Technology Insights: When Today’s Tech Themes Become Everyday Terms

A year ago it seemed you couldn’t visit an HR vendor without them talking about how they were mobile, social, cloud-based and packed with powerful analytics.

Has that changed? Those themes are still strong, however the emphasis is changing and some new themes are emerging.

Sometimes, themes go quiet simply because they won.

Some themes simply become old hat

Mobile is rapidly becoming an archaic word since everything is mobile. We will have to create a special name for applications that do not have mobile capability, like we did for “land-line” phones.

Similarly, a year ago we were still explaining what “the cloud” was; now it’s a widely understood idea. Some vendors put cloud front and center (HR Cloud and Cloudmills have it in their name) but I’ve met a number of young cloud-based vendors who don’t even think to mention it, they can’t imagine doing things a different way.

Social is a theme where the hype has been turned down. Social features are still essential part of the functionality in many applications, and there are vendors like River and Jive who’s raison d’etre is leveraging social collaboration; but we seem to have got past the point where the world “social” was an incantation promising magical outcomes.

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Analytics is stronger than ever; though no doubt its prominence at a show like HR Tech — the land of nerds — is not yet reflected in the typical HR department. Analytics has become so wide-spread that we are going to have to create a taxonomy to categorize the different types of analytics. That’s a task for another time.

As for new themes, we’ll look at that in the next column.

What is interesting?

  • HR is often accused of being faddish, but the big themes in HR technology are solidly established and won’t be going away anytime soon.

What is really important?

  • The HR technology world moves quickly and last year’s hot new idea becomes this year’s commonplace feature. HR needs a technology road map and they need to update that road map every year. The road map isn’t necessarily the path you will end up following, however it keeps you aware of the terrain.

Do you have one? Has it helped? 

David Creelman is CEO of Creelman Research. Based mainly in Toronto and partly in Kuala Lumpur, he’s best known for his research on the latest issues in human resources.

He works with think tanks such as Talent Tech Labs (New York), Works Institute (Tokyo), Workforce Institute (Boston) and CRF (London). He’s collaborated with leading academics such as Henry Mintzberg (leadership development), Ed Lawler (“Built to Change”) and John Boudreau (future of work).

His books include The CMO of People: Manage employees like customers with an immersive predictable experience that drives productivity and performance with GrandRound’s CHRO Peter Navin; and Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau (USC) and Ravin Jesuthasan (Willis Towers Watson).

You can connect to Mr. Creelman on LinkedIn