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HR Technology Column

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Who Else Wants WANTED?
I first fell in love with WANTED Technologies in 2007 after a demo in a dingy, shared office in New York City. For 10 years, long before the buzzword existed, the Canadian company (now public) has provided Big Data on job demand and, more recently, on candidate supply. About 10 percent of the Fortune 500 and nearly every big Silicon Valley brand already use WANTED Analytics. It's the clearest example of what Big Data can really mean for HR.
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Workday vs. Cornerstone Evolving!
I already admitted how foolish it was to ignore Evolv for six years until Cornerstone OnDemand bought it for $42.3 million last fall. Now Cornerstone has started opening the kimono on its intentions for Evolv, which includes competing with its BFF Workday on machine intelligence, predictive analytics and 'Insights.'
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How T&A Became Sexy!
What big HCM software companies have historically called Time & Attendance or Time & Labor actually became something bigger -- Workforce Management -- a long time ago. The best-of-breed industry leaders in WFM -- Kronos, Workforce Software, Ceridian's Dayforce HCM and others -- owe a lot to pioneer Mike Campbell.
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Oracle Comes Out Swinging at HCM World
Larry Ellison showed up again for the second Oracle HCM World conference, but this time had to leave before it started. New CEO Mark Hurd more than made up for his absence. This new user conference (formerly Taleo World) battled Ultimate Software's for the attention of influencers -- plenty to hold their attention (and yours).
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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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