Day Two at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago…

Naomi Bloom brings HR into the Cloud

And, for the first time ever, an analyst has managed to write a “second day” blog at an industry event.  So, without further ado, here’s HfS’ Peter Ackerson with Day Two…

Events of the day – ignoring the 12 miles I walked around the Cook Convention Center

Contrary to Phil’s comments about spirituous liquids being imbibed at the behest of certain vendors; this did not happen…of course none were offered, so my morals remain untested. I did frequent The Twin Anchors restaurant with the best ribs in Chicago and where there is Positively No Dancing. There was also Day Two of the conference.

Naomi’s Master Panel

Naomi, of course, is Naomi Lee Bloom, technology guru extraordinary, who assembled a rather formidable panel of senior technology leaders from: Oracle, ADP, SAP, Salesforce.com, Workday, and Ultimate Software. The topic was Bringing HR into the Cloud. The session was interesting in that while most are direct competitors of one or more of the others, they obviously respect each other and indeed had similar (high-level) views about the topic. One interesting comment was that self-service was no longer open for discussion. The advent of SAS/Cloud driven platforms has imbedded self-service into core functionality. That is a general statement, not absolute, of course. It was also fascinating to hear companies that traditionally provided on-site products, now openly discussing cloud based models for core and/or appropriate modules. It did remain for Mike Capone (ADP), in his final comments, to remind everyone to “focus on what matters. It is all about the business”.

Human Resource Executive© Top HR and Training Products of 2012

This luncheon session took place on Monday. While the full results are on HRE’s website as well as in the October issue of HRE, we’d like to add some comments. Of the ten award winners, eight were talent/recruiting products, one was analytics, and one was pure technology. Of the ten, nine were from relatively small companies; the other was from Monster. It will be interesting to see if this innovation gets delivered by the originators or if they get swallowed up by the big players.

NorthgateArinso unveils euHReka11

While platform releases come and go, this one is interesting. The press announcement was yesterday and we met with Keith Strodtman, Michael Clusters, and Will Manual of the NGA North American team. NGA’s focus remains on technology and services. While best known as an SAP shop, they do support other platforms and are one of the major payroll partners for Workday. Their ideal client is global, includes payroll, and has at least 10K employees. There are exceptions, of course.

The release includes two interesting phrases…Business Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) and BPO platform. While there could be conjecture on whether two more acronyms/descriptions are needed, they do label how NGA intends to go to market. Their offering is not “either-or”; instead it is a technology platform designed to deliver outsourced services. As NGA intends, and using their terminology, clients can “mix and match” technology and services and change the proportions as business circumstances change. The cloud-based platform will allow clients 12 months to turn on any new functionality, thus leaving time for change management or process changes.

We also met with Eric Delafortrie, VP of Enterprise Strategy and Design. Eric demo’d the product. It now includes payroll support for 111 countries. It has a new UI, customizable by the end-user. One more interesting feature was the total integration of specific services (learning content as an example) into the core platform allowing for searches across all elements and linkage to all features…thus required training can be pulled from another source and brought into the talent features.

To someone who is not a technologist, it looks user-friendly and fairly complete. It will be interesting to see if this helps differentiate them in the marketplace.

Odds and Ends

There is an extreme mix of vendors at this conference, including some services I didn’t know existed. Two examples: Hughes provides a “break room of the future” and internhousing.com does provide “temporary housing for interns”. There are also a number of vendors whom I have no clue what they do, based on their signage and terminology. A little “cuteness” goes a long way.

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