We spent years, as consultants and technicians, implementing HR technology that focused on process automation. Companies were attempting to create efficiency gains by eliminating clerical work and the clerks who performed it. Mostly, they achieved it at the expense of making the work harder for those who remained.
Beginning in 2001, one of our analysts worked in an HRMS implementation where weeks of user training wasn’t enough. He spent months after project launch coaching users on how to carry out their work.
That HRMS was powerful. Developers could use it to automate any HR process. But it required people to adapt to the way the system worked and complicated many simple tasks. Getting useful information out of it was an arduous, complicated job that required IT experts.
Then came the wave of self-service applications, where we required the entire workforce in client organizations to adapt to HR systems. It didn’t go well.
The E-Commerce Influence
The growth of online commercial transactions created the need to adapt technology to people. Buyers just walk away from a bad user experience, so e-commerce companies invested heavily in creating simple, transparent transactions.
As leading companies improved the user experience, they created a new standard for customer interaction. Now, when we run into any snag during an online shopping experience, we abandon the website and go elsewhere.
We now expect the same user experience at work, on any device we choose. The recent wave of new development in HR software is about ease of use, and vendors have made considerable progress.
The Appification of HR
Now, Bersin explains, we are now in the midst of a new revolution in software focused not on HR processes but the employee experience. While ERP and HR suite vendors work to adapt, hundreds of startups have sprung up who offer solutions that need no training at all.
Over the next couple of years, the change will create a new norm in business software. Instead of developing products that force users to adapt to software, vendors analyze the way people work and create applications to serve them.
If you thought your new suite of HR applications will satisfy your employees’ needs, think again. Hundreds of new solutions are arriving now that transform the way people work, communicate, care for their well-being, learn, and manage their careers.
Industry leaders like Workday and SuccessFactors are already operating in the new paradigm, but they will have a hard time keeping up with dozens of agile innovators.
We expect a lot of disruptions. In the new world of apps for everything, only a tiny percentage of new solutions survive the first use. Only those that make work better will survive.
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.