in this process include the ability of each provider to meet your prioritized requirements, how each solution matches or fits your organization’s user profiles and culture, how the provider aligns with your goals and vision, and finally, how you assess the provider’s willingness and ability to be a true business partner, not just a technology supplier...

    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 plant your spring garden, take your dog for a walk, or re-surface your driveway.

    Have a great day!

    Thursday
    Mar082018

    CHART OF THE DAY: The Rise of the Smart Speaker

    There is pretty good evidence that the rate of mainstream adoption of new technologies is significantly more rapid than it has been in the past. It took something like 60 or 70 years for the home-based, land line telephone to achieve over 90% penetration in US homes once the technology became generally available.

    Fast forward to more recent technology innovations like the personal computer or the mobile phone and time for widespread adoption has diminished to just a couple of decades (if not less for modern tools and solutions like social media/networking apps).

    New tech, when it 'hits', hits much faster than ever before and its adoption accelerates across mainstream users much faster as well. Today's Chart(s) of the Day, courtesy of some research done by Voicebot.ai show just how prevalent the smart speaker, a technology almost no one had in their homes even two years ago, have become.

    Chart 1 - Smart Speaker Market Penetration - US

     

    About 20% of US adults are in homes that have one of these smart speakers enabled. It may not sound like much, but think about it - how many times had you seen one of these say as recently as 2016?

    Chart 2 - Smart Speaker Market Share - US

    No surprise, to me at least, that Amazon has the dominant position in the US in terms of smart speakers. They beat their competitors to this market, and their platform, Alexa, has become pretty synonymous with the entire voice assistant technology. If I were a company looking to develop solutions for voice, I would start with Alexa for sure.

    Once people, in their 'real lives' begin to adopt a technology solution in large numbers, they begin to seek, demand, and expect these same kinds of technologies will be available and tailored to their workplace needs as well. The data shows that smart speakers like the Echo and the Google Home device are gaining mainstream adoption really, really quickly.

    If your organization has not yet started to think about how to deploy services, information, and access to organizational information via these smart speakers and their platforms like Alexa I wouldn't say you are late, but you are getting close to being late.

    Better to be in front of a freight train rolling down the line than it is to get run over by it.

    Last note - stay tuned for an exciting announcement in this space from your pals at the HR Happy Hour Show.