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AHRI Tech Conference Wrap up

By / August 23, 2013 / / 2 Comments

Monday saw the AHRI HR Technology Conference take place as one of the many pre-event activities around the broader AHRI HRIZON National Convention in Sydney.

Rachel Botsman

The day kicked off with Rachel Botsman talking about technology disruption and the impact on business. She summarised the drivers of technological disruption in business today:Rachel Botsman

  • Broken Trust – The movement from institutional trust to peer trust.
  • Complex Experiences – How the innovative use of social, location awareness and mobility can influence the market place and develop new businesses.
  • Unlimited Access – Allow people to access things, people, businesses, and technologies that were previously unattainable.
  • Redundant Intermediaries – The growth in services like crowdfunding and distributed market places.

Rachel sees three main reactions to technological disruptions by businesses.

First is to act like an ostrich and deny the change is happening, not a very productive response but too often what we see in Australian businesses.

The second response is to try and fight the disruptive force to stop it changing the market place (think music industry and online music purchases).

The third and most progressive response is one of a pioneer where you embrace and adopt the disruption for the good of your organisation.

Finally she provided us with four approaches that we can use to help our businesses be pioneers when it comes to disruption:

  • Cannabilize on your existing business to make way for the new.
  • Know what business you are really in so you can adapt and pivot.
  • Realise you can’t reverse the change once it is happening.
  • Have humility and realise you don’t have all the answers.

One of Rachel’s early comments really solidified her whole key note.

Today organisation often chase technology and this becomes the basis of their strategy but instead the real issue is the change technology brings to business about who has power, trust, and access.

Following Rachel’s session we broke into concurrent sessions.

Jason Benner

I spent a bit of time listening to Jason Benner, a Partner at Deloitte Digital, discuss Gamification. Jason took the audience through a very good foundation of what gamification is, why to use it, and how to begin to apply in in your organisation.Jason Bender

Jason provided us with four reasons as to why to use gamification:

  1. Accelerate change management
  2. Drive employee engagement
  3. Improve process efficiency
  4. Speed up training and learning

Unfortunately I had to leave part way through Jason’s session to prepare for my talk.

Megan Bromley

The next session I attended was by Megan Bromley who is in charge of Employee Experiences at RedBalloon or Head of HR at any other organisation. Megan discussed the role of social media and technology within HR.Megan Bromley

Megan gave us a look at the journey RedBalloon has been on over the last five years – moving much of their HR technology environment in to the cloud. Their use of technology has evolved over time based on what works for them and what doesn’t work.

They now use several smaller cloud based solutions to deliver them a majority of HR services, integrating social tools such as Yammer, Facebook, and Instagram as required.

Around the use of social media and HR Megan highlighted the fact that there is a very grey line between your work and personal life on social media. While RedBalloon don’t have a specific social media policy they have guidelines where employees need to do the right thing by the brand and themselves.

An interesting key theme in Megan’s talk was around making sure your business was agile and to ensure this, you needed to make your processes agile and user friendly.

My Session

My session looked in more detail at the five key themes from the 3rd Australian HR Technology Report that we recently published. If you haven’t read the report the key themes are:

  • Talent Management is at war with Payroll
  • Lack of investment in ageing HR systems
  • HR Technology projects are getting road blocked
  • Lack of process is hindering technology adoption
  • HR needs to focus on emerging technology

I explored the themes in a bit more detail and provided an overview of technology adoption. There was a lot of ground covered in the 45 minute session which I won’t try to replicate here but some of the key messages I hope were taken away from the session were:

  • Reducing the number of vendors in your environment.
  • Vendors need to work harder to help customers develop stronger business cases that deliver real dollar savings.
  • Determine how you best leverage new technologies in meaning ways.
  • Develop a strategy that can leverage cloud technology for the right reasons.
  • Get into data analytics and don’t get fooled by re-badged analytics as Big Data.

Sponsor Sessions

After lunch was a series of sponsor sessions took place. These can always be difficult balancing the fine line of the sales pitch and adding value to the audience.

The first session I attended was by Louise Phillips from Infor Global Solutions talking about their new Unified Human Capital Management and Workforce Management platform. While this was a complete product placement I wasn’t put out as Infor is a very unknown brand in Australia and I found the presentation interesting.

Infor has grown out of several acquisitions including that of Lawson, WorkBrain and most recently CERTPOINT. While they do not offer payroll in Australia they are offering almost everything else in the HCM arena.

The second session was by local talent management vendor, PeopleStreme. The session had a nice approach as they did not directly discuss their product. Instead through a series of videos they gave the audience a visioning session of where HR practices are going in the future. The subtle message being that PeopleStreme can help get you there.

Brad Howarth

Brad Howarth closed out the formal portion of the day with the closing keynote – Post Human Resources. I had spoke with Brad over lunch about his talk and he was lamenting how many of the topics he wanted to touch on had been covered, always the challenge of a closing key note speaker.Brad Howarth

In an innovative twist Brad took us not on a journey into the future but a journey into what was happening with technology right now and its impact on business. Brad reviewed how technology has change much about how we do business today.

He highlighted that the Internet has resulted in the international labour market being “on tap” (with beer tap imagery) to any businesses anywhere. An example raised was Freelancer allowing people to outsource work to anywhere in the world.

He also looked at the changing nature of work and how services like AirTasker can allow new micro-job markets to evolve, really interesting is their recent link with CareerOne.

Brad also reminded the audience technology does not destroy businesses it is what we do with it that does, linking nicely back to Rachel’s session in the morning on it is how you react to disruption that counts.

Again I couldn’t see the whole session as we had to get ready for the exhibition opening and welcome reception.

Overall it was a great day with lots of innovative contents and discussions.