The yearly HR Tech Conference is starting today - so last chance to compile a cheat sheet on what to check for during the conference and show...

The last of its kind?

As most of you will know the father of the HR Tech Conference, Bill Kutik, is retiring from the effort, and handing over the reins to Steve Boese - who certainly will sooner or later install changes to event with the motivation to improve it even further.

But what is HR Tech so far - probably a unique event across all enterprise automation that brings together the users, decision makers, vendors, partners and influencers around HR technology. Many other conferences strive for a similar influence and position - in my view only the HR Tech Conference has achieved, that basically if an enterprise is in for an investment in HR Tech, this is the event to attend. Likewise, if there are no major decisions awaiting - it's good to see how your vendor(s) are doing, what the competition is doing - and lastly - have some fun with the industry peers in Las Vegas.

And the format is equally unique - most sessions are a combination of an end user (usually a reference) combined with their vendor. This makes it a unique setup for your to experience both working together and ask some smart questions at the end. Usually you will not have a customer and a vendor on stage together - so make the best of the opportunity for your information and knowledge gathering.

For users...

... if you make it to Las Vegas you should have a to do list in mind. Start with the product map for your enterprise. Which products are helping you to achieve what benefit and which ones are here to stay and where are you looking for replacements or potential new products to deploy. 

You certainly will want to check in with your existing product vendors, see what they have to offer, what their next releases are, what their plans for expanding their functional foot print are. Nothing solves the systemic HR Tech integration problems easier for your than a vendor shouldering the integration needs required. 

If you are looking for new products - try to get an as complete picture of the vendor landscape. There is not a single HR automation area that only has one vendor offering its product - despite the vendors will want you to believe and buy into their uniqueness. 

Don't forget every product can only be as good as its implementation - so equally look for implementation partners for that product. Listen to the vendor who they would recommend - if the have a recommendation. And you should probably spend more time with getting a good understanding of the implementation partner market for that product, than with the vendors themselves. The vendors will come and visit and present to you - with the implementation partners you may not have a chance to meet and get to know their executives as well. 

Lastly you should not leave Las Vegas without making a dozen or so new connections. It's great to meet with friends and professional connections of previous events and former professional life stages - but it is even more important to extend your network - at least a little bit. And with that you should have a  keen eye to where your enterprise or you personally want to move in the next years - so if these means to speak with colleagues and professionals in totally new fields - so be it.


For vendors...

This conference is unique as it allows you to get an immediate pulse of how the vendor landscape has evolved. Messaging and positioning of your partners and competitors can never be so efficiently experienced and witnessed like at HR Tech. And while you should have a good understanding on how successful your key partners are and where your main competitors are moving, it is still a once a year opportunity to see the whole concert of messages being unleashed to a receptive audience.

So do not just spend time at your booth and sessions only - but walk the showfloor - and do not miss some of the key influencer sessions. These influencers need to come up with something more or less slightly new every year - listen carefully on how their messages and views are changing - as there may well be a chance to pickup a new trend and development to differentiate your product and offering in the market.

For service providers...

Likewise as for the product vendors, this is a unique chance to see where the competition is, what are the messages, what is working and what not. But likewise you should check the ecosystem of the product vendors that you are partnering with - how well are these working, executing and cooperating. 

You may equally look into partnership expansion options based on your impressions and observations both on show floor, sessions and interactions with users.


Make the most of the HR Tech conference - no matter if you are a user, a vendor or a service provider. There are plenty of recommendations for sessions out there - one I hope I personally will not miss is the HR Tonight show that comes at a much earlier spot - Tuesday from 8:45 AM - 10 AM - with industry icons Naomi Bloom and Bill Kutik. 

But most importantly - have some fun and enjoy yourselves!