I was much inspired by Thomas Wailgum’s post today about how various “tech vendors, CIOs, analysts and other assorted IT types” had let him down in 2010. It’s a great catalogue of bad behavior by people and companies who should know better, and I enjoyed it so much that I read it twice before starting my own list. Then I tried out a few of my grievances on Twitter and got some encouraging words from @SAP_Jarret. So, before I call it a night, I thought I’d clear my mind by airing my own grievances about the folks, including the customers, whom I meet all too often at the intersection of HRM and IT. This is just a “starter kit” of same; otherwise I’ll be up all night.
- HR executives who think the software should tell them by what metrics they should be running their business. If you really don’t know what about the people side of the business drives your business outcomes, then you sure as hell don’t know what about the people business you should be working at measuring and improving or rethinking completely. As a small holiday gift to anyone who fits this description, I offer you my blog post series on strategic planning for your HRM delivery system entitled “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” (the linked page points to all four parts of this series).
- HR executives who don’t understand that you can’t do talent management if you wouldn’t know talent if you tripped over it. There’s really no way to improve any of your talent management processes, from sourcing and acquisition through ever flavor of development and deployment right on to performance management and compensation and then looping back through succession and workforce planning (and there’s a lot more to it than just these few highlights), unless you have intimate knowledge of your business, its work-producing roles, the critical drivers of success in those roles (dare I mention KSAOCs?), and so forth. So start by understanding these points and designing the relevant HRM processes, and you’ll soon discover that you have crap for data in your underlying systems which is going to need a major cleanup in order to support effective talent management. There’s a lot of work to be done en route to effective talent management so start with the talent and roles that matter most.
- HRM #EnSW vendors (I’m starting to blog in Twitter #hashtags, which is really scary unless you’re too young to remember what hash was used for before Twitter) who claim their subscribed/single tenant hosted software is SaaS. This makes me crazy, even when their software is quite good. If you believe that single tenant is the right model, whether licensed/on-premise or hosted, then just say so — as Harry Debes, Lawson’s CEO does, discussed here and here. But please don’t try to glom onto all things trendy by confusing the hell out of buyers. Calling myself tall blond and thin does not make it so.
- HRM #EnSW vendors whose software really doesn’t do what the vendor’s representative says it will do during sales demos to naive customers. This is closely related to #3 above and #5 below. Not everyone knows — but they surely ought to by now — that a good demo person can make their software do almost anything and whiz past/gloss over any inconvenient little limitations or glaring errors. But I’m still seeing, literally seeing those wide-eyed prospects, on the show flow at #HRTechConf, oohing and aahing while the vendor’s demo dolly shows them just how easily their employee-only talent acquisition product is going to handle their contracted for non-employee workers. Do these people not remember what Phyllis Diller looked like before all that plastic surgery?
- Customer evaluation teams without a clue (and without “killer” scenarios — the linked page points to all my posts on this topic) who later claim that their vendor overstated capabilities. Frankly, customers have no one to blame but themselves if they haven’t done a thorough enough set of “killer” scenario-based demos to assure themselves of what the products they’re evaluating actually do. Of course all US payroll software is going to be able to calculate withholding taxes, but will the product in question handle absolutely all the jurisdictions of interest to you? Surprise! Not all do every jurisdiction, every reciprocity agreement, etc. And of course every performance management product is going to be able to route whatever passes for the appraisal “document” for approvals, but that doesn’t mean that the routing will be driven by the underlying database’s nuanced role-based structures rather than your having to set up each such routing individually.
- CMOs at #EnSW vendors who know neither HRM nor enterprise software nor our industry but are sure they can learn OJT in a month or two. This is personally annoying because these folks are often the gatekeepers for analysts trying to find out more about their company and its products, and it’s even worse when they see themselves as the spokesmodels for their companies long before they’ve got a clue about our industry. Mentioning no names (although I’m really dying to do so), the most egregious version of this was the CMO of a US HRM #EnSW company who thought that having a Continental accent and trendy eyeglasses trumped a complete absence of product or industry knowledge.
- Anyone whom I don’t know who calls me to ask for something — for me to take a briefing with their client or company, to spend an hour discussing their HR/IT issues, to speak at a conference or to contribute to their work in some other way — who hasn’t done me the courtesy of first finding out who I am and what I do. The worst of these lately are the recruiters for those so-called “expert” councils/roundtables/networks, the ones that want you to do hour-long brain dumps with their mostly hedge-fund or similar financial analysts. Be assured that, if I’m calling you to ask for something, I will have checked out your background via LinkedIn, your online presence via a blog/Twitter/articles/etc., and how and through whom we might be connected via LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s the least I can do out of respect for your time, and I really appreciate this courtesy in return.
Thank you Thomas Wailgum. We haven’t met, but I hope I’ll have that pleasure. In the meantime, with your inspiration, I’ve gotten a few grievances off my chest and am feeling better already. Time to get some sleep!