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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: 242
Air Date: November 7, 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 0:15
Oh, the Irish dancers. Good morning and welcome to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. What’s going on? Hi Stacey.

Stacey Harris 0:24
Good morning John Sorry for interrupting your introduction. It was as you would sound cheerful with the Irish dancers, though.

John Sumser 0:30
You know what a delightful thing I imagined little green men with pipes.

Stacey Harris 0:38
Well, you know, it was pleasant and a jaunty smile about both bigger and more important. They’re, they’re enjoying themselves.

John Sumser 0:45
Exactly. So you’re in North Carolina in the middle of a construction project,

Stacey Harris 0:52
I am I am so if everybody if anybody here is a little drilling a little hammering behind me, please take care where they are. Back in July. I had a water leak. My basement and it took me three months to just find a construction company that would come out because of how busy the Raleigh Durham area is with growth and construction. So we finally got a mountain here there. They’re doing repairs on my house doing some painting and stuff. So yes i am i’m in a bit of a construction zone but I’m very happy because it is nice to have it done before the holidays when my parents are coming. How about you john? Your hotel, right? I mean, yeah, kind of clean up.

John Sumser 1:26
I’d never heard of a fire hurricane before. But apparently that’s what we were dealing with is hundred mile an hour winds blowing fire, not rain. And so we’re back. But the entire town was evacuated for a week and the power was turned off. And this is also to the next town which is about 20 miles away evacuated for a week but the power turned off so everything in every refrigerator went bad, including the refrigerators and all of the restaurants aggressive. stores. Yeah. And so their food shortages and the you know, the when the grocery stores reopen, there was nothing fresh in the grocery store so all the canned goods went and the grocery stores are busy trying to restock while people are busy trying to fill their refrigerators. And so it’s a madhouse for a while here to show Yeah, like just a few days what happens in town, right? How much we depend on electricity, refrigeration, no water. No, you can’t do anything without electricity and refrigeration. And it’s been a great lesson. And a great lesson. Of course, we’re privileged and the anchor of moment to moment struggling for groceries is not something we worry about particularly but there are large parts of the community where it’s a really big deal it’s it’s more survival you right now that it’s been it’s been in years and years and years.

Stacey Harris 3:00
People who’ve lost everything. And you know, when I was young my family for a while lived in a very, very tight budget from paycheck to paycheck when my dad transitioned into being a teacher. And I can remember, you know, if my mom had lost refrigerator for food, we probably wouldn’t have eat for two weeks. Right. So that that that’s something that’s scary when you think about it for people. Yeah, yep.

John Sumser 3:21
So I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am and anybody who is related to anybody who is a first responder to kiss them because the first responder saved our town and saved our house.

Stacey Harris 3:34
They really definitely I the stories that are coming out of what happened, you know, there and what the firefighters were facing pretty dramatic. You know, it’s all you can do is Dave, thank you. And I think last week, you put on some things on HR examiner about how people could sort of support firefighters and offer some things so definitely give them I can’t tell them how much you appreciate them, make sure they realize how important their roles are.

John Sumser 3:55
So now to the exciting world of HR technology. What’s up?

Stacey Harris 4:03
Yeah, yeah, I mean, as much as everything you know, no matter how much happens in the world globally, there’s always something going on in the HR tech space. So and even as busy as we get we, you know, keeping up with it is one of the things that we try and do with the radio show. So one thing to know, and we’ll talk a little bit more about it is that for those who follow IRA, which is the information or international HR Information Management Association, I’m just for everyone who’s out there I am the vice chair. So this is a little bit of a brochure for an association that I’m working with, but they just released their newly refresh human resource information, professional certification. So there’s some news about that. We also have probably the biggest news in the market right now, which everybody’s talking about, especially on the recruiting side, symphonies, talent, acquiring mash fly technology. Smash fly was one of the founding I should call it sort of pioneering companies in the face of CRM or, you know, recruiting marketing space and so there’s some interesting conversations happening there. We also saw This week that worked at another acquisition, they do an acquisition of scout RFP for 540 million dollars. Now for those who are in the recruiting space, this is not any of the scout technologies in the recruiting space, but there was a couple of people who misunderstood that and some of the chat boards that was watching. This is scout RFP, the procurement management systems have completely different applications. So we can talk a little bit about what that means for them. We also saw that a light announced that they completed their acquisition of nga human resources I think that’s gonna maybe and it will put some different spins on what’s happening in the payroll space right now. ServiceNow did a little acquisition that was kind of quiet. I don’t know if anybody notices or not, but they fired cognitive search capability company called a TV to just well worth talking about. We also saw papaya papaya. I think it’s both I apologize, a global raising 45 million series a funding for improvements of their global payroll and HR MS environment. They’re out of Israel, much more of a global tool to have in the Middle East area, but probably worth noting because they’re starting to see Global payroll come up, and so the mother region and then if we get time beyond all the acquisitions and money being spent, there’s some news coming out about JP Morgan testing. Its Amazon, Berkshire health venture on bank employee, we talked about that when they started putting it in place. And it’s well worth sort of paying attention to what they’re doing with it. Now they’re starting to roll it out. And also Microsoft at their night conference rolled out or talked about a new project called Project cortex, which is a new knowledge management service for office 365, which could have an impact on the HR space, especially the knowledge management side of it. so busy week, less than folks are in HR stuff and stuff outside of HR that could be impacting. So where do I start, john? Well,

John Sumser 6:39
let’s start with let’s start with IRA just in case nobody knows what IRA.

Stacey Harris 6:45
Ira is an association specifically focused on the HR technology professional inside your organization. So this is a session they’re they’re actually going to have their 40th anniversary next year, not a huge Association. They’ve gone through some turnarounds. have events people might have been to some of the conferences usually in the spring, I joined the board about two years ago. And they’re going through and turn around. And with the turn around, they’re rethinking their role in the HR technology space. And they’re focusing much more on being an advocate for the HR technologist and the profession as a whole. One of the things I think we often forget about and this is thinking you’re talking about all the time is what kind of Gill requirements it takes to do the implementations and management, the oversight of all these HR technologies that we talked about every day. And those roles are becoming much more Gill heavily skilled required, have a lot more certifications tied to them have a lot more expectations tied them and a lot more accountability inside of organizations. And so iron is the association that’s for just those professionals, the organization. So that’s who they are their group of about we’re I think we’re at about 2000 members, there’s usually like I said, it’s really really focused and growing every day and they have a certification. So for people who don’t understand what a what an association certification is, think a little bit more along the lines of like a law certification Or a professional nursing certification. It’s not a class or a course it’s more an exam that provides certification that you are capable of doing a specific job. And in this particular case, you’re capable of being a certified human resource information professional who can do implementation managed large environment, understands how to think about integrations, understand the nature of technology ecosystem. So that’s what this certification does. And we’ve recently gone through a major upgrade of it because it was very focused, you know, it when it was originally designed and built on what was happening in the on premise of the mainframe environments and you know, the base changes rapidly. So we did a refresh of it that now includes all the new things that we’re dealing with in the market data, privacy technology, investments in cloud those type of things, and it’s been managed over the last six months, eight months by someone that everyone knows the market or may know in the market, Janine true it so she’s really been managing and spearheading that. So we’re really excited about where’s that right now. So MMOs and what they’re doing,

John Sumser 8:57
she probably used to mean to it uncomplicated Oh Janine

Stacey Harris 9:02
Okay, so Janine Truitt runs a boy now I’m, you’re gonna ask me because she’s got a great Twitter account, I want to say to say they’re in HR. I could be wrong on that. But I will double check and make sure before we wrap up today, but she runs her own sort of HR technology consulting business, too. I met her at multiple conferences in the past. And what I’ve always found impressive about Janine is that she understands the HR technology ecosystem from sort of beginning to end. I think she has a lot of experience in the recruiting space. She knew that so it’s originally but she’s really broadened what she does. And she’s very pragmatic about how she thinks about HR technology sort of environments. And so when we were looking for someone to sort of help us ensure that they got off the ground from keeping refresh perspective, she was probably a probably one of the better fits that was on our team. She was supported by a group of probably six seven other sort of subject matter experts who really helped with the update process. They were practitioners from different walks of the HR technology, space, people who are Part of the vendor community people who were part of their own hrs environment that people who’d already taken the HR beautification in the past, though,

John Sumser 10:06
Hmm, well, this is exciting. It’s it’s nice to understand that there is a professional association with current views about technology, helping people demonstrate that they’re competent in HR technology. That’s great.

Stacey Harris 10:22
That’s great. Yeah, I’ve been excited by it. I, I appreciate it because I think it gives a leg up to professionals who maybe don’t oftentimes get the opportunity, especially those who are in sort of not tied to a big vendor or not like us located and we get to go to all the events and conferences. This is a great way for people who are sort of in the job every day, getting it done just sort of helps you present the information about how effective they are doing their job. So

John Sumser 10:48
if you were an HR tech professional, how long would you have to be in the job to understand all of the things and how would you train to take this class lyst sort of

Stacey Harris 11:00
Actually Good question. We’re so Anja in general, we recommend that someone who is taking the feature IP certification has been in the job for three to five years as an HR technology professional, they’ve done at least one to two implementation. And they have been involved in maintaining or, or managing an HR technology environment. Now getting training for that. That’s the more difficult conversation, we are working on a process that I run where we’re starting to validate various organizations who are putting training together for HR technologists, there is some training that that Iran needs to offer in the past, they do not plan to to put that in place again, because part of the problem is that it is so hard to sort of maintain training content. We’ve talked about this before. And we found that was probably a better idea to go out to all the other organizations who are doing that kind of training content and validating it for them, making sure that it was covering the kind of things that it should be covering for the exam. So I don’t have a list today, but they should probably have a list coming up in the next six months or so we’re actually working through validation Right now couple of organizations so yeah, it’s there’s a lot of organizations out there doing training, but I don’t know, there’s university programs there’s certifications people are offering. There’s some of the people we know in the HR analyst space who put on workshops and conferences around it, but I don’t think there’s a sort of single way we found that that covers all the things you need to know about HR technology.

John Sumser 12:20
That’s interesting. So So it sounds like it’s about time for there to be a standard textbook on HR tech Are you gonna write it

Stacey Harris 12:30
I may have some things in the in the hopper around doing a book but I don’t know if I’m going to write the be all end all but but I but I may be working on something like that. We bought out I’ll let you know, in a few months. I was like,

John Sumser 12:42
Okay, okay, guys, we need we need to figure out how to pass the test now that we have the test.

Stacey Harris 12:47
Yeah, exactly. I know. Yeah. That is one of the conversations we have on a constant basis with the iron motivations. But the other thing that’s helpful is they could listen to the radio show on a regular basis, right. We tell them all kinds of information here. So

John Sumser 13:00
Does that mean I get an honorary certificate? I

Stacey Harris 13:04
will let you take the test. If you want done, see if you can pass it. Oh, no.

John Sumser 13:08
Well, that probably be a good story did I tell you, I tell you that I’m getting ready to do this summer school in complexity at the Santa Fe Institute next next summer. And in order to get ready, I have to take some fundamental calculus classes. I flunked my first calculus test.

Stacey Harris 13:28
Just gonna say if I had to do it, yeah. Wow. Yeah.

John Sumser 13:32
Well, you know, it’s a forgiving environment. So I get to come back and do it again. And I’ll do fine. And it’s it’s simple calculus, but the business of being tested and certified is a dicey environment for a lot of people. It’s great that that I remember standing up to this.

Stacey Harris 13:51
It really is an area that I think we oftentimes overlooked when we’re talking about the HR technology environment. It’s the main And the upkeep of them and how people actually manage the system. A good implementation does not mean that you have a long term adopted technology. Right. So right now, the more we can educate the better. Yeah.

John Sumser 14:11
Cool. So now let’s talk about Symphony acquiring smash

Stacey Harris 14:15
fly. This is the big news of the week. It is and did you tell before this, I will have to say their name was not on my radar before that was this?

John Sumser 14:26
Yeah, so funny talent is, it has been for years, the coupling of the old homeless advertising agency and a complicated venture backed startup that did okay, but was floundering around a little bit. And so they merge these two things. And they’ve spent the last I don’t know, four or five years really getting it together. The CEO is of establishing fellow and the head of sort of advertising operations is Shannon Siri who is better the industry for years and years and years now. And they’re a quiet force to be reckoned with. If you go to the recruiting trade shows, they’re always there but buying smash fly, that’s huge. That’s huge. It’s huge because it sort of reasserts the importance of marketing and advertising in the recruiting process.

Stacey Harris 15:27
Yeah, and definitely, really, I mean, I mean, would you say they were the pioneer in this era for recruiting and they were the first one I

John Sumser 15:35
know, I know amateur. Amateur was the first by many years smash specifies model I wouldn’t describe smash fly as fundamentally a CRM company. I think they I think they work their way into that there. They were much more of an employment branding business. And then once once you’ve Once you follow the logic of employment branding, which is, well, I have a fistful of opinions about employment branding, but a lot of employer branding is that the brand always translate into personalized interactions with individuals in the process. And so smash fly was about targeted emailing in the beginning and targeted advertising in the beginning. And that became a CRM because you have to manage the conversation flow.

Stacey Harris 16:30
You really do and so yeah, I mean, so So these two brands collagen to go together a little bit better, maybe even then we thought just because the brand is the central component that sounds like from both of them. And it sounds like together they have around 750 customers that they’ll now be supporting between the two of them, which is huge, but it’s not small either. A lot of them fortune 500. So this will this will be interesting to watch. Do you think we’re going to see more of these diseases? This is going to technology technology acquisition where we’ve been seeing a lot more big RPO acquisition of the recruiting tool right now, what a shift you think we’re going to see.

John Sumser 17:06
So So this is kind of acknowledgment that recruiting has evolved. And it’s evolved to be a comprehensive marketing discipline and whether or not that’s a good ideas. It’s kind of a separate conversation. But there is a particularly in a hot labor market like we have right now the idea that you have to get your message at the right time in the right place to the right person is extraordinarily important. The thing about the labor market is that when the downturn happens, all of that stuff goes out the window. And so what we’re about to see is an industry that is I wouldn’t say consolidating, but I would say buying completely into the idea that a necessary component of recruiting Is programmatic advertising a CRM to catch the targeted results and you see it you see it with the Murray’s relationship with work day. You see it in the RP do acquisitions, you see it in the incredible success of the DOD people. And so, so the recruiting market is shifting towards a platform that runs the gamut from managing the employment website to handling detailed interactions between people and the company on the website to this programmatic advertising and management of the results.

Stacey Harris 18:38
Well, and then it should kind of risen to the next story. I mean, you know, your comment about the fact that that recruiting is best recruiting applications and technology tools, right, obviously, and the investment and and make a ton of sense. And we’re now in a market where labor is tight, right? But when you’re in a market where you’re thinking a little bit more about optimizing your company and your financial, then you have to think more about sort of suppliers. in demand, and it’s a different conversation about what’s important inside your company. Right. And so workdays announcement of acquiring scout our fee, which again is not a recruiting scout technology, this is this is a requirement management technology for 540 million. Now, we don’t cover finance applications too much this fits in the finance application space or supply chain management application space. But I think this actually says quite a bit, you know, that’s a big investment for work day, their focus has been for years on the HR space as a big primary, they’ve definitely shifted a lot of resources over to finance support and development and now they’re investing a big amount in another tool like they did with their analytics tool adaptive that could actually be standalone on some level for for the market is this because people are starting to see that, you know, HR recruiting might sort of all those things that are important, but there’s we got to get the fundamentals of finances and optimization inside of organizations better before we hit the downturn. This is that a little bit of what you think that going in there.

John Sumser 20:00
I don’t know how to read this, I really don’t know how to read this. I am at a loss to explain workdays acquisition there. Except that they believe this takes them more rapidly into a good competitive position in supply chain management, you know, and so so everybody’s got this problem, which is, which is that the siloed point solutions have gotten quite good. And the ability of a customer to engineer their own enterprise environment with API’s is something that the largest companies are starting to do. And so I would read this as a defensive move rather than an offensive move. And I would say, I would say, if they didn’t provide this functionality, what they’re doing is encouraging their customers to develop their own enterprise solutions.

Stacey Harris 21:01
Yeah, I think I would agree that this is much more of their their banking on that, you know, finance and supply chain is a base where we are starting to shift right now you don’t want to be behind the eight ball once the market starts to shift right workday was at the perfect place when core HR message started just yet 10 years ago, you’ve got to be ahead of that curve if you want to make anything out of it. Right. That’s right.

John Sumser 21:23
That’s right. That’s right. And so so when I say defensive, that’s what I that’s what I really mean is if you if you’re gonna stay out in front, you have to understand where it’s going. And you have to be there before somebody could work or something together.

Stacey Harris 21:39
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Well, and and probably the person that the company that might be the most competitive in putting something together would be ServiceNow. Right, we’ve got a conversation here about ServiceNow acquiring Now, granted, ServiceNow is not going to put out a finance system, but they are definitely trying to make the case that they are a layer or big component of your enterprise application. environment they’ve acquired a cognitive search capabilities organization called a TV. Oh, and this, I think, didn’t get a lot of press and I don’t think a lot of people talked about it. I think I saw George Larry put a little comment on about a couple other people mentioned it but most people sort of just as you were talking about all the other things going on in the HR space this week, I think this one is bigger than most people are giving it credit for. This is definitely a space where we are seeing service now has its own platform as a service, no offering it definitely has workflow tool technology, they are they are coming on strong thing. We can be your enterprise platform at some level.

John Sumser 22:35
So you might have to help me here a little bit as I understand service. Now. They’re kind of a layer that sits on top of an enterprise tool. Is that is that right?

Stacey Harris 22:46
I would say yes. That their workflow tool, they sit on top and then sit in between the kind of like that that kind of like throw the glue on it, it kind of gets into the correct kind of thing, right? They they have a lot of work to workflow capabilities, they have case may Management technologies, they have tools from first sort of at least tracking your architecture a little bit, right. They also have built out their own as I said platform as a service. They have the the now platform as they’re calling it, right, which is the ability to sort of build the trend to sort of take the same approach, I think a little bit as with force calm did, which is build little applications off of this and around this. So yeah, they’re a layer above it. But but not just sitting on top. I think they’re trying to get into all the cracks, the places where the other systems don’t fit as well, right neatly together.

John Sumser 23:32
Interesting. I think. I think that service now is a company to watch like nobody you’ve ever watched before.

Stacey Harris 23:42
Yeah, and a reminder, and then last week, we talked about the fact that they got a new CEO, right, which is McDermott who came from the sap environment. So yeah, so they not only are they doing all this work, but they’re also sort of bringing in some heavy hitters to lead them through this conversation right now. Yeah.

John Sumser 24:02
So we got time for one more what are we going to do?

Stacey Harris 24:04
Um, well, I mean, what do you think about JP Morgan’s talking about testing? It’s Amazon Berkshire Health Center on bank employees, they basically rolling out to looks like to about 30,000 workers in Ohio and Arizona. Their new its new health care plans run by signal. Right. But it’s on their new sort of platform, I guess is this is as I’m understanding it, which will have better ways for people to understand their healthcare options, create a better connection with doctors do it and will give people the ability to sort of not have to do cocaine to get money back for being and wellness programs are tying together a lot of the things that we’ve been talking about bits and pieces are on benefits, the benefits of wellness and you know, you know, decision making for organizations. And they’re saying thinking they can save considerable amounts of money by doing this over What other organizations are paying their for their benefit? approaches? What do you think about this, john is this?

John Sumser 25:06
I think this is this is really the same, same conversation as we were having about service now sitting on top of all sorts of other activity and being the interface. What what they’re saying here is that is that the, the healthcare marketplace is so fractured, that that it’s the marketplace that inhibits effective delivery of healthcare. And so if you treat it as an information integration problem, you get a long way towards solving it. And this is this is, you know, I’m lucky to have Kaiser as my health care provider. So all of my healthcare records are all in one file and every doctor can look at it and it moves quickly to the system. The meds are tracked all the way to everybody who prescribed something is called Check by somebody else, that sort of service level is attainable with Blue Cross Blue Shield or something like that, where you just are sort of shopping at a mall that doesn’t have any department stores. And so the idea here is that you can get that single point of contact integrated experience by having the marketplace be responsible for data integration. And I think it’s I think it’s a powerful idea. It’s a very, very powerful idea. And it puts these companies JPMorgan Chase and Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway at the front end of the cash flow for the healthcare industry, which is like a third of the third of the product gets spent on that. So they say it’s a nonprofit initiative. But none of these are not. These are banks and Amazon.

Stacey Harris 26:57
I think when when they say non profit What they’re saying is that their goal is that this will save the company because you’re already spending so much money in this space. Right? So with the company and employees money, but it will it’s gonna you know that savings will come out of other places and I think part of this might be that we’re going to see not only efficiencies kind of plays but a little bit of a, you know, arm twisting of the pharmaceutical but other industries where those prices are continuing to go up, right? Yep. Oh, it’s been a busy week. Lots of stuff going on, john,

John Sumser 27:28
W hat a great conversation. Thanks for taking the time to do this, Stacey and thanks, everybody, for listening in. Thanks, everyone. You’ve been listening to HR tech weekly one step closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser and we will see you here next week. Bye. Bye now.

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