Preparing for Mumbai: Thoughts on Top HR Tech Trends

SHRM HR Tech IndiaBig news to share! Last week, I was invited to present the opening keynote at SHRM India’s HR Technology conference in Mumbai. Not only is this an incredible opportunity to learn more about the state of HR technology in one of the world’s fastest growing markets, it also challenges me to put some stakes in the ground on what I think are the most important trends driving innovation in this corner of the enterprise.

I’ve been thumbing through research I’ve done over the years, and found five that I think are worthy of discussion – in Mumbai, as well as in the US. I thought I would start by sharing initial thoughts here on the Brandon Hall Group blog.

3 Trends Shaping HR Technology

Disclaimer: I usually shy away from “The Most Important Tech Trends” conversations – not because I don’t have an opinion, but because there are just too many things going on, too many change drivers, too many questions and considerations. There are a number of megatrends that we’re still wrapping our heads around in human capital management technology. For the sake of the post, I’ll dig into a few of these trends and how each is shaping HR technology.

Trend #1: Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is one of those all-encompassing technology trends that is driving change in the enterprise – and in our everyday lives. Cloud computing enables users to store, access, manage, and share information via a network of remote servers that are hosted on the Internet, rather than on a local server. Document management is a great example. Anyone with a Google account can store, access, manage and share documents uploaded to Google Drive by logging into their Google account online. Because all of the information sits on Google servers, you can manage them online using Google’s document management tools – with no need to download either the files or the tools. Neat, right!?

How Cloud Computing is Shaping HR

While accessibility is certainly a major benefit of cloud computing, there are two more reasons this trend is sweeping HCM: affordability and scalability. Most cloud solutions are offered as part of a subscription-based software-as-a-service  (SaaS) pricing model, which means organizations aren’t required to make such significant capital investments up front. This has made modern HR systems far more affordable for small and mid-sized organizations, many of which have been managing HCM process with homegrown systems – or with no system at all. And because cloud-based systems are less customizable, they’re also easier to scale, easier to update, and easier to improve. This influx of HR tech users, combined with fast-paced innovation in cloud-based technologies, is powering a renaissance in HCM, with demand only increasing for more advanced tools.

Trend #2: Consumerization of IT

This one is a doozey – as it is the parent of many other important trends (including a few of those listed here). In layman’s terms, the consumerization of IT has two facets: On the surface, it entails the pervasion of consumer technology (social media, smartphones and tablets, etc.) in the workplace. Digging deeper, it involves the transformation of enterprise technologies to look, feel, and function more like consumer technologies. Consumerization of IT is the macro trend that’s behind other micro trends in human capital management such as social and mobile (and even cloud, depending on how you look at it). The basis of both of these trends is the leveraging of consumer technologies to improve performance of enterprise processes.

How Consumerization of IT is Shaping HR

I’ve written about this on the blog before, using SmartRecruiters’ mobile hiring app as a prime example of consumerized HR technology: … “the app looks, feels, and operates like a consumer app. By focusing on must-have functionality and wrapping it up in a sharp user interface, they are hitting on the most important components of consumerized IT. They’ve created an app that hiring teams will likely want to use – which you don’t often come across in enterprise technology.”

This represents a fundamental shift in HR tech design and development: Today’s primary end-user isn’t just the HR administrator; it’s also the employee – and employees have vastly different expectations from the technology they use. They want user-friendly interfaces, they want access via their device of choice, and (most importantly) today’s end-users have low tolerance for the clunky, poorly designed systems they’ve been forced to use in the past.

Trend # 3: Social and Mobile Technology

While the other two are macro trends, social and mobile technologies have also had a huge impact on the enterprise. From the way we do business to the way we find business – they’ve changed many things. Both are opening new channels of communication, enabling us to interact with the world around us in ways we’ve never had before. Of course, this poses challenges as well as opportunities – especially in the enterprise, where information is a valuable currency.

How Social and Mobile are Shaping HR

In recruiting, mobile and social have changed the way we source talent, the way we assess candidates – not to mention the way candidates assess us. As social recruiting continues to gain traction, recruiting best practices have less to do with job postings and more to do with consumer marketing principles. As a result, the clear line that used to separate how hiring organizations interact with customers and how they interact with prospective employees is fading.

Likewise, the number of candidates using mobile devices to search and apply for new job opportunities is growing exponentially – especially in international markets where a mobile device is sometimes the only access people have to the Internet. As a result, mobile-friendly career sites with simplified application processes have become an essential component of successful Talent Acquisition strategy. Though mobile recruiting is still in its infancy, it’s becoming a major consideration for employers and solution providers alike.

I’ll be digging into each of these trends and their impact on the scope, role and function of human capital management in my keynote later this month. Considering the event is two weeks away, I’ve got my work cut out for me! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for our latest research in talent acquisition.

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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