Tech Debate (Part3) – The Cloud, Web & Enterprise Talent Management Software

cloud computing

This blog is a dedication to a never-ending debate in my mind that had continued to intrigue me since the beginning of my class here at UC Berkeley about 3 months ago. This curiosity of mine with an insatiable quest for finding an answer has led me to devote much time and attention to this debate for which the answers still allude me. To some it may be just another IT debate but to me, it seems to be a new found reality of the future of enterprise software.

To kick-start our Tech Debate Part 3, a fresh new study done by Gartner gives a technological twist to the debate. What fascinated me most about this study was that it delved into the intricacies of the technical aspects of Cloud Computing to put forth its pros and cos and used very simple examples of Google, Amazon and to drive home the point. Interestingly, this is not a sole dedication to sing paeans of SaaS or Cloud Computing even though it does enumerate the aspects of ease of configuration of these systems to the customer’s need, greater affordability and smaller deployment time frames. The Gartner study equally emphasizes on some of the disruptive aspects and difficulties revolving around issues with security of data, integration of niche products, scalability and global support requirements.

To serve as an anchor for this debate and resolve it, let’s use the power of imagination to conjure up this scenario of a large diversified conglomerate:

…with a global workforce of 50000 employees,

…an insatiable appetite for Mergers and Acquisitions,

…with relatively immature processes for HR delivery (often in an offline paper-pencil format).

What would be the best technological platform for this company to Automate, Centralized, Integrated, Standardize, Adopt World Class HR Best Practices and and Processes across 110 of its subsidiaries… A SaaS based solution or a Conventional ERP??

Pros and Cons of each of these systems has only left me with more unanswered questions and greater thoughts to ponder upon..which seem to increase with greater research and time. However,the solution lies at crux of some of these unanswered questions…so its critical to surface these as a conversation starter and ask the experts on the world wide web to deliberate and discuss these to find a probable solution.

Q1) ….Should the company compromise on dazzling User Interfaces, Easy Configurability and Affordability over Superior forms of Integration within modules of an HCM application suite and Security of their critical Non Publicized Data???

Q2)  ….Most SaaS and Cloud Computing vendors furnish an impressive list of Fortune 100 clients using their niche products and decry the complexities that a conventional ERP confers on its users and implementers alike. However most IT departments in Large Global Companies with a workforce of 10000 upwards choose Conventional ERPs…Why???

Q3)… Is it about the mentality of Users who believe that a conventional Enterprise Solution protected by their own firewalls is more secure as compared to those over the internet???

Q4) …. Most SaaS and Cloud Computing Software dominate the small and medium scale market…are Large Companies adopting a Wait n Watch policy before they implement these systems.

To the experts out there, any thoughts??? Express your opinion through a short Interactive Poll which would take nothing more than 2 seconds for you..but would give me an insight on the collective thoughts of a much wider audience.

References: Gartner Event Presentation by Anthony Bradley: SOA, the Web and the Cloud: Big Decisions About Application Architecture


Cisco’s Telepresence – Welcome to the Human Network !!

Cisco’s Telepresence …Being a part of a Business Discussion and Sharing Conference Tables from Miles Away..!!!

Telepresence ushers in a new era of improved communications and collaboration. Having seen a Telepresence meeting in action, I am both deeply impressed and astonished at the new marvel of connecting people anytime and anywhere in the world. Telepresence isn’t the future of technology …rather I’d like to call it the new reality of doing business in an intricately networked and globalized economy thus allowing us to efficiently and meaningfully collaborate with our peers, customers, partners, and suppliers situated in any corner of the world, across a multitude of organizational functions and supply chains. At best, to me it’s a technology that brings people and information together real-time to foster innovation and minimize decision times.

Let’s begin this blog post by defining what Cisco’s telepresence is all about. According to John Chambers, Cisco® TelePresence1 is a new conferencing technology that creates a unique, “in-person “experience over the network by combining innovative video, audio, and interactive elements. Telepresence fosters a collaboration that allows us to share a conference table and your ideas—when in reality, you’re a continent away. The video proved this point beautifully as it showed us how people from Tokyo, London, Bangalore and San Jose were sitting across a conference table and having a meaningful business discussion even though they were in different continents miles away.

In most large companies like GE, Nortel, Verizon and Deloitte to name a few, Telepresence is used by their managers for connecting with their dispersed teams scattered in far flung places and different parts of the world. In HR specifically, some of these companies are using the Telepresence feature in their overseas recruitment and interviewing processes, training solutions as well as for other talent management initiatives. A potential avenue for using this technology in my previous company could be for initiating the significant Group wide Organization Health Survey – an annual CEO initiative wherein feedback is given by each management cadre employee across the 23 different countries across the globe on the organization culture and work ethics. Therefore some of the potential benefits that come to my mind would be:

● Accelerate our decision making: Whether in Talent Management initiatives or Employment Forums, the tool has the ability to bring talents, resources, and decision makers dispersed throughout different geographic regions and organizational areas together to synchronize and commit on business objectives and relevant execution blueprints.

● Bring Innovation across the value chain: There are numerous occasions wherein we seek the insights and feedback of our customers and suppliers to make improvements and innovations within our value chain. The interactive nature of this technology allows us to communicate effectively to transform our business processes and benefit from heightened levels of customer satisfaction and innovation.

● Scale up resources: As recruiters, we face a talent – skill shortage. With Telepresence, regardless of where the right talent is available, we are in a position to leverage their productivity to the optimum extent and also in a cost effective manner.

● Integrate with other collaboration applications: In a world characterized by Unified Computing, we need to have superlative integration with our own existing video conferencing technologies, Web 2.0 technologies.

While I could continue effortless with this article singing peons of how great Cisco® TelePresence is, I’d just like to conclude by saying that it is leading the way for business collaboration in world sans boundaries.

For additional information:

Workers of the World, Go Remote!! The shift is happening now…

This concept has fascinated me since the last decade as most Corporates started embracing it in new and innovative ways ever imaged. Without an iota of doubt, the internet and its web 2.0 technologies have changed how we work …but more interestingly it has altered where we work – sometimes in the comfort of our homes and sometimes with our associates in their offices around the globe. With Telecommuting we are finding new innovative ways of doing business anytime, anywhere around the world. The Internatonal  Teleworkers Association Council tells us that 26 million Americans work from home at least 1 day a month and nearly 25 million once a week. In fact in an article posted in TIME magazine I read that the swelling ranks of stay-at- homers include management consultants, stockbrokers, newsletter publishers, advertising directors, energy engineers, urban planners and graphic designers. The number of home professionals, which now totals 9 million, according to the Manhattan-based Link Resources research firm, has been growing at a rate of more than 15% a year and is expected to hit 13 million by 1990, or 11.4% of the U.S. work force.

Sans Frontiers – Welcome to Virtual Reality!!

Look! Up on the screen! It’s a galaxy! A new reality sans physical frontiers…Welcome to the world of Virtual Reality!!

It seems like a Sci-fi movie straight out of Hollywood, but within the confines of homes, offices..big and small and the world in general, the winds of change are blowing that threaten to unleash a significant and powerful revolution. This revolution is regarded as the first step towards man’s mastery over machine intelligence. A revolution that is not only changing our ideas but also our relationships with each other.  It’s what we’ve commonly heard as ‘Virtual Reality’. In a series of posts on this topic, we will see how this new reality defies physical boundaries of space and time, shatters our image of a stereo-typical workplace, and lays out new rules for business, marketing and communication in general.

Often described as a computer based simulated environment wherein the user interacts with the use of character or avatars. Some posts describe this new reality as a portrayal of some of our most innate fantasies as essayed in the post ‘Second Life & Ur Alter Ego’ while the other posts are restricted to the changing dynamics of our work-worlds.

We see Virtual Reality in most companies and in practically every aspect of our lives. The Computer Gaming industry attributes its success to it, airline pilots use it in their simulation software, B-schools and Universities use it in their curriculum to teach business strategy and entrepreneurship to their students and Fortune 500 Companies like Dell use it as a part of their famed ‘Direct Marketing’ strategy.  As an HR professional in a Fortune 500 companies, we’ve used   Cisco’s Telepresence and WebEx tool for connecting with our people all over the world.

Admit it…we may not like to applaud its existence but we know there’s no hiding away from it.  VR everywhere!!