Wednesday 8 September 2010

E and HR 2.0 technologies


   I posted recently to say how pleased I was to see HR getting a stream of its own at this November’s Enterprise 2.0 conference.

Oliver Marks, who’ll be chairing the stream, has been interviewing Bill Kutik, host of next month’s HR Technology conference, which I’ve also posted on recently, about HR, technology and collaboration.

This is a response to that interview and I’m writing it because, although I think Bill makes some good points as usual, the interview misses a big slice of the agenda too.

Yes, there are lots of HR people who work in compliance roles.  And Bill may even be right in suggesting that this is the main remit of the function.  But there are plenty more who do have human capital / business strategy and competitive advantage as their focus.  And maybe Bill doesn’t see much of these people because they’ve not been a core target for HR technology until now?

In the slides above (taken from the HCI/ Taleo webcast I did this summer), I identify three types or levels of HR technology usage.

  • Level 1 (base camp) is about the system of record – providing basic (albeit absolutely vital) information to the HR function.  This is Bill’s compliance piece.
  • Level 2 (climbing up the mountain) is about information for management decision making.  It’s for managers not just HR.  And it’s focused on effectiveness not just efficiency.  It relates to the talent management suites that Bill was talking about.
  • Level 3 (the summit) is about enabling people to do their jobs better – not just providing information on how they can do this.  It’s for employees not just their line managers.  And it’s focused on efficacy not just effectiveness.


I don’t think Bill talked about this last level, but to me, it’s this which is the key opportunity arising from the intersection of E 2.0 tools and HR practices.  And it’s the first type of technology that I think strategic human capital practitioners can get truly excited about.


The intersection is an important one, and it’s probably Bill’s HR Technology conference and Oliver’s HR Technologies stream which are best placed to help HR practitioners explore the opportunities that exist there.

Tammy Erickson’s slot at Bill’s conference should be particularly interesting.  But I’m not sure even this session captures the full opportunity effectively – the issue’s not just about developing culture to use the tools.  It’s using the tools (and other things) to develop the culture.

I hope to be talking about this in Santa Clara, and Bill: I still think it will be worth revisiting this again next year.



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  1. Jon, thanks for sticking with a difficult recording until the end. But I fear you misunderstood me.

    I said HR gets no respect only when it does only the job it's always done -- compliance -- but is now getting serious about give the tools to line managers and employees to get their work done.

    I may be being a tad slippery, here, but I think that covers all your levels.

    I will say the best software for "getting their work done" is not yet coming from SuccessFactors, which has promised it, but from a small company in Toronto called Rypple.

    Is there still a Commonwealth and do they still belong?

    Happily, Rypple will be part of the "Awesome New Technologies for HR" general session at the HR Technology Conference, which you so kindly mentioned. Along with five other products that I found cool, being a Baby Boomer I'm not allowed to use such words as "Awesome."

    I think HR is a marvelous track to add to Enterprise 2.0, and I offered to help Oliver -- should he need any -- in putting it together. Hey, if you can go to California, you can come to Chicago!

    Bill Kutik

  2. Thanks Bill, I'd love to, as you know. Let's make it work next year!

    Thanks for the corrections, and I agree, we're on the same wavelength here. Not that there's anything wrong with what SuccessFactors does, but I agree, it's these new systems *, like Rypple's (which I've been signed up to a good year or so **), including those for 2.0 collaboration, that are changing the game in this field.

    * = Not that the need is that new. I was involved in developing a self rostering system for a train operating company a good 10 years ago which I think neatly fitted in to this top level too.

    * = Although I invented the concept first! (just needed to do something with it!):


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