A Few Observations from HR Tech Conf 2017

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After spending the last few days in Vegas at the HR Tech Conference, and feeling a wee bit tired (a little sleep deprived maybe??), here are a few off-the-cuff observations: 

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the new black. Many are talking about it, some vendors even brought, interviewed, and touted robots and Alexa-style chatbots (yet the puppies on the show floor were still much more to my liking).  What's clear is there will be companies with true capabilities, and others whose marketing teams are just swimming with the current - and trying to keep up with the flow. 

  • It reminds me of the HR/people/workforce analytics storyline which really gained speed 4 or 5 years ago. Everyone needed to jump onto it then as it was the latest trend (don't get me going on why better reporting and analytics wasn't delivered to HR 20+ years ago like in other business functions). However, there are still very few with true capabilities for the people analytics which organizations are truly looking for.
  • I expect AI will follow the same track.

People Analytics is still a critical need. From an analytics perspective - the universal need to connect data from disparate HR, people and productivity sources, consolidated and prepared into a single view of the truth, which powerfully feeds analytics, dashboards and reporting to RUN THE PEOPLE SIDE OF YOUR BUSINESS DAY-TO-DAY, is still there.

  • While our wheelhouse at PeopleInsight are companies in the 500-5,000 employee zone, the need extends from Fortune 100s to a-few-hundred-person family owned businesses. I have the business cards to prove it.

Just as there is no city quite like Vegas, there is no show like this in the HR tech world. The immense investment and monolithic booths (which likely have a 3 year shelf life) are really quite amazing and nothing short of design mastery to draw new and existing customers in. Walking the Expo Hall left me with these questions: 

  • What's the right balance between investing in customer success to retain customers, or a massive booth to win new?
  • And what does it tell you about a company that has a massive, slick customer reception center at an expo, and poor customer retention?
  • But why still, when I ask attendees what systems they run, do they roll their eyes and frequently say "...but we won't be running XYZ for long"?
  • This is a great reminder of where investment balance for an HR Tech company needs to be looked at critically.

So many questions for the overnight flight home :)

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