“I DIDN’T GET INTO HR TO DO THIS CRAP!” Inside the mind of an HR Technology Executive.

So, you’re in HR. Maybe working in the vast realm of HR administration performing or overseeing a wide variety of day to day operations carrying out such activities as performance management, succession plan programs, benefits administration, even payroll record keeping. Most likely you are interacting with your company’s HR technology underpinnings whatever they may be: a large ERP (such as from SAP or Oracle/PeopleSoft), an integrated with Payroll HRMS (such as from Ultimate or Workday), a best of breed HRIS with or without Payroll (ADP, Ceridian, PeopleStrategy and many others), or a niche application related to Recruiting and Talent management. Whatever the type of system(s), it is a good bet that you are needing to move data between and among systems and other files – and have to deal with excel inputs and outputs and other customized data aggregations. Sadly, this effort is, more often than not, time intense and frustrating. And it is work that by no means results in anything of a strategic value to your company. After all when do spreadsheets or columns of old static data do that? Maybe your thoughts go something like this: Darn, I am so frustrated, even bored with this job (Your mindset echoes the title of this missive). After all I  have read in many places  about the need for HR to be able to prove and show Value, to anticipate C-level concerns, to be ”Heroic”, to seek “Clout” and  to leverage technology’s best practices and features (such as Employee and Manager Self Service, workflow, effective reporting)  and yes, to generate  forward projections and trending, I seem stuck.  Forget BIG DATA, that’s out of my expertise, seems to be only about humongous and multiple data files, including social media. I will let others focus on that, those darn hot shot recent graduates and social scientists.  I am not sure it even applies to what I want to do with my job here in Human Resource. Oh my, I am at a barrier, I sense this.  Yes, I think I have been able to use the technology that I have available to me to the best of my abilities. Yep, I still have to deal with file imports and exports, data mapping, etc. I have been about to cut cycle time, and have reduced steps in some workflows. In fact I created a bunch of template reports and announced them internally. I even added some simple Social Media interaction to my HR portal portion of my company’s website. And yes, HR is less hands on – doing less “administrivia”. My staff is taking a greater role in policy and program planning.  But am I and my group considered a strategic partner? a valuable business partner?  a member of the Advisory Committee?  Can I ever be elevated to C-level status? Hmmm, doubtful, at least in the foreseeable future. Nope, just got to keep those reports and HR programs running smoothly.  So, I’m in a rut, frustrated, my time is spent watching over data cleansing, data transfers, building reports and making them available. Feedback is minimal. Phones don’t ring much. My internal visibility is ebbing. What do I need? Why did I get into HR in the first place? To be a data manager? No. I (my Department) needs something that is innovative, eye catching and even more importantly, meaningful. Something that raises my personal profile and the influence of the HR function within this company of mine.  Aha, Workforce Analytics – all the rage. That’s the ticket!  But how? My current environment is a mess. Many technologies, files, sub systems, Excel outputs. Nothing connected, nothing integrated. The data is here somewhere, possibly in systems I don’t even have access to, thus not easy to capture and even worse, almost impossible to combine and then generate some kind of meaningful output, no less a “dashboard” which might be of interest to the higher ups to see and understand at a glance.  How can I do that without a whole new HRMS? or at least an upgrade or add on? Gee, another multi year implementation? A new HRT solution provider? I have no un- accounted for budget funding.  OMG.  No way. What the @#@#&*!!@!!!!!  Yes, there is a way.  Well, my fellow HR Technologists, I have some good news. I recently came across a new Workforce Analytics vendor – in Ottawa, Canada. PeopleInsight, that offers a remarkable new capability. With their approach and algorithms, you are no longer dependent on having or needing an HRIS/HRMS/HCM Technology solution in order to generate the needed files leading to graphically pleasing professionally displayed strategic HR value added information as metrics. PeopleInsight will...

FIVE KEYS FOR ANY HR TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS PROVIDER TO “WIN THE DEAL”

FIVE KEYS FOR ANY HR TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS PROVIDER TO “WIN THE DEAL’ By: Marc S. Miller – President, Marc S. Miller Associates May 5, 2014. As many readers might know, as a long time HRTechnology consultant, I have had the opportunity of working with client’s and vendors in providing vendor evaluation techniques thought leadership / business development activities and guidance to my clients and for many of the key vendors in our marketplace. After witnessing and participating in 100’s of vendor sales cycle activities, I have determined that the following might be considered the keys to a successful sale for any vendor in the HR technology space – any type of vendor; those offering HCM integrated solutions, best of breed HRIS, large scale HRMS, and niche players offering specific HR related functionality such as Recruiting. These are my considered opinions, and I offer them in order to see continued success to my fellow HR Technologists, as vendors or users or both.   Listen carefully to the business practices, data management, workflow and reporting issues voiced as areas of dissatisfaction or “pain” by your prospects. For each disappointment voiced or dissatisfaction expressed, strive to develop and demonstrate your products ability to lessen that discomfort by showing your products features and functions and underpinnings. Show it. Create “scenarios of pain” that mirror the activities in place now, and then show how that “pain” is lessoned with your product via your demonstrations – using your demo database. Never force your standard solution or “out of the box’ vanilla solution on your prospect. Rather, show how your solution can be altered to fit the prospects situation and provide a reasonable and manageable solution, one that is almost intuitive by nature and one that can (if needed) allow the prospect to agree to change their process or practice, or at least adapt what you believe is the most reasonable solution for them. One that you have demonstrated reduces the “pain”. Talk frequently of building a business relationship or partnership with your prospect. Show an understanding of their business, and always voice a (hopefully) common belief in the importance of a strategic HR (Payroll and Benefits) role in their organization and how your organization and your product will “together” seek empirical bottom line improvements as a result of your mutual activities. And emphasize your commitment to the power and strategic value of HR related functionality as evidenced by your features and functions now and in any future product enhancements (or releases). Show that all your staff, from your most senior executives (best case, your President or Founder) to your customer service people (post “go live”) know and understand the “Business of HR/Payroll and Benefits”, and that that emphasis has been the underlying focus of your organization’s vision and growth since your inception. Prove it by getting similar client organization representatives to speak of that commitment and proof of action to your prospect. Keeping these five tenants in mind, I believe should go a long way in guiding your activities during any length sales cycle, and should result in your delivering your products’ capabilities to a satisfied and reference- able new client. And, if you are the prospect or “buyer” – then choose the vendor that meets, or otherwise proves to you and your team that these 5 tenants are meaningful to them. Marc Marc S. Miller...