“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 take all your data stored in many file types, resident in multiple systems,  and manipulate that data to generate a full suite of detailed ‘drillable –down” integrated data analytics.

Their executive leadership comes from Cognos (predominately) but their mindset is the same as this writer – getting Workforce Analytics without the hassle of doing the dirty work. Yes, within a few short weeks and at a cost and aggravation level way less than if you built it yourself, or had your existing HRMS vendor provide it, or even worse, having to undergo a new HRT evaluation and selection project, PeopleInsight provides an impressive array of amazingly sophisticated graphics and the underlying data in such a way that the strategic value of this data is immediately recognized as supporting your desire to move the function of HR from “Data Management to Information Craftsmanship”.

They seem to me to be the first vendor that takes this strategy as their business model and delivers an impressive and HRMS vendor independent outcome.  They literally craft your metrics with you and for you. They do it quickly, cheaply and without your worrying about the need for a new or upgraded HRIS/HRMS solution. If you have the data somewhere, anywhere, they can produce the value-add strategic information.

No better way to get out from the rut of doing that “crap” you are doing.

Check them out at www.peopleinsight.com.

PS.. Just to be clear, I have strong and good relationships with most of the vendors in HR Technology. My independent consultancy is truly that. I seek to gain knowledge and to support HR technology solution providers of all sizes and types. I have done so for over 35 years and am considered one of the few experienced HR Technology consultants with longevity and with “street creds”.  I am passing this information along as a “voice” in my field of expertise. It is my personal impression. Any new important vendor oriented development that can bode well for all my fellow HR technologists is worth a mention.  Any capability that improves our personal and professional influence in our space is noteworthy.

Marc Miller

May 14, 2014