HR technology has evolved in a big way, but continues to evolve as it is yet to reach its full potential towards supporting the HR strategy. Some key trends are:
Lot of focus on SaaS as far as the HR systems go:
HR SaaS and software providers are answering the call to provide appealing consumer like features that are popular in social media, into their products, including people search and collaborative feedback. Meanwhile, enterprise collaboration tools that offer a social networking look-and-feel have come onto the market. Likewise, there are new enterprise talent sourcing platforms that leverage social media. But SaaS solutions for HRMS have become very critical now.
Newer SaaS technologies are aiming at easily adding value (and data) to existing systems. For example, existing talent management or business intelligence systems can extend their life by combining and correlating new data types i.e. data about the people executing outcomes, with traditional data gathered. Existing systems can be enhanced by outside data types for years, extending the time-to-replacement.
Reliance on HR analytics through technology for strategy:
Effective HR is about strategy today and what makes that strategy effective is heavy reliance on analytics. These analytics need to be incorporated within daily people management transactions and there needs to be unification of core HR data with data typically found in performance and talent management systems.
Extensive use of social media heating up…technologies based on cloud computing to follow suit:
Social media of course is being leveraged big time now for various HR activities and plans. In fact, a mobile app version or a version on the cloud is becoming imperative for successful applications.
More integrated systems functionally offered today:
Systems offered today are trying to value add significantly to add efficiency into difficult processes of HR such as competency modeling or competency based assessments to succession planning. These solutions are being offered at a lower cost.
HR departments are looking at all the above trends rather closely. Some trends, such as those involving social media, have been rather quickly absorbed and adopted by HR; whereas the others such as cloud computing would take more time. At the same time, HR does prefer simple, low cost, highly efficient systems that do not overload the department or the employees of the organization. If the solution based on a technology platform is functionally brilliant (which only very few systems are), it is considered a very good starting point by HR departments for some great strategic HR initiatives – of course very few organizations today in India have reached that level.
The near future will see the following developments in the HR technology space.
• Intensification of system integration through SaaS model would continue in a big way and achieve the best of integrated systems
• Current talent management solutions essentially report on history or “what has happened”. Modern business intelligence and analytics efforts have moved beyond reporting to the need to ‘predict and prevent’. HR would need to begin providing data that will combine and correlate well with the larger initiative of predicting and preventing. A data element that can combine and correlate with every other piece of data currently collected to forecast outcomes is data about the people themselves – talent analytics. This would be a big trend
• Mobile applications and cloud computing would need to accommodate the rapid assembling and disassembling of teams, groups, managers, companies and the resulting collaboration challenges
• Social media would continue to be intensive in use, but may shift from ‘finding people’ to ‘fostering collaboration’
• Most other HR systems would then be based on a collaborative online model. We already have companies combining social media with performance management philosophies and building systems for use
The trend is moving towards building and using transformative technologies in HR. For example, Deloitte's Human Capital Trends 2012 report concludes that transformative technologies, such as cloud, are driving many companies to focus on advancing their HR capabilities.
So, innovation in HR is taking center stage through technology along with appeal, accessibility and significant value adds in decision making/strategy. Even Deloitte has acquired Aggressor recently to complement its capability on its offerings to the HR transformation domain.
We use various vendors in the area of technology. We choose them on criteria that may range from simplicity of the solution, technology platform (how user friendly it is to what innovation it brings to the table that can be made use of), degree of alignment with present technological trends from the “now” to “moderate future” perspective, value add to strategic decision making, strength in functional domain, cost and efficiency improvements projected by adopting the system, etc.
Effectiveness gets measured both in terms of the tangible return in investment such as on cost, productivity improvements, efficiency improvements or quality of deliverables to also on qualitative feedback from users. Effectiveness also gets measured in terms of how much the system gets aligned to major technological changes/upgrades without major hiccups and continues to deliver.