Steve Goldberg (click for bio) is Research Vice President, HR Technology and Workforce Strategies at HfS Research
Back when enterprise time began and God was handing out the technology dollars, why was the Chief HR Officer always seemingly at the back of the queue? Why did so many of our beloved enterprises become plagued with the clunkiest, funkiest legacy systems we never could have dreamed up in our worst nightmares? Especially when you consider the data critically and sensitivity of one’s employees – their profiles, their health records, their compensation, their performance etc…
So it’s no surprise that the advent of the SaaS based HR suite has been embraced like manna from Infosys heaven. Suddenly, our HR-technology plagued enterprises can hatch a plan to rip out the cancerous legacy and slam in something that’s standardized, has hire-to-retire process that are sort of adequate, and doesn’t require that cobol transformation project each time you try to push through an exception payment. So what better timing than for HfS to bring aboard Steve Goldberg – a true veteran of the HR tech world – to lead our thinking in the space and is freshly returned to his desk from the HR Technology show (read his blogs here).
Welcome Steve! Can you share a little about your background and why you have chosen research and strategy as your career path?
Sure Phil. I’ve basically operated on all sides of HR Technology, so a real diversity of experiences. This includes HRIS and Talent Management practitioners in the U.S. and Europe, HCM product strategy leader at both PeopleSoft and emerging solutions companies, co-founder of a recruiting software company, HR-M&A and HR Shared Services exec, a previous stint as an industry analyst, and advisory engagements the last 10 years with solution vendors and end-customers around the globe. This pattern of diverse perspectives and experiences likely started in grad school, as I first pursued a Masters in Social Work and then made a left (or perhaps right) turn to earn an MBA in HR. On the research and strategy part of your question, strategy work is what I hope keeps my brain reasonably serviceable, and I guess research ensures the strategy work is based on what is really happening.
And why did you choose to join HfS… and why now?
I chose HfS for 2 main reasons: In my career I’ve always tried to be around folks smarter than me (the rising tide lifts all boats principle), and who are also thinking differently than most. A former colleague once told me that it’s not what you think, but how you think. The first time I read your stuff, Phil, that comment from decades ago came back — and frankly that’s when I reached out to you.
What are the areas and topics that you will focus on in your analyst role?
My role, and the themes I’ll be exploring, will focus on both the HR Tech solutions space and the HR services (or in HfS-speak) “as-a-service” market. I tend to study business value drivers and impediments, and how both vendors and customers maximize the former while minimizing the latter. As we know, the pace of innovation and product/services advances is often ahead of corresponding adoption curves, so my work will also try to help both vendors and customers navigate this challenge. Clarifying various vendor claims that can confuse buyers is also of interest to me; e.g., what is truly an industry or global solution?
And what hot trends and developments are capturing your attention today?
These would include what capabilities and innovations are driving the most business value, looking at the “big 4” themes in HR Tech — Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud — and discussing the likely trajectory of each with people on all sides of the value chain, and also collaborating with HfS colleagues on covering unique angles around more traditional services areas like Payroll, Benefits, HRO/RPO, etc.
So what do you do with your spare time (if you have any…)?
Well, I try to play piano almost daily as I never know when an opportunity will surface again to play in a local venue, I take walks on the beach here in FL when the heat isn’t too oppressive (so about 6 weeks a year), play computer chess, and get vicarious thrills from the lives my 2 adult kids are leading.
Steve – I look forward to challenging you to a chess game soon when you can hone those strategic skills against me =)