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Hosts Stacey Harris and John Sumser discuss important news and topics in recruiting and HR technology. Listen live every Thursday or catch up on full episodes with transcriptions here.

HR Tech Weekly

Episode: 239
Air Date: October 17, 2019





Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and fairly accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused (or extremely confused) and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation and let us know if you find something wrong and we’ll get it fixed right away. Thank you for your understanding.

John Sumser
Stacey Harris


John Sumser 0:00 Good morning, and welcome to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. Morning Stacey, how’s Florida?

Stacey Harris: 00:24 Florida is beautiful as usual but very muggy and hot, I think I’ll actually be happy to head home to North Carolina for the weather, but yeah it’s nice out here. And how abou you, your’re home this week right?

John Sumser: 00:33 I am home this week yes I miss workday rising where you are hanging out in beautiful Orlando.

Stacey Harris 0:35
In beautiful Orlando home of Disneyland and Universal Studios and all the fun that goes along with that, as well as nice muggy weather in the middle of October. It’s actually been a really nice conference out here. 13,000 customers and partners have joined workday I can remember when I went to their first conferences when it was just a couple thousand. So this is, it’s sort of amazing to see how that sort of number has sweld over the years, and the customers are definitely enjoying both I think the the conference but also being in a place where it’s either you can see lots of children and and spouses who are running around in short, then you know 10 times while their parents are walking around in suits for the conference so you don’t get that dynamic that goes on with you do this.

John Sumser 1:05
Ah Orlando, so did you do any Orlando stuff?

Stacey Harris 1:34
I did only to work you did do a customer appreciation night at Universal Studios.

Last night I will have to say I did take a

time to partake of that just because I enjoy getting a chance to get out and see some of those things we had a nice evening, of all the movie stuff that goes along with Universal Studios parks and fireworks and the beautiful light show on the water so so I took that I took an evening to enjoy it a little bit but other than that. I’ve been stuck inside of the conference building so

John Sumser 2:04
did you get to do Harry Potter wand?

Stacey Harris 2:07
I did not get my Harry Potter one this time. Nope.

John Sumser: 2:10 Oh man….

Stacey Harris: Yeah, I, my boys have Harry Potter ones and robes and I took pictures and kind of sent it to him said listen man, but I decided not to invest to that and then Harry Potter won this time. The magic is all about the experience I tell my brain.

John Sumser 2:29
Got it. Got it. Yeah, come so so what did you learn a workday rising 13,000 people the company is the company is doing extraordinary things on an array of levels they are fully fledged enterprise global operation now. What was different?

Stacey Harris 2:47
Yeah you know i mean i think the differences is not.

I think anything but you can sort of put your thumb on automatically for what’s going on for work day but it’s really just, they’re maturing, they’re there, they’re now you know they went from being, you know, sort of, the underdog, especially the expanded space right to now being one of them. If not, you know, the top player in this space right. They now have 4500 customers using their planning tool which is both financial and and they stand planning, so they got 2800 customers in their HCM platform 50 I think if they picked up the top 100 and believe, was the number that I heard they have 70% of their people in organizations implemented which is a really high number because a lot of times we hear those numbers from some of the other organizations they have a lot of people inside the platform, they haven’t been fully implemented yet. And I think, you know depending on how you look at the numbers I mean ultimate definitely got more in the cloud and sort of using their total platform, but you know, definitely workday has been at this for now for 14 years and yeah they’re there now for enterprises, they got quite a bit of accolades from the financial analysts I think this week on how much they built out the financial tools so that is definitely I think coming along. None there that I looked at as much but definitely I think is an area that they have invested in. They’re putting more into their supply chain management area and procurement. So I think that you’ll probably be more investment in in their own D, and they’re still investing 30% in their r&d which is a lot to invest that at their level at this point so that should be interesting to see that continues to help them. So, Yeah.

John Sumser 4:25
So what were the big surprises, what were the new announcements in that?

Stacey Harris 4:31
Here, the big announcements and they have announcements, not sort of lightning large more sort of fundamental to where they’re heading right and they were coming fast and furious when they were doing the presentations this week. So you heard some of their customers sort of focusing on one over another dependent on what the customers maturity level was with the product but probably, you know, the thing is there was a theme to walk away from the entire event was machine learning, they invented, machine learning algorithm and sort of analysis efforts throughout the entire platform and every way they can possibly do it I think at this point. So one of the big announcements this week was their, their people experience user interface, which is really is. It’s not like a standard user interface like you would think like a board or something right and the idea is that it is a, a front end driven by machine learning, built on a persona that they have sort of built from you and your profile that continues to learn about you and the things you like and the things that you’re trying to accomplish it embeddable and sign of, particularly with Microsoft Office products. And it has some voice activated assistance and chatbots throughout it right, different tools like that that we’ve seen with other vendors, they download it pretty effectively and the demo sessions that they were running on stage with sort of multiple levels of sort of managers and employees and different industries, sort of getting different experiences in that environment and that went over very very well the. The other thing that they’ve made a big announcement about this week was their blockchain credentialing tool called, they’re going to call it way too. So we’ve here this I think it’s multiple vendors again talking about putting together some sort of blockchain profile tool. This one is a credentialing tool that will be talked about sort of adding various things to the credentialing capabilities, including sort of payment manner, you know your your payroll management information and your your resume background and your career history all that stuff, and being able to take that credentialing tool with you when you leave. They give it, they gave the credentialing tool the beta test to everybody who was at the event. So, I have an ankle take a look at it and see what it does. They also announced their big skills insight product and they’ve been working on for a while but this is, I think you and I will probably have a good conversation about this but this is a very interesting.


ontology basically is what it is that they have as our building and sort of the underlying and underpinning component of all of the things they’re going to do I think about employee career management, probably down the road talent acquisition mapping of employee skill sets workforce management they’re sort of building it as the underlying foundation for that. It’s built from a multiple of other sort of ontology in the market and then they’re going to add to it with their customers. So a lot of people are excited by that they put on a new org design tool which got lots of wells in the audience. But the thing that probably got the most excitement from the audience, which I thought was sort of funny, but it just goes to show that at the end of the day, HR dealing with a lot of manual work was, they have built their our pa capability so the workflow tools and the chat box or in the in the box, they’ve got sort of in their, their system with them. Our pa capability. Processes into workforce management and payroll and so they have automated a lot of sort of the auditing processes, and the things you would have to do inside of workforce management so that now the user experience for the end user is much more seamless. They don’t sort of notice that they are sort of using different areas in the system because it just automatically pops up because things are automatically being calculated for a sense. So there was a lot of oohs and ahhs about that. And a lot of people were very excited about it. It’s an immense amount of stuff. Not to mention they said that next in their 2020 r1 they’ve changed their, their names for their releases but are which will be spring or summer release they’re going to open up the their cloud platform for programming, so they will now have an extended platform, or in a different way to understand sort of path platform as a service. They will now have the ability for partners and customers to work in their own programming environment with their ability interface to build an extendable until they’ve been talking about this for a while but this is generally next year so that there’s an expectation of that will open the floodgates for people to build sort of modules attached to the work environment and that that might bring some excitement we haven’t seen that come to fruition in some of the other organizations that have launched their platforms as a service as a big deal but people can think it will be a bigger thing with work day will thing. So, lots of stuff I mean what do you think about all this john it was an overwhelming amount of launch information there.

John Sumser 9:47
yeah, I don’t think, I think part of part of what you’re saying is that this is no longer software in the way that we know software. But this is something different than that this is a, a work environment that integrates actual processes into the into the overall architecture, it’s so it’s it’s much more like workplace that is like a old fashioned, you put the data in you get the report out the kind of software.

Stacey Harris 9:29
And really I think they’d love that you that that explanation of it but yeah, definitely not. Like here’s a module here’s an A window. It’s, it’s I’m, I’m in my work environment I’m doing my thing, the things I need to do and it’s popping up or I need it right with the underlying databases, I need to run that. Right.

John Sumser 9:50
Yeah, I don’t think that they’re that they are the only people who have crossed this threshold. But, but they, they certainly have crossed it in. Pretty expansive way and when I think about it when I, when I think about mostly is the heart of the system for my money is the sort of data constancy and the security stuff that’s in their planning module. So, if you’re a workday customer and you work inside of the workday framework. Then you never have version problems with spreadsheets, for example, you wouldn’t have version problems with data about employees, and a whole lot of work gets thrown away, because we’re talking about two different things that look like the same thing, right that’s that’s been the big problem in in organizations and so so workday has made great strides in becoming this next generation of thing that gets to know you better helps you do your work, make sure that the data is right. And, and gives you gives you more quality control over data now. Now that said, I’m not sure that anybody, including workday knows how to manage this next thing yet.

Stacey Harris 11:03
But I think that’s the probably the biggest problem, you know when you talk to their customers and their customers are all very happy. I mean, as the customer satisfaction goes i mean you know I get ratings for the survey and you know we see it in numbers but but when you talk to their customers on the ground which I got a chance to today. I mean, it is hard to find someone who is. They may have challenges that they’re dealing with but but they’re generally satisfied with the customer service they’re good with with the response they’re getting a company, which is, which is a hard thing to build in a company that’s big right that’s that’s often one of the things that gets lost registrations grow, but definitely the challenges if I heard them were with the frustrations with. Now, using all of this that this. This is an overwhelming amount of features capabilities. Opportunities options for how you could use it, the more mature organizations were chomping at the bit to get access to sort of the new user experience to get access to the new prism their new analytics packages their their people analytics environment. Right. They were very excited about where this was at. It was interesting I talked to one of the very large sort of beverage organization that is one of their clients, and his comment was, you know, last year, I was just trying to keep up with configuration like how did I configure security, make sure everything was set the way it was supposed to do, make sure everything was sort of connected and integrated he said this year. I feel like I’m trying to keep up with the data conversation because I can’t keep up with how much changes taking place and how much data is flowing across this machine. He goes, and where I keep it only goes, I can’t manage the pace of change. I’ve got to figure out a better way to do the change management for this kind of a program. Right. And so I thought that was an interesting comment for someone who oversees a very large global, you know, HR environment that his biggest issue is change management now not configuration or technology or integration, right.

John Sumser 12:49
I bet you when you talk to him next year his biggest issue is going to be ethics. And so, what I think is happening is, is the workspace is evolving and about the pace that data is expanding. But what we’re getting if you think about what workday offers these days. It’s a lot of machine learning tucked in a lot of places and machine learning, always produces a rule of thumb it produces an opinion that might be true rather than something real and teaching people how to use that kind of information. I don’t think I don’t think it probably even crosses that person’s mind right now. But we will see over the course of the next year, decisions made badly because people didn’t understand the quality of the data they were using. And, and so that’ll be the next sort of Hill. In this evolution.

Stacey Harris 13:42
And I think that’s actually a really relevant conversation with this particular launch I mean the the machine learning, sort of skills oncology the skills insights, which is the underlying I think most people probably won’t understand how deep that’s going to be in embedded in all the things that are workday right because it. It basically will dry. So many of the conversations that happened in that technology, you know its capabilities to me seemed very really really I think forward thinking and the fact that they are pulling skills from the previous work that employees have done not just in their environment but if they have details basically from scraping the, you know, Internet, and other environments of past jobs that someone has done and sort of presenting them in a manner of like here this is this is the kind of skills you think you know we think you have based off the jobs you’ve previously done. And I think for employees that will give them an opportunity to oftentimes the skills and capabilities. They didn’t even know they had or they didn’t know, maybe they had as well as others. And then it’ll sort of lifted out and give them an option to say yes, those are my skills and know that will and that’s going to be sort of their skills matching and their capability for career management and probably down the road talent acquisition, but you really think some good questions about that, you know, are there some ethical and some concerns, even if the employee has a control there about what is being presented to them, right.

John Sumser 15:00
So, So here’s the deal for the machine learning, driven skills ontology will be right. 75% of the time, something like that. And so and so, for the, for the tool to be useful. It’s going to require that the employees and supervisors take a deeper closer look. Now, and and make up the difference between the 75% and what’s and what’s real, but imagine that this is what that means. so imagine that you just bought a new house. And they did 80% of the painting inside the house. And all they left you with were the baseboards the window frames and all of the fine detail. You know, but the worst part of painting right so 75% 75% accurate sounds super until you think about Pereda right and burrito is always, always, the analysis that says, The first 80% is the cheapest of the second 20% This is often where 80% of the cost and expense lies. And so, so I foresee adoption problems with this stuff, or bad decisions made because the because well the data is improved human nature hasn’t been improved.

Stacey Harris 16:17
I can see where you’re coming from, I mean, my progress perspective, I think, is that that 75% is better than what we’ve got now which is either. For the most part, oftentimes, empty profile, right, because people just don’t invest time in, or they’re so outdated, because they’re not being updated so there’s no machine learning and we’re in practice and I’m right. So, you know, the improvement on that, and sort of the assessment of skills in a different way, is at least a step I think in the right direction, but I agree I mean we could get to a position where poor decisions are made off of that data because someone didn’t have the time or the capability or the understanding to update them appropriately right and that that could be a risk as well. Right.

John Sumser 16:58
Well I think maybe another way of getting it that is is HR loves this stuff, HR really loves this stuff and HR would really like to have a comprehensive inventory of skills for everybody in the organization and that’s an admirable goal. I’m not sure that that’s how decisions about human resource deployment are actually made. I I don’t know that what happens is, we’ve got this job that needs to be done so we go look in the skills index to see who’s there who has the right skills to do the job. I think we may be more likely to get the person who always puts out fires to do that job. And so and so, so, so the utilization question is a big deal is, you have this data. It’s 75% good and right this is, this is, these days it’s always the problem with these machines is this is the best idea in the whole world. And the only thing in the way of it being perfect is adoption.

Stacey Harris 17:56
I think the other thing you’re saying with that is that this idea of capabilities and desire to do something, right, you know, the person who puts out the fires, the one who always gets put on something is because they have the capability that that goes beyond their skill base. This is a great conversation I had with Christian umbrella is here this thing from Deloitte, we were having a very similar conversation about the fact that capability and desire has to play into some of that division as well, right like like, not only do I want to do what you’re talking about. But also that I have the sort of whatever whatever is beyond skill they have the capability to switch or or deal with the pressure of that particular situation, beyond just having the skills and the knowledge and the background to do it correct right is that sort of where you’re going.

John Sumser 18:39
I think so. I think so there’s there’s there’s more to it than this. This is an interesting thing, and I believe we’re just at the earliest stages of this being deployed anywhere so it’s going to be very interesting to see what the case studies actually look like.

Stacey Harris 18:55
Overall I think we did a really nice job with sort of explaining what they were doing because like this a lot of very technobabble who had gone right in ways and a lot of stuff that was under the covers. They did a lot of demos they had a little bit of robot assistant demo doing up there with their demos of their team design jobs are walking through all this I think their customers are happy with what they’re seeing this year come out of work day. I think the financial analysts were seeing somewhat pleased with with some of these announcements there were some other things going on in the market and now we’re, we’re invested into being downgraded because of expectations on revenues but that didn’t seem to sort of play out at least from a know what’s happening from a customer perspective. Yeah, I think that we’re going to see more coming out from work day over the next year on this platform conversation will definitely see more coming out on I think what they’re going to build on top of their analytics platform which is now completely sort of embedded underneath all of this as well as well as the skills ontology So, so it’ll be exciting. We do have a couple of minutes left and we do have a couple of other things that have happened in the market that we probably worth noting, we did see that SAP made a pretty big announcement. Two days ago which I missed until today because I was embedded in what was going on here at the conference where they have basically appointed Meg bear to join us at the success factors as their head of product that is a pretty big announcement in our world because as a lot of us know make their make there used to be over at Oracle. I don’t know my mom is doing she’s probably at PeopleSoft before that and that was before my time but I knew her when she was over at Oracle working on through the fusion pulling together all of that sort of picture of what was going to be the cloud of the future. And then moving into some of the cloud conversations, you know, Meg as well john right you’ve you’ve sort of run into

John Sumser 20:36
Yeah, this is a big deal. Have you noticed, have you noticed that women are running the industry. This is awesome. This is just this is dope, dope all of the key roles driving strategy in the, in the big enterprise companies are held by women. And this is a move to expand that so that product management is part of the deal too, and cut. Could you imagine doing product management as SAP one.

Stacey Harris 21:05
And they’ve been making a lot of changes so Amy Wilson still there, and great chairman is done like mega mega be working closely with them I think they’re going into some different roles. But bear. Meg will be responsible for developing scaling and integrating technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and experience data to advance the evolution of SAP success factors offering towards the human experience management that HHXM I think is their new branding around all of them. And so they’re launching that along with it. So yeah, this, this will be a big role, this and then it will be a big undertaking and environment because SAP at the sort of SAP level but you know beyond sort of the success factors level is I think going through its own level of changes as well. Right.

John Sumser 21:49
It’s an interesting time in that, you know, with the exception of work day the incumbent legacy enterprise providers are all 40 or 50, years old, showing it.

So it’s good, it’s good to bring fresh eyes into the game because, because the existing ways of doing things are quite hard to change. So, So let’s, let’s toast Meg and wish you the best of luck. This is a bit this is a big job and a big challenge

Stacey Harris 22:19
and background yeah definitely we want we’re looking forward to hearing what’s going to come out of that. We also saw that glass door made an announcement this week I don’t know how big of announcement. This is a probably more than I would that they launched announced entry into Italy and Spain, which now put them into 20 different countries but they also announced. They’ve made some changes in their leadership so they announced that President Chief Operating Officer Christian Sutherland along has been committed to to CEO, and the glass door CEO and co founder Robert home and will step down and remain glass door as a chairman.

Both appointments effective January 620 20. Now, we’ve been hearing about some of the changes. They also announced an appointment of Kareena Cortez is a senior vice president of the chief people officer. So, I don’t know, Jonna these are these changes that are going to make an impact on Glassdoor and does this make is this newsworthy I guess from your point.

John Sumser 23:10
Well, These are the signs that the that the purchase by recruit, Japanese, the Japanese company recruit is finally taking root. So, so, Robert Omen did some amazing work building this company he saw something that was there that that was not obvious, and went from a glimmer of an idea to the world’s largest job board I believe they are now. And it’s pretty spectacular and so he’s sort of earned the right to step down and be chairman for a while. And this is, this is evidence that recruit is stepping in and sort of taking control of their asset, and those are those are all good things, it’ll be like, like a lot of, like, a lot of the companies we’ve talked about today, they haven’t been that many a lot of companies we’ve talked about today, there is a what do you do with you’re not a startup anymore problem. Right. And so, so this is glass doors doing that at a smaller scale than workday but not that much smaller scale the birthday and sap has been trying to solve that problem for a very long time. So, so maybe that’s the news today is, if you’re a startup and if you aspire to be a billionaire when you grow up. Notice that the other side of success is running something that’s not at all like the startup that you started.

Stacey Harris 24:27
It may not be as fun as you think right now. Granted, having the finances, probably not a bad thing, but they had a Jerry Seinfeld sort of opened up for the conference and it was, it was very funny because it goes, it goes yeah just doing these corporate gigs, not all that much fun but it gets more money than you so it kind of makes it makes it work so it was just one of those kind of like reality comments you like yeah somebody you know the other side of it may not be as exciting as it was building that brand new startup but yeah so we’re seeing a lot of that that’s a very good comment.

There was some funding but I but you know will there if people want to sort of see some that rigged up that 300 million in series D funding and latticework fed 25 million maybe we’ll talk about it next week if we had some time there but yeah it’s been a busy week this week and just just announcements from from the companies who are struggling to figure out what they do now that they are out of, you know, startup mode right.

John Sumser 25:19
Yep. Well, thanks this has been a great conversation, and thanks everybody for tuning in today we will be back here next week.

Enjoy your travel home Stacey.

And thanks. You’ve been listening to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser, and thanks again for being here. Bye. Bye.

Stacey Harris 24:40 Thank everyone, bye!


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