What Impresses Me About HR Tech Vendors and Products?

Here’s another post that I had meant to write much sooner, but now it will post while we’re in Monaco before the start of our cruise up the Rhone River.

I’m going to try to do some tweeting/posting from the “road,” always hopeful that I’ll spot some note-worthy HRM practices along the way, but this post may have to last you until I’ve had a chance to catch up when we return.

With a lot of briefings/demos done and discussed during Q1, one question I’ve been getting quite a bit via DMs on Twitter, via LinkedIn messages (remember email?), etc., is what impresses me about HRM vendors/products? What makes me think highly, or not, about the people with whom I’m meeting, their companies, and their products/services? And why do some companies seem to get more of my attention and/or favorable opinion than do others?

How I decide who to meet with

Well the first thing to say is that, as a solo consultant and definitely not a professional analyst, I simply cannot follow all the potentially wonderful HRM software and services companies out there. So the fact that I’ve never taken a briefing with your firm or with your favorite vendor should not be construed as meaning anything other than I just don’t have enough time to go around and still do my day job.

That said, I tend to pay attention not only to the obvious suspects, to the larger and more extensively used HRM vendors/products/services, but also to the interesting, the clever, the latest undertaking of long-standing and valued colleagues, to other people and vendors who capture my attention by what they do and how they do it.

And suggestions for this latter list come at me from every direction. But I can tell you right now, for the record, if a company of which I have no knowledge led by people of whom I’ve never heard reaches out to me via their agency/PR firm with a form letter asking for my time, the chance are not very good that I’m going to make time for them.

On the other hand, a friendly note from their CEO/chief architect/product or service visionary/etc. connecting what they do to something of interest to me (and those topics have been written to death on this blog, in my Twitterstream, and in the LinkedIn discussion group for HR Tech Conference), there’s a very high probability that I’d be delighted to meet you — even if I can’t do it right away.

What technically attracts me

I love great software — well thought-out architectures/object models that scale with volumes, new functionality, geographic requirements, etc.  And, well thought-out UXs which incorporate a high degree of embedded intelligence and are appropriate to and variable with the work a user is doing. Real integration — not just interfaces/unification/gazintas and gazoutas — of HRM domain model, architecture, processes, analytics, etc. Solid foundations with clever extensions and clear thinking about difference between economic buyer and real customer. New solutions to old problems, new solutions before others even grasp the problems.

And for anything HRM, systemic effective-dating, to include the entire application, should go without saying. What, no mention of true SaaS or SaaS InFullBloom? Absolutely not, unless of course you say you’re SaaS, in which case I’m more impressed if you’re InFullBloom than if you have rebranded your old single tenant, customizable code base.

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Smart people attract me, too

I also love great people, regardless of their role in our industry. Smart, hard-working, disciplined thinkers who are paying or have paid their dues and really know what they’re talking about. Folks who are as passionate as I am about the importance of human resource management in achieving business outcomes, ideally led by an excellent HR function but with or without them as necessary. HRM subject matter experts who don’t live in silos but understand and work hard at the interconnections, always with a focus on business outcomes.

One of the reasons I’ve stayed so long in this industry is the number of terrific people with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work, and there are more coming every day, bright younger colleagues who help me overcome my discomfort with some aspects of social everything and always on.

That’s pretty much it. But if you have visited Casa de Ranas, also known as Bloom & Wallace HQ, then you also know that I love bold colors, and room for the unexpected, the unplannable.

That’s what impresses me. And that’s what I hope I can continue to deliver. Otherwise, why bother?

This was originally published on Naomi Bloom’s technology blog, In Full Bloom. Reprinted with permission.

Naomi Bloom is the leading independent voice, business/platform strategy consultant and thought leader in the HR technology/HRO industry. She has acted as a change agent and HRM delivery systems strategist/coach for global corporate and Federal agency clients, an advisor on business strategy and product/service design to several generations of HRM software vendors and HR outsourcing providers, and a provider of competitive insight and due diligence for the investment community. You can read Naomi's blog In Full Bloom, and follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/infullbloomus.