What to expect from your HR technology in 2015

What will the future bring in terms of HR technology? Jason Averbrook, co-founder and CEO of Knowledge Infusion, and Naomi Lee Bloom, managing partner, Bloom & Wallace, attempted to define that future during the second annual “Great Technology Debate” at the HR Technology Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas on October 4.

Here are some nuggets from the lively 90-minute discussion. N.B: Their sage insights are universal, applying to technology in general.

About HR data and analytics:

Bloom: “We have a bunch of sludge sitting at the bottom of our databases. HR has postponed the inevitable. But now is the time to clean out our tanks because all the new technology will produce crummy results if you have crummy data to start with.”

About legacy applications:

Bloom: “Don’t spend another penny on your legacy applications even if you have a huge installed base. Make sure you are not the last customer of any technology application. I know this is painful, but the future is software as a service. Sunk costs tie you to the past. You can’t be successful in the future if you stay in the past.

“Legacy software is like a 20-year marriage. You have put a lot of effort and emotion into the marriage. But now it’s not working for you. But you know you have to move on.”

Averbrook: “It only makes sense to move to new technology if you get a different outcome. If you buy new technology and get the same results, it’s a waste of time and money. You have to think differently because now you have to tie the technology’s results to business value.”

Bloom: “You can’t deploy new technology the way you deployed the old technology. Today you have to start with analytics.”

Bloom: “A huge wave of new people is coming into the workforce who will not come to work for you unless you appear to be tech savvy. HR technology is not just for HR anymore; today’s it’s for everyone in the company. If HR likes its new technology but the rest of the company won’t use it, you’re going to lose the war for talent.”

About how the world will be different in 2015:

Bloom: “Technology is moving to voice response.”

Averbrook: “There will be a greater appreciation of talent in the U.S. There will be five retirees for every new entrant. That will cause a huge change in how we think about talent. And companies will have to think globally even if they only hire domestic workers.”

Averbrook: “Social and collaboration will be 2.0. And Big Data—combining core analytics with social media—will be key.”

About the value of automation:

Averbrook: “You never get better business outcomes from automating a silo. Better outcomes come from automating a process.”

Questions: What are your predictions for 2015? What did Averbrook and Bloom get right or wrong? Tell all!

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