Pondering Integration


Photo from the excellent cc stream of pupski.thanks.

I’ve not posted much recently, I’d been meaning to post on HR tech, but several other blogs have done an excellent job of summarising the event(See Brian, Larry,Jim, Bill, Jason, HRmarketer and Zach for starters).

I have been thinking a lot about integration recently. I’m back from HR Tech, and Jim and I are in the middle of the employee performance management magic quadrant process. I’m hearing a whole lot about integrated talent management at the moment. The list of ‘unique’ integrated solutions is now rather long. Someone listening in from another planet would think that word unique means we do the same stuff the other guys are talking about.

HCM vendors of all varieties are talking about how they have integrated the stuff together that they own. My succession talks to my performance, my performance talks to my development, my development talks to my learning and so on.  Yes this is all good stuff.

I’ve spent some time this week talking with several multinationals here in Europe. They are also asking lots of questions about integration.

The integration they are worried about is a different one.

They are concerned how to connect their talent management applications to the rest of their applications. They are worried about building parallel universes. Silo 2.0.

HR IT leaders are beginning to realize that they need to learn a whole lot about data governance, data semantics and masterdata management. Chucking a CSV file over the firewall and hoping for the best isn’t really going to cut it. Managing and syncing core HR organisation data is what will keep HR IT awake.

It is good to see vendors getting their own applications talking to each other, but I sense they have been neglecting the real customer challenge. HCM applications should work closely with the rest of the business applications out there.

Vendors that focus and take responsibility for integration beyond applications they build. Now that would be unique.

(cross posted on my Gartner blog)

2 thoughts on “Pondering Integration”

  1. thanks for the blog Thomas, as you know I’ve been thinking of this for some time too. I am coming to a few general thoughts on the topic
    1) as HR moves to be more important to the business they need to add HR Intelligence to the business metrics that are already in place. This speaks to your point.
    2) There is also a second piece of the integration story and that is a usability one. Bringing more information to a line manager in a way that helps them understand the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things”

    I’ll probably be blogging more on this in future weeks. I have been feeling lately that we are not seeing the [right] big picture in this industry.

  2. Thomas, the data integration question supports the findings in the latest CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey, where best in class organisations are going for an integrated approach of TMS with the rest of the HRIS environment, not separate systems. (Sorry Taleo, SuccessFactors etc)

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