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IHRIM Keynoter: A New Era for HR Technology

Monday, May 16, 2011
Posted by Andrew McIlvaine
Gretchen Alarcon, Oracle Corp.’s vice president of HCM strategy and the opening keynoter at IHRIM’s 2011 conference held at the dazzling Gaylord National Harbor resort in Washington, began her speech by taking her audience down memory lane: “Remember when ‘twitter’ was just something birds did? Remember when ‘clouds’ were things you just saw in the sky?”

Today, Twitter, cloud computing and the rise of social collaboration are changing the workplace, she continued. Harnessing the power of social networks means that org charts are being replaced by “how work gets done” networks, said Alarcon, in which team members collaborate on projects in which the lines of who reports to whom no longer matter. Harnessing collaboration represents the next iteration of talent management, she said, which requires HR leaders to rethink their way of doing business and focus on “putting people first.”

“Disciplined collaboration leads to more innovation, better engagement, higher research productivity and new business creation,” said Alarcon. “It leads to more cross-selling, improved customer service and the sharing of best practices. If  you harness it and do it well, collaboration does have real business value.”

Alarcon called on attendees to think about making the technology user experience of their employees “more intuitive.” “Wouldn’t it be great if your workplace applications revolved around you–as in, here’s what you need to do today, how do you prefer your information–do you prefer a more visual presentation, more detail, a mixture of both?”

Business intelligence tools, meanwhile, can help you see into the future and help prevent your future leaders from leaving, she said. “FedEx can predict when your package is going to arrive, The Gap can predict how much money its stores will make that day, based on the weather and other factors. Business intelligence, done right, can help you predict whether one of your high-potentials is at-risk of leaving, so you can do something about it before it’s too late.”

“Wouldn’t it be great to have been able to do something in Q1 before your high performer resigned in Q3?” she continued. “If you had been alerted to the fact that he hadn’t had a pay raise in 18 months, that his manager was underperforming, that he had gone four years without being promoted?”

Oracle is, of course, one of the HCM vendors that is working hard on building ever-better tools for collaboration and business intelligence, she said, not to mention cloud computing, aka Software-as-a-Service.

Prior to Alarcon’s speech, IHRIM chairman Nov Omana presented the organization’s Partner awards to two companies, ADP and Cox Enterprise. Daniel Arndt, HRIS/compensation manager of Minnesota-based Imation, and John A. Hinojos, vice president of consulting services for Texas-based HRchitect, were presented with IHRIM’s 2011 Ambassador awards. Jacqueline Kuhn, global HRIS manager for Beam Global Spirits & Wine, was presented with the 2011 Summit Award.

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