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 Salesforce.com 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
Source: McKinsey Quarterly : Five trends that would change Business Technology in 2009 : Spring 2009.
“The War for Talent never ended …it has just begun in ways we cannot imagine or comprehend.”
Increasingly, companies view the ability to manage talent effectively as a strategic priority. Yet my academic research leads me to conclude that senior executives in most Fortune 500 Companies across the globe, largely blame themselves and their business line managers for failing to give this issue enough time and attention. I strongly believe that Talent Management is the key to weathering this raging storm of ‘Global Recession’. There is a need to transform this corporate rhetoric into an organizational reality where all executives need to rethink new innovative ways to attract, retain and motivate their people.
Having worked in the niche area of Talent Management and more specifically Talent Identification and Development, I find it a mockery of sorts when most Senior Managers quote their employees as their most important asset. Yet, my experiences with many of them state that most of them are bewildered with the challenges that this niche area confronts them with. Also the widespread belief that expensive efforts to address this key issue have failed largely compounds the frustrations of Senior Leaders. As a part of my project assignment for the Berkeley HR systems and technology course, I decided to delve deep into this widely spoken corporate rhetoric by leveraging the power of Technology. While I begin my quest to explore the 5 best in breed talent management tools available to large companies today, I also would draw on my Talent Management and HR experience where ever necessary.
As they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step so lets begin our journey. If there are any Talent managers or technological wizards who would like to share their experiences…….I’d love to hear from u.
WEB 2.0 IS NO LONGER LINKING INFORMATION….IT’S LINKING PEOPLE…. …It’s about People Sharing, Trading and Collaborating!!!
Probably one of my greatest dilemas in the Technology space would be to understand how best to defined the term ‘web 2.0’..should i call it a new age business revolution, a complicated web of IT jargons or the next generation of web development and design..or may be all of the 3. Call it by any of the 3 names, Web 2.0 is changing our lives in ways we cannot comprehend or simply put understand 🙂 Can you imagine a day without Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Wikis and you begin to unfold the story behind the increasing success of Web 2.0. A story about sharing and collaboration on a scale never seen before. Lev Grossnan in the TIME magazine ‘Person of the Year: YOU’ refered to the Web 2.0 as revolution that was about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. I agree with him in terming it as a knowledge sharing collaborative technology that was all about about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing like in case of Twitter, Blogs and the various wikis available on the net. Simply put it is about how Web 2.0 will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
For additional information on how you can make Web 2.0 work for you and your company, the following articles would be handy.
It has become trite to say that Human resources has been at the proverbial crossroads—between demonstrating strategic value and providing traditional Human Resources (HR) services. Last week as a part of the UC Berkeley curriculum, I was asked to pen my thoughts down on the article ‘System of Record’ and all of a sudden the views expressed in it appeared as a resounding board to me. It led me to ask myself – If traditional HR isn’t a business imperative then what is? What’s the future of HR? Rumbling through loads of articles and journals, reflecting on my prior work experience and numerous interationc with business managers, I percieve the following 3 aspects that would take HR to the next level.
– Concentrate on Strategic HR and Talent Management and automate Administrative HR.
Having worked in the profession for over 5 years now, I agree with various thought leaders and practitions in the function that over the last decade, significant strides have been made in improving service delivery and reducing time spent on administrative transactional work. However, when it comes to providing more value to the business, we in the function are often accussed of falling short of delivering business value. I agree with Naomi Bloom that our obsession with the transactional HR work cannot substitute the business need for focussing on talent identification and management.
According to me both traditional (adminsitrative) HR needs to be catered to but it’s the business imperaive of Talent Management that needs our greatest focus and attention. In my previous company, we used PeopleSoft HCM for our system of record or primary source of employee data repository which once implemented was an employee & manager initiated self service process. While it provided all the necessary data for any analytics, business decision making, Senior Management dashboards and the suite of Talent Management Business Intelligence tool – Hyperion, it didn’t cater to the needs of strategic HRM. The Senior Leaders including the CFO, CEOs and Business Directors would recieved a snapshot of all critical employee analytics on their respective dashboards required to make strategic decisions.
2. Focuss on business deliverables and outcomes rather than what the HR function does.
There is also a growing need for HR to focus on the outcomes that the function rather than what the function traditionally does. An important dimesion in this new thinking is that our focus ought to shift away from siloed functional solutions to holistic human capital solutions that matter most to our business (e.g., improving talent supply, increasing workforce performance, or ensuring that the business has the capabilities it needs to deliver on its strategy). My previous experience allows me to coroborate on this point in a two-fold manner. Our Hyperion BI tool allowed us to integrate our business ERPs like SAP SCM, Oracle Financials with our HCM systems – PeopleSof HCM, Portal and Enterprise Learning Solutions thus giving us HR Analytics that encompassed business dynamics such as productivity matrix, cost to company, compensation- market fitment data etc. The second point, our Job Descriptions defined according to the Hay methodology focussed on Role Accountabilities and Outcomes. This strategy allowed us to have a greater external focus around the business strategy, its customers, and investors rather than a siloed intrinsic approach that most companies have.
3. HR must learn to think more like the business:
Clearly, as Hewitt mentions it in their study -‘Next gen HR: Breakthrough Ideas for delivering business value’ , workforce issues loom large in the organizational consciousness. Progressive business leaders accept the fact that human capital is a critical differentiator in business success. They understand that up to 70 percent of a company’s market value can come from intangibles such as its human capital, its brand, and its culture. They realize that what an organization does with its people—its investments in and decisions surrounding human capital—will distinguish it from the competition. Questions that HR like its buisness counterparts should answer include:
An important learning imparted by my HR director was that we in HR need make a shift in mindset that calls for greater accountability and line of sight to business results which was perhaps the greatest challenge for me considering the fact that we were a conglomerate of 19 different buisnesses spread across 19 disparate geographies. However it also presents an opportunity for me to know where HR is today in order to take it to the next level.
For me, these 3 statements serve as guide posts thereby allowing me as an HR professional to understand how my contributions are aligned with what the business needs and with what the business demands from them. I am aware that a number of organizations in Corporate America are already well along the path and some like GE are even leading the way and there is one common trait that they all share- i.e. at the helm of the organization, they have Business and HR leaders who are committed to implementing organizational and workforce strategies that drive a competitive advantage.
The question you must ask yourself is whether your company will join them on the leading edge or whether you will be left behind.
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: