HR Technology needs to be thought of as Strategic


[Rob Scott writes] OK, I first need to set the scene….Earlier this year I was presenting a paper at an HR Technology conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference was attended by a spread of various levels of HR people. I did a presentation on the future of HR Technology and had a good turnout at my session (about 150 delegates).

Although the focus of the conference was on HR technology, my presentation naturally included links to HR Strategy, as I hold the firm belief that you can’t separate the two concepts and still expect to get the best value from either your new HR Strategy or your HR Technology (pretty obvious I thought). Now here is the key observation. I was amazed at the amount of people that I chatted to after the presentation who did not see this as an obvious link. They liked what I was saying about HR Strategy and HR Technology and were agreeing, but had not really thought through the implications before.

On reflection of this, It got me wondering why so many HR people still see HR Technology as a separate part of their lives, and have not generally started to question life beyond HR Transactional systems – why are they not asking what HR Technology can offer them at a strategic level ? This is an important question when one sees many HR departments starting on a transformation journey to add better value to their organisations, building HR Shared Service Centres, new age Centres of expertise and the all important HR Business partner. None of these components will ever reach the level of value-add that they potentially can offer, if the technology supporting these new HR organisations is not looked at with a strategic lens.

Not that I’m blowing my own trumpet, but my feedback ratings from the conference showed that 4.5 out of every 5 attendees found the presentation insightful, very useful and thought provoking. Mmmmm that’s more than 80% of the audience who found this strategic focus on HR Technology a “new and interesting concept”

So for every story I write about, I always try and look for some key learning’s for fellow HR Strategists, HR Technologist and HR Executives. Here are a few of my thoughts.

  • Senior HR VP’s need to consider raising the profile of HR Technology in their organisations beyond the transactional level
  • Appoint an HRIS strategist or create this as a part-time role for someone – the key skill here is not one of technical proficiency, but rather the ability to know how HR technology can be deployed to support strategic initiatives
  • Senior HR employees need insight and skill building on Strategic HR Technology
  • Senior HR employees who are driving out new HR strategies in their organisations need to be aware of the positive impact that a strategically focused view of HR Technology can have on the ability of HR to deliver better value to their organisation
  • Reposition HR Technology in the minds of HR folk and staff beyond that of a transactional system
  • Lastly, if you need help, get it – its worth it!