HCM Technology Made Simple

If we were to put money down on this year’s most-overused HCM term, it would probably be “humanization” — and believe me, I’m as guilty as anyone. However, there’s another word that’s often overlooked but no less important: simplification.

Last week I attended VisionWorkForce Software’s annual user conference and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of attention given to “simplicity.” Admittedly, I first thought of it as standardization before being politely corrected by Dave Vonk, Chief Revenue Officer for WorkForce Software, who said “Simplification is just as important as standardization. Software companies are famous for wanting to take on big challenges and while that’s admirable, alignment and simplification are what creates opportunities for speed.”

And really, there’s a lot of overlap between humanization and simplification. For example, when applying highly complex labor union rules to an organizations schedule, you could spend more time working with each individual employee’s schedule rather than try to ensure compliance. WorkForce Software’s application actually takes employees’ preferred schedules into account before letting its algorithms create the most personalized and efficient schedule for all concerned.

Simplicity as a philosophy extends far beyond tactical matters like scheduling. It’salsoimportant in design and interface (simplicity is a major factor in the “intuitive” quality of graphical user interfaces), coding, and even management and decision-making approaches favored by organizations.

Similar to how software companies approach most challenges, we consumers of HCM technology think of solving our most difficult problems before trying to solve the most common ones. There is certainly nothing wrong with the idea and it is often the best path, but it’s good to remember that cutting ten seconds from one task we repeat fifteen times a day is better than cutting an hour from a task that only happens once a quarter. After all, the whole point of technology is to make people’s lives just a little bit simpler.

Cliff Stevenson, (Twitter: @CliffordDarrell) Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

For more information on Brandon Hall Group’s research, please visit www.brandonhall.com.

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.