What Lies Beneath: The Why of HR Tech in 2012

Does technology emerge to fill a business need – say, serving customers better – or is technical innovation driven largely by cost pressures? Does a completely external, unknowable force influence the development of disruptive technologies? Was it foreseeable Jeff Bezos would disrupt big-box stores and consumer brands with a web site, when most brands had a web site? Was it predictable Steve Jobs would turn the music industry on its head with a digital music player, when everyone already had a Sony Walkman?

I’ve been considering these questions because we are in a period of major disruption in HR technology. Of course, this makes me very happy but it also brings to mind so many unanswered questions. Conventional wisdom may say technologies emerge in response to a raw desire for innovation, but in fact business reality tells me that innovation is a byproduct of the need to reduce costs and streamline business processes – in other words, attempts to automate daily processes – whether social or otherwise. Perhaps nowhere is this easier to see than in the emergence of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Cloud technologies aimed at solving HR and Workplace challenges.

For many Leaders and HR practitioners, just talking about innovation is not the way to advocate for technology change. It’s much easier to prove the business value of technology if you present it as a way to improve processes and deliver business value. We are challenged as an industry, particularly in the recruiting trenches–with a glut of candidates and, simultaneously, a scarcity of qualified candidates. Clients ask recruiters to source candidates against very specific job requirements; they want to speed recruiting and see key performance indicators (KPIs) and analytics to show HR processes are effective; they need to retain skilled workers, manage and a develop a compelling workplace culture, and create a credible, appealing and connected social media persona and workplace brand to be attractive to job seekers. These drivers require the application of appropriate technologies and the development of HR services to make the technologies easier to use and simpler to deploy. This is just one example that comes to mind.

So this week on TalentCulture #TChat we’re going to look at HR technology trends and leading edge thoughts to watch in 2012. We’ll examine which comes first – innovation or automation – and how knowing the answer to that question will influence how technologies are adopted, and which will thrive or fail. Join us Wednesday night on #TChat The World of Work January 25th from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are), where HR and Recruiting technology topics are in the hot seat. The #TChat Twitter chat and the #TChat Radio Show are created by @MeghanMBiro and @KevinWGrossman; hosted by them and @MarenHogan; powered by@SocialMediaSean and @CatyKobe; and our partners include @HRmarketer@talentmgmttech@Focus and#hrtechchat as well as our media partner TLNT. Come join us at TLNT Transform February 27-28, 2012, in Austin, TX. Here’s a special $250 discount code for all our #TChatters — TF12TCH.

Join meKevin GrossmanMaren HoganSean Charles and Kyle Lagunas for a very special #TChat and #TChat Radio Show!

Questions we’ll be debating this week include:

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