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HR Technology Column

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A Story of Firsts
Two wildly different firsts occurred recently in HR technology. One involves the industry's first complete talent-management vendor, HRsmart, which was acquired by Deltek, a company you may not know. And the other, SAP/SuccessFactors' first Analyst Strategy Day, where it revealed that SAP's first new software version in 22 years will not include on-premise HCM.
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Flip and Brian's Next Big Act
A year ago, SilkRoad co-founders Andrew "Flip" Filipowski and Brian Platz left the company and Chicago for warmer climes to start something new -- again. Their latest company together was called Talent Place at the end of January. Whatever it's called now, their mission is to make it the next step after SaaS.
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Oracle Innovates in HR Tech
After some brief turn-of-the-calendar navel-gazing, read about a bold innovation from Oracle, namely a new category of apps called Work Life Solutions. Though adoption for these tools has been slow, they represent a rare and important experiment in applications for employees from a big systems HCM vendor.
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Where in the World is Rudy Karsan?
Founders who sell their companies rarely stay around long after being acquired. Co-founder and CEO of the former Kenexa Rudy Karsan sold his company to IBM more than two years ago. But now that the combined IBM Kenexa Talent Management Suite is out the door, he's left to continue trying to save the world.
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A Hot New Small Company HRMS
About 25 years ago, one popular choice for a small company (two to 50 employees) HR system was Abra Cadabra. There were others, of course, but Abra Cadabra triumphed by doing it more simply and now serves millions of customers. Meet San Francisco start-up Zenefits. While many HR applications may run on your smartphone, Zenefits runs like your smartphone, and really offers a consumer-tech experience in business software.
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Predictive Analytics Dominates My First HR Tech Conference
What a great event thousands of you have been enjoying for 16 years! Meeting and talking with old friends, making new ones, learning great stuff in the sessions and hallways, discovering new gems on the expo floor. No longer co-chair, I finally got to join you this year and attend my first HR Tech conference, where everyone was talking predictive analytics.
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Second Turn of the HCM Horse Race
Last year, this extended column handicapped the odds of the big three -- Oracle, SAP/SuccessFactors and Workday -- to become the top provider of next-generation cloud HCM systems to large organizations. The stakes are enormous, and a lot has changed in one year as they enter the second turn of the track.
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Death to the Merit-Pay-Increase Matrix!
After hating the merit-pay-increase matrix for 25 years, imagine my delight in seeing that Saba plans to debut a Big Data and machine-learning product that encourages you not to treat every employee the same, tells you who needs to be treated differently and even indicates how much the good ones may cost to keep them from leaving!
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Oracle and SAP Encircle Their On-Premise Base
In moves seemingly aimed at Workday, Oracle and SAP have both in the last year changed the historically rigid rules for one of the great pains of owning on-premise software: yearly maintenance. For the very first time, maintenance charges can now be reduced by using them to pay for SaaS subscriptions. Borrowing the analogy of a new car dealer, that's a trade-in Workday can't offer.
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New Target: College Recruiting
The next generation of software is emerging for college recruiting. This domain has already had one major acquisition and many start-ups are now laser-focused on connecting college grads with corporate jobs. Yes, even though, as you've heard, there aren't enough!
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Even More Brand New Recruiting Systems
Yes, two more brand new recruiting systems, missed last time when I focused on three others. Both Ceridian and Saba have written them recently from scratch, sometimes showing what the "consumerization of enterprise software" actually means. So we now have five new large company systems in six months!
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Three New Recruiting Systems
The next era of recruiting automation is arriving. "Edge application" functionality is no longer hanging off old applicant-tracking systems, but is slowly being moved to the center by at least three major vendors. Workday, Cornerstone OnDemand and Ultimate have all recently announced new recruiting systems or the latest version of a young one.
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Not Your Father's Infor or Lawson
Forget what you used to think about Infor. During his three years as its CEO, Charles Phillips has injected ambition and an attention to detail into the former software aggregator that he promises will bring "beauty" to everything it does. In our world, Infor is turning Lawson into the modern SaaS product the original company never could.
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Return with Us to the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear -- Via SAP
For years, the chattering classes in HCM have almost unanimously declared SaaS applications in the cloud to be the inevitable next stage of computing. All of them should have the reality check of being in a room with 1,000 HR-IT folks still wondering whether the cloud is secure and reliable, as I did at the annual SAP HCM user conference. But there were innovations there, too.
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A New Corporate Medical Benefit -- Via Email!
Why don't more doctors use email? With office visits averaging 12 minutes, it would seem a useful extension of their practice. New York-based Sherpaa has joined a handful of other startups creating a virtual medical service restricted to email and phone. Not to replace traditional healthcare, but as an overlay that could save your company money.
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IBM Joins the Shifting Talent-Management War
IBM is using its acquisition of Kenexa to enter the talent- management war just as it seems to be shifting to unified systems. Without a core HRMS, the new IBM Kenexa Talent Suite will go to market with some very flashy technology (including parts of Watson) and a distinctly modern notion of what "integrated" applications mean.
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Harvard Business Review Becomes an HR Journal
CEOs must finally be starting to care about talent when the Harvard Business Review publishes a package of profiles of three companies, and their very different paths to maximizing talent. Surprise, shock and awe await you. And some useful tips for your own organization.
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Another Bullet Fired at the Beating Heart of the Resume
Resumes have dogged our entire professional lives and occasionally maddened the recruiters among us. But now, following several failed attempts to standardize or kill them, a new company, 1-Page, has introduced a fresh idea aimed at altering the recruiting process.
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