We know business is running faster than ever before, with little to no chance of slowing down. We often talk about the fact that 52% of the Fortune 500 are no longer part of the index, a development that has happened in the last dozen or so years. We also use another statistic from the Fortune 500 Index, where the average age of the company joining the index is now 10 years, meaning it has been founded this century. There is no question – things are speeding up.

But speeding up is not easy and as enterprises struggle on how to pick up speed, the people function needs to get ready and help. Ironically the HR function has been more pre-occupied with compliance issues, largely triggered by the ACA in the US and other statutory changes worldwide, than with looking at how to make the HR function leaner and more agile with the ultimate goal to help accelerate the overall business.

The good news is that HR systems vendors have realized this, and there is help on the way, but before these solution ship in the coming quarters – let’s look at what the criteria for a successful next generation HR product should be:

Let’s look at the first three of them in this blog post – more to come later:

Business User

Many generations of HR software have been written with the HR professional in mind. And while that was a valid approach in the 20th century, bowing to Tayloresque organization models and following them in enterprise software, it is not valid for the 21st century anymore. Business users don’t have the time to walk by the HR professional for a chat, weekly 1 to 1s are history and in general business users are not necessarily looking forward to work with HR. And the reason is at hand – business users have to move faster, but HR is not, so intuitively they tend to cater to human nature and start to avoid what is not helping them. No business line user is primarily paid for their job to ensure compliance, but to ensure business results through leadership of the people in their team. In consequence it means that next generation HR software is not designed and built for HR professionals – but for the business users who manage people. Automation for the HR professionals is then the next step. So when looking at the next generation of HR software, look for the support of the business user.

BigData enabled

We are witnessing a fundamental change in the computing model that is applied to software problems. In the past the compute model was characterized by sparse resources, which by today is part of the history. Specifically to BigData it means that enterprises can store all their existing data again, in BigData clusters, for a fraction of the cost, with the benefit of more in depth analysis, even not knowing what questions they may ask down the road. So not only can new insights be found, but BigData solutions offer business users for the first time the re-assurance to be able to ask any questions and chase any potential insight that may pop up in the future. That is of tremendous value, especially when considering both acceleration and uncertainty enterprises face. So make sure your next generation of HR software takes advantage of BigData capabilities.

‘True’ Analytics

A lot of talk happens on analytics these days, but business users should be aware of very little software that is called ‘analytics’ does true analytics. And with that I refer to either taking an action or make a recommendation (read my blog post here). A chart, visualization, dashboard does not do that, it’s back to the human to make the decision. But confronted with a need to make more decisions in less times, ‘true’ analytics are the solution for business users that have to execute faster. So equally make sure that when you make decisions for next generation HR software – that it enables ‘true’ analytics. Because at the end you don’t want business users start downloading data in spreadsheets and upload them to some (maybe questionable) analytical insight web sites.

Stay tuned for Part II.


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