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HRExaminer Radio

Guest: Dwaine Maltais, EVP, Gen. Mgr. US Operations, Technomedia
Episode: 162
Air Date: March 28, 2016


As Executive Vice President and General Manager of US Operations for Technomedia, Maltais is responsible for championing the company’s product marketing, product management and marketing practices. He helps clients like Sony, Ingersoll Rand, and BAE Systems to accelerate their businesses with the alignment of their human capital with their talent management technology investments.

Since 1994 Maltais has led innovations in the recruiting and HR technology space with the launch of the SmartPost job optimization platform and the Hodes iQ Talent Acquisition platform. Maltais joined Technomedia in 2011 as part of the acquisition of Hodes iQ from Bernard Hodes Group, an Omnicom company, to strengthen Technomedia’s Talent Management Platform and grow their US footprint, operations and client infrastructure.

Maltais has more than 15 years of executive management experience leading product development, sales, product management, and customer support organizations both domestically and internationally in a variety of technology companies. Through these diverse experiences Maltais has witnessed the intersection that drives businesses and their results are uniquely aligned to “listening to the customer” where he has developed strong passions around the customer experience, the social media space and employee engagement.

Maltais regularly consults with senior leadership in Fortune 500 organizations on talent acquisition and talent management strategies and actively writes about and speaks on HR technology topics at industry conferences such as the Society for Human Resource Management, ERE, IHRIM and HR in Hospitality among others. He is also active in thought leadership and analyst relations to increase market and customer awareness in the US.


Audio MP3





Begin transcript

John Sumser: Good morning and welcome to HR Examiner Radio, I’m your host John Sumser and we’re coming to you live from beautiful downtown Occidental, California. Where once again, the sun is out at seven o’clock in the morning. They took it away from us for a couple of weeks with daylight savings time but the sun insists on being available in the morning. Today we’re taking with Dwaine Maltais who is, let me get this right, Dwaine, the Executive Vice President for Operations of Technomedia. Technomedia was recently purchased by the Cegid Group, a French enterprise software company. Let’s get you introduced Dwaine, how are you this morning?


Dwaine Maltais: Doing well, thanks John, and you’re right that is my title and that’s some recent activity with Technomedia and Cegid.


John Sumser: Introduce yourself, who are you and how did you get here?


Dwaine Maltais: Well, as you said I’m Executive Vice President at Technomedia, and I guess pretty much like everyone else I’ve ever spoken with that’s got a career in HR and in HR tech, I didn’t necessarily get in this space by design. I’m not sure anyone’s ever answered the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “I want to work in HR.” I started my career in this space in college, in 1994 quite frankly creating websites for recruiters and posting their jobs, so a long path from there. That’s kind of how I got into the HR Tech space.


Came up through in 94 starting my own company developing some sourcing technology that’s called Smart Post that is still kind of in play and used by thousands of recruiters today. Joining Bernard Hodes Group in 1999 where I kind of continued on the technology path and developed the Hodes IQ Application in 2001 so I’ve had a long path of developing technologies in a very kind of entrepreneurial fashion. Was at Hodes for 13 years and really was able to explore recruitment marketing, employer branding and then spent a lot of time focused on user experience, primarily related to job seekers and recruiters.


Over the past 5 years I’ve been working with Technomedia and joined them through acquisition in 2011 and that’s given me the ability to really focus not just on what had traditionally been my forte of recruiting but all aspects of talent management and generally how the talent functions worked together in an organization. That’s a little bit behind my background and my path.


John Sumser: You’re now in a sort of a post acquisition mode, what’s your current job look like and what does a day look like for you?


Dwaine Maltais: Well, like we started off, I’m primarily responsible for the US region of Technomedia, but I also still take part heavily in a number of North American and global initiatives related to product, marketing, strategically positioning Technomedia. The days are never boring, they’re long. I spend a good bit of time traveling where I meet with customers and prospects, also an emerging network of partners which has been a focus over this past year and spent about half my time still with our internal teams and services, product development, sales and marketing. That affords me a fairly broad view on our organization and the talent management industry and still getting to hear the voice of our customers on pretty much a daily basis. It’s a busy balance but it’s a lot of fun.


John Sumser: I bet there are maybe one or two people who don’t know what Technomedia is and what Technomedia does?


Dwaine Maltais: Oh good, I’m glad we can get those last two in. Technomedia for those that don’t know, it’s a leading software to service based talent management suite providers. Within our suite like many of our competitors we focus on solutions for talent acquisitions, on boarding, performance management, [inaudible 00:04:42] succession management, learning and development, compensation and workforce planning. We’ve been around for quite a while, we launched in 1996. We started in learning and most of the players in the space either entered through learning or performance or recruiting. We entered in learning and we support several hundred leading employers worldwide for their talent challenges and goals.


As you’ve kind of alluded to a couple of times, in December we joined the Cegid Group, which is a large cloud software and services firm based out of France. Now we’re publicly held and the Cegid alignment has more than doubled our employee base. Focused on talent management and now an even broader range of human capitol management.


John Sumser: I know you’ve been intimately involved in the evolution of analytics in HR Tech how is that playing out in Technomedia?


Dwaine Maltais: It’s one of the six pillars in our R and D chain, so it maintains a significant portion or our road map across the talent suite. As I said before, one of the things that doesn’t necessarily bubble up as we talk about talent management technology within Technomedia is, we are a single code based, single source solution. That’s clearly one of our differentiators in the market. A lot of our competitors say it, we’re one of the very very few to do it. That lends itself to some very interesting opportunities to ally analytic strategies across the talent management base. Whether it’s just being able to tie various talent functions together in ways that might not be readily apparent. Where they have kind of cause and effect, so how does your succession models feed back into your recruiting objectives?


How do you utilize performance ideas to help show the value of learning in organizations? Really trying to answer some strategic questions across talent functions using metrics and analytics overall. Then most recently a lot of focus on the machine learning and predictive side since our customers are dealing more and more with larger and larger data sets. Their own, the social graph data, so it’s certainly an area that’s a passion of mine and a challenge that continues to be a heavy focus for Technomedia as we iterate through our product line.


We spend a good part of our roadmap particularly focused around peeling off interesting metrics and BI strategies for our clients. It’s about a sixth of our innovation panel if not more depending on any give release cycle within the product.


John Sumser: Got it, so what make Technomedia different? There’s a lot of people that would sound a lot like what you just described.


Dwaine Maltais: There are. There are. I mean some of that is by design, we’re offering the same types of solutions that our competitors do. I think there’s two main differentiators that I go to. It’s like I said, in the beginning, our solutions are offered on a single unified platform. It’s single code base and again, all competitors claim it, very, very few can actually venture to say that they actually have it with the breath and depth that we offer. The integration concept is both technical so it’s the … I’ll put the tape on my glasses just for a second, it’s the data sets it’s the data models that interact with each other that are single sourced and single developed from a baseline that all talent modules utilize. Which in and of itself is very important from a notion of integration but it’s also having visibility to all the talent functions in a very fluid and organic way.


There’s a very functional and business side of integration that not everyone looks at at first blush as far as understanding what the real value of a true integrated system, a truly integrated system can do. That’s certainly one of the areas that we go to and while it’s marketing speak that you’re going to hear very commonly in the market again from us and many of our competitors. When you actually see or solutions, when we get in front of prospects, when clients are utilizing our solutions that is regularly called out. Not just by us but certainly by our end users.


Then the second area that I think that is recognized and we certainly put from a differentiator, is we’ve been built from the ground up with what I call multi-channel talent management in mind. Multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-company deployments are all very easily managed in the system. It gives companies the ability to design global, whether global is in one country or a hundred countries, but global from the notion that a universal talent model but still delegate as much or as little about the specific talent functions out to their individual operating groups.


If a company has acquired another organization and they want to give that organization some autonomy but they still want to see metrics that roll up to global performance across the organization then that’s very easily deployed and modeled out of our system. At lest from a mechanics standpoint. If you’ve got a company that’s got a, like many organizations do, that’s got a headquarters in one country and lots of subsidiaries sitting in other countries that are not going to operate in the same way and you’ve need to give some flexibility to those operating units, that’s very easy to do too. That’s one of the reasons we’ve done very well historically with complex and larger multinational companies. A lot of other areas where we differentiate but those are definitely two that we push and we also hear reflected back to us from our client base.


John Sumser: Isn’t it also true that the analytics bit have been part of your DNA from the beginning? I don’t think that’s true of most companies but I believe that’s true of you guys.


Dwaine Maltais: Yeah, yeah, I mean very definitely from very early days, looking at ways of and being able to tie together talent functions and show the value of pulling those functions together which all culminate in the form of KPIs and specific analytics that’s been something that quite frankly that we take for granted in the platform but that’s an area that … Certainly an area why companies choose to work with Technomedia as well as why we spend a good about of time really exploring the relationships between talent functions, like I said, in ways that aren’t necessarily obvious to HR operations that cross functions. Also in trying to help companies determine what the strategic goals are in the organization related to talent. All that peels off in pure and objective data. That’s sitting in our system. It’s very much a culture of experience, a culture of analytics that kind of overlays our technology.


John Sumser: It’s dawning on me that the name of the company which sort of rolls of the tongue in a way that makes you forget it’s meaning is essentially the integration of tech and media which is I believe the unique province of HR technology? There are lots of places where media intersects with technology, but in HR Tech where the point is communication at every step of the way. It’s all about having the data to communicate and having the format to communicate. The integration of Technomedia is particularly interesting.


Dwaine Maltais: Yeah, I mean it definitely … When we see the challenges that our customers have, very rarely is it a pure play technology challenge. In many cases it’s driven through successfully navigating change management in the organization and you’re right, it’s about communications and getting utilization of the programs and the underlying technologies which is by far one of the biggest challenges in the organizations that we work with and frankly any organization trying to implement a talent strategy.


John Sumser: The birth of the core functionality as a part of Bernie Hodes’s recruitment advertising company is one of the strengths of the DNA and that’s not something I imagine you get called out on everyday.


Dwaine Maltais: Right, it’s certainly bringing in that historic experience as [inaudible 00:14:38] who was really a pioneer within talent management and learning management. Bringing in that philosophy of clear communications, experience, a focus on brand and merging it with a keen understanding of how do people learn. Which has application in all areas of talent to drive utilization, drive overall user experience is very much, as you said, in the DNA of our company and our talent as well as our product.


John Sumser: Now talk to me about the integration with the Cegid. Cegid is from my point of view sort of an unknown player in the States. You’re integrating with this company and what does that mean practically? What’s the broadening of the offering and what does this do to Technomedia?


Dwaine Maltais: Well, a couple of things. Cegid is not a new player on the block, they’re very well known in France and Western Europe as well as know in the retail sector in North America, the US. They’re founded in 1983, they’ve been public since 1986 and we met them a little over a year ago and had know of each other for quite some time before that. Really Cegid recognized the importance of having a pretty significant footprint and foundation in the human capitol space. They have an ERP and an HRS infrastructure base primarily out of France and we certainly have a global talent infrastructure under Technomedia.


With Technomedia, I mean we had been growing in double digits, frankly since inception and we’ve also been profitable since inception. Sometimes I will lament the second part of that statement, but joining Cegid really has given us the ability to accelerate our growth and initiatives that were already in play as well as take a look at a broader human capitol management play globally. It’s more than doubled our employee base focused around human capitol management and talent management. As I said, we’re a public company and historically Cegid has been focused on a number of sectors.


Retail being one of the most focused so we also we have an opportunity to explore some verticalization in the company. All in all a very good alignment. Cegid’s got along history of being very successful and growing acquisitions and growing market share and provides a very stable foundation for us to work in. That’s kind of where the chocolate and the peanut butter came together and we’re about a little over a hundred days in and so far so good.


John Sumser: Cegid has this focus in retail, I assume that means you’re learning lots about retail these days?


Dwaine Maltais: We are, I mean retail the Technomedia solution was never really designed any single vertical but we have big concentrations in retail and healthcare, and manufacturing and technology. As well as banking and finance so we’ve had a good amount of experience in retail but it’s been very interesting to speak to some of the Cegid retail customers that are using the organization for things like point of sale, omni-channel management with in their organization and other kind of retail operational functions.


To really learn more about retail operations, what effects a retail organization, a growing retail organization within their stores. That is very much feeding into our ecosystem as we look to better support any of our industry verticals. Retail has been a very interesting, I think, channel for us to explore since we’ve come on board.


John Sumser: What else that you’re learning about that’s new as a result of the integration?


Dwaine Maltais: Well, you know we’ve got a much … Tiffany has always has a global footprint and we’ve dealt with companies with hundreds of thousands employees and hundreds of employees across the globe. Cegid is very much in over 75 countries, so our footprint has expanded quite aggressively overnight into new areas so that gives us a lot of visibility into additional challenges in the overall global talent management spectrum. Cegid’s also France’s largest payroll provider so it’s given us some deep insight into the operational side for human capitol management and core HR that become the partnership and integration was kind of focused in integration with third parties.


Now we have first party experience with the day to day challenges there and much like what we’ve learned over the years how the various talent functions go, you know our teams and product teams are now working side by side. Learning a lot from each other about how some of the core HR functions effect talent management and vice versa, so it’s a good perspective to bring into the overall continuum of both talent management and human capitol management as we both kind of work along those paths.


John Sumser: Let’s drift back to analytics for a second. The idea that you can predict human behavior is starting to really catch on. I just opened a conference in Minneapolis last week and there were a thousand people from the Minneapolis area in a room for a day long conference on people analytics. I assume that this is probably … You said it’s one of the six pillars of your R and D. It’s a growth area, but there’s all sorts of questions about how and whether you can actually predict human behavior. What do you think?


Dwaine Maltais: I’m not so sure. I mean it’s certainly something, it’s an interesting space. It’s an interesting model. We’ve been doing it for years with assessment technologies and ideas from that stand point. I think there’s definitely some interesting technology being applied through machine learning and trying to take advantage of the scads of data that our employers have direct access to through their own talent bases, through extended enterprise. Through social media, through other kinds of behaviors that they’re beginning to track. I think the jury’s out on what you really can do to drive that into an overall value proposition as it relates to talent.


I think we are and the technology providers may be a head of where employers may be in actually being able to leverage those types of insights. It’s going to take some time to rally cull through and look at those models and see what’s kind of peeling of to where they can truly be used to make key decisions or if it’s just bringing up some interesting data points to start a discovery process. I think right now, what I see coming out of a lot of the solutions, including some of our competitors are some interesting insights that may be driven through some notion of correlation or maybe not. From the data sets and underlying information that the systems are able to kind of pivot and learn and grow off of.


I think we’re very much at the beginnings of where this truly fits into practical application. I think it can peek and kind of raise up those screaming owls if you will, on the data and begin to build some … Again, maybe not correlations but at least connections between interesting information. That can be a jumping off point to begin to explore. I think we’re probably a good ways off from it being able to provide true, actionable measurable insights on more of a broader spectrum. I think the company’s culture, their own internal infrastructure, the data itself, there’s a lot of moving parts that are being brought together under some amazing new technologies around again, machine learning and extracting.


Sentiment and other ideas that are, for me, quite exciting, but I think we may be a little ahead of ourselves on the application of that data. I think it’s something that we continually work towards. We certainly are sitting down with our clients and looking at that information and questioning it and peeling off of it. I think what we all can agree on is that it helps surface some really interesting connections between our underlying information that we have about our talent and what happens inside and outside of organizations. That if nothing else help us to be a bit more curious about what those relationships might me.


John Sumser: Wow, that’s kind of a comfortable and conservative view of something that people are making the wildest claims about ever. I can predict whether or not you’re going to be in your job next year, for instance is my favorite current claim. I can do it with single digit precision is what happens when you release statisticians on a great big pile of data I believe.


Dwaine Maltais: Well, and some of those predictions to, we spend some time in Vegas at our trade shows and most magicians can predict what card you’re going to pick and show you that as well, but there’s generally some connection points behind the scenes there too. I think that the technology is absolutely amazing and some of the innovations that are happening. I think we definitely have some work to do and I think we’re reaching in some cases, towards some of it. Again, I think the information that’s peeling off of it, the ideas that are peeling off of it to help cull some of that information down and turn it into at least paths that you may want to explore. That’s where I see the value today. It’s something that I’m very passionate about but I think it’s … Our company as well as the industry should go into it with some skepticism as well if nothing else to help it evolve into something that’s truly useful.


John Sumser: We should have a phone call one of these days and talk about where disruption’s liable to happen. I did see something interesting last week where they’re making the case that a statistical analysis of resumes coupled with internal performance data from a company might actually be superior to resume parsing as a strategy for understanding what’s inside of the resume set. There may be disruption coming in this data area as well.


Dwaine Maltais: Oh I think so, I think there’s definitely disruptive players in the market. I think any part of the R and D channel should introduce some features that are going to be somewhat disruptive. If you’re bringing those in in addition to the traditional means of working through matching and search and those algorithms I think they can be very beneficial, again if nothing else than to make a first cut. A


s a jumping off point to explore. I see value in a lot of the disruptive technologies so long as they’re supplemented with some of the other mediums of actually exploring and finding out the empirical information. I think it’s going to get a lot better, I mean there’s certainly, not just an interest, but I think there’s something there in the underlying infrastructure that’s being put in place. I just think it’s going to take some time to hone it and make sure what’s coming off of it is actionable.


John Sumser: We have blasted through our time, it’s been a great conversation. What should I have asked you?


Dwaine Maltais: Really nothing, I mean we got a chance to catch up on … We got a chance to catch up on where Technomedia is at and on Cegid. I think that’s really what I would like for folks to know and for your listeners if you’re looking for a single talent function solution or a full suite I would love for you to consider Technomedia. I can guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised with our products and service as an alternate to some of the major ERP heavy vendors in the space. I would definitely love to speak to anyone about that or just anything related to HR technology in general.


John Sumser: Then why don’t you take a moment, reintroduce yourself and tell people how to get a hold of you.


Dwaine Maltais: Good, again my name is Dwaine Maltais, Executive Vice President of Technomedia. You can reach me directly through Technomedia or at Dwaine Maltais in LinkedIn. Again, would be happy to talk to anyone about how we could help with your own talent initiatives or again, just anything related to talent and technology, it’s very much a passion and I very much enjoy those types of conversations.


John Sumser: Fantastic, thanks so much Dwaine for taking the time to be here it’s been an engaging half an hour. I really appreciate you making the time.


Dwaine Maltais: Appreciate you too John, it’s always a pleasure to spend a little time together.


John Sumser: Yep, this is John Sumser and you’ve been listening to HR Examiner Radio. We’ve been talking with Dwaine Maltais who you can find through LinkedIn or a pretty quick search. He’s Dwaine Maltais, he’s the Executive Vice President of Technomedia and is in the process of working through the details of the integration with their most recent acquirer Cegid. Thanks for tuning in, as always, we’re delighted to have you and we’ll see you next time through. Bye-bye now.

End transcript

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