At the recent HR Technology show, there was a technology debate between Jason Averbook from Knowledge Infusion and Jim Holincheck at Gartner. Overall, there was more agreement than debate, both agreed and emphasized that Human Capital Management is about reaching business goals. If your HCM doesnt do that, you dont need it. Both agreed that a technology solution is not just implementing software but requires aligning people and culture with the ultimate business goals. There was debate about how many systems was the right number of systems, but both agreed that integration was needed to get system adoption and to get the right metrics to know if you are meeting the business goals.
The one point they differed strongly on was if HR should lead organization adoption of social media or new media tools. One view point said HR needs to drive these tools since the tools can help solve engagement and cultural concerns. The other view point was that departments such as Sales and Marketing can easily drive new tool adoption and HR can expand the use of the tools once it has been adopted. Although both agreed that use of any technology tool just because it was cool was a waste of time and effort. Find the tool that solves a real business need.
Since there is a lot of discussion on the web about epic failures versus fail spectacularly versus just failing HR Technology had a Talent Management panel with representatives from MetLife, Four Seasons, CDW and McGraw-Hill discussing their failed talent management initiatives. While the failures were different in each organization, they all agreed that talent management initiatives are only successful if the process is determined and agreed to first. This did not mean that every t is crossed, but that the fundamental goals and outcomes are agreed to across the organization.
Under the first things first rule, doing the hard work such as roles, competencies, identifying critical jobs up front will increase the likelihood of successfully using HR technology. After CDW realized they had not done their homework before deploying a technology solution, they went back to routing paperwork until they had a process and supporting data to use.
No longer will an organization find productivity increases just by automating manual tasks, to truly increase productivity organizations need to use extended collaboration to improve processes and make work move faster.
One last note about technology, during the opening session at HR Technology, Tammy Erickson talked about how technology has come full circle starting with Cro-Magnon man being the first humans to speak and today technology enabling one to one conversations through video and instant video chat. Thats a lot of brain power, energy and years to get back to where we started.