The elusive seat at the table story. There are so many woes and weary HR and recruiting leaders who are just trying to get their point across – to convince “old school” C-suites to buy into better talent. Let’s face it – that only happens when it directly impacts them and many times they’re shielded by a barrier of directors who field the brunt of the talent demands.
The challenge has always been how to convince the C-suite that HR is worth the investment. The problem is that we don’t speak in their language, translating people into the PNL but that can all change if we’re willing to go with the times. The mobile-friendly, social-enabled, cloud-based HR technology path there has been a long and winding road to say the least – and there is still a lot of terrain to be covered.
Over the last twenty years, the tools and processes that HR teams have had to vet, implement, integrate and measure to support changing labor demands are endless. That has led to a lot of confusion about the bottom line and given all of us a bad reputation.
Understanding Evolution: HR Software
At first, customized software was created to address the specific needs of each customer individually. This couldn’t last long, as soon enough it became apparent that it’s impossible to keep up with emerging tech trends and provide updates to a user base that was using custom-built software. As providers moved to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model, system updates and accessibility became faster and better. Add to this the lower cost of SaaS technology implementations, and all of a sudden the doors to innovation were wide open and the HR technology market became very crowded, very quickly.
While software providers refined SaaS delivery options, employers still dealt with a software market that lacked specialization in talent acquisition. Despite the fact that the top concerns of executives tend to be sales and talent, there was a disconnect in the investments being made to fill the job candidate pipeline as abundantly and skillfully as sales leads. Processes that were once manually managed in spreadsheets were now simply being managed in systems that lacked a focus on, and true understanding of, the nuances of the hiring process. At this point, it was clear that talent acquisition needed its own suite of dedicated solutions to meet the growing demands of job seekers, who now hold more power within the hiring process than ever before. But more importantly, recruiting technology as a whole needed to get up to speed with other modern business solutions.
So where does that leave us now?
The Awakening: Emergence of the Platform-as-a-Service
To help put this into perspective, the U.S. recruiting market is currently valued at $130 billion with talent acquisition in particular comprising $8.5 billion of that. When spending so much, customers want best-to-market applications housed all in one place for an easy overview of return on investment. Better yet, they want to be able to make smarter decisions about resource allocation for future recruiting technology tools and earn that seat at the table.
And so enters Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), now emerging as the next major revolution in talent acquisition technology. PaaS gives recruiters the ability to seamlessly integrate data from various vendors through a common user interface (UI). This finally solves a common complaint from HR technology users who have been frustrated by the lack of compatibility between their employee-centric tools.
Aside from the unity that PaaS brings among a diverse set of recruiting technologies, the structure also makes it easier to build and bring new software technology into an existing ecosystem of products that work well in tandem. Accordingly, you can expect to see more and more vendors take this approach, as Gartner reports that the PaaS segment has shown the most impressive growth across the entire enterprise software market over the past year. That said, HR professionals truly have a lot to look forward to in terms of new technology that helps get their jobs done faster, easier and with better measurability to prove they’re worth it.
The Dream: Centralized Data
Platform-as-a-Service might very well be the key to unlocking the inherent power of big data for recruiters, hiring managers and all of the internal teams they serve. Employers today are extremely aware of the importance of investing in the right people to push their businesses forward, now they need one hiring system of record to help make sense of it all. There is a huge demand for technology that fosters synchronization between HR processes with simple integrations. Customers can then enjoy the benefit of one software’s look and feel, but also have a set of best-of-breed tools behind the scenes to power reporting across different functions.
In an era that has seen the disruptive, even revolutionary, releases of Salesforce.com’s B2B AppExchange and Apple’s B2C App Store dominate their respective markets, there is an easy correlation to be made to the future of HR technology. Talent acquisition platforms have the opportunity to become the central starting point for all employee-centric services by realizing the need to create a technology category that addresses top C-level business concerns.
As CMO, Susan oversees direct marketing efforts as well as business development across a network of strategic alliances around the globe. Susan also plays an active role in portfolio strategy, helping to ensure iCIMS’ products, power-ups and services remain on the pulse of the ever-changing HR technology landscape.