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)