On the technology front, almost every product and service associated with HR today is branded and sold under the term "talent management".
Seven years ago (2005), companies were rushing to buy talent management applications, such as recruitment and performance management, with the simple task of automating existing manual processes. During the rush to implement the latest and greatest talent management technology, companies ignored their business processes, resulting in technology that often automated broken and siloed processes.
In 2007, leading HR executives and other buyers of talent management were demanding a more integrated, user friendly application that provides a ’single view of talent’. Such a view means the ability to compare external and internal talent, align pay and performance, and create career development and succession plans, based on competencies, performance and potential.
Fast forward to 2012, human resources departments are going mobile, recruiters are embracing social networks, managers are coping with increasingly virtual workforces and a hot market for HR technology mergers and acquisitions is emerging. One of which happened at SAP with the acquisition of Success Factors.
The talent management market is defined by three emerging trends -- The adoption of the ’suite’, a continued focus on usability and the mass acceptance of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
Although the focus of talent management varies by company and industry, a growing priority is succession planning. In previous studies, most succession planning efforts revolved around executive and senior management succession. Today, organizations are focusing on succession planning as a key area of investment and have expanded the target to middle management and key, pivotal talent. On the same front, SAP, after its acquisition of Success Factors, is in the stage of a pilot run of Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP). The pilot run will follow the global rollout. SWP aims at striking the right chord in terms of workforce by building talent pipeline for the mid and long-term vision of SAP. Managers at each level will have the tools to communicate strategy and processes company-wide while coaching their employees, developing talent internally, and encouraging collaboration.
In the time to come, more web-based or "cloud" HR apps would be used across areas of HR. They shall dig deeper into analytics. Other trends will include mobile devices like iPAD, iPhone gaining importance. SAP has taken a step in this direction through the launch of “Bring Your Own Device” program. Social recruiting by using applications of Facebook and LinkedIn will gain pace. HR technology spending shall increase and with this will follow the industry witnessing more high profile deals.
The new philosophy of ROI says that the things that are most difficult to measure, matter the most. There are many direct and indirect benefits of implementing new technology. In most cases we are clearly measuring the direct impact; say for example, reduced cost due to implementation of software to track employee performance. While the indirect value driver would be improved employee morale and effort, resulting in an indirect ROI.
Therefore, it is important for companies, before jumping into tangible benefits, to have a look at intangible benefits offered by the technology. And these intangibles often exceed and are more valuable to company than the tangible savings and improvements.