Dwane Lay
Dovetail HR
December 6, 2016

Dwane Lay, “There’s Nobody Busier than the HR Practitioner”

Dwane Lay, VP – Customer Experience – Dovetail Software

Dwane Lay

“I think that everything after the sales process, you are building the relationship upfront, but it’s the management piece after that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. We hear a lot of people talk about their relationship with vendors never gets better than right before they sign the contract. The whole, You’ll do anything to get me as a customer, why won’t you do anything to keep me as a customer? We try to make sure we do everything to make our customers happy.” – Dwane Lay

Check out this great interview and learn what’s on Dwane’s mind: Customer Experience


Dwane Lay
July 14, 2016

The Perfect Analogy

From time to time, we come up with analogies on the fly that make so much sense, we have to share them. This is a great example. Not long ago, I was trying to explain how SaaS works in relation to developing software and product management.  While we’ve talked about our process in the past, it has been on the “how,” not the “why.” To explain that part, we found a perfect analogy in the Community Garden.

The Plot

Let’s start with the land. To get our garden going, we need a place to put it.  So we imagine a city block that has been razed and plowed. This is our garden, and we have opened up access to our clients, who wish to grow their own beets. We let the spinach people in too, of


Dwane Lay
June 15, 2016

It’s Back!

Carnival of HR: I feel like we just finished sweeping up the popcorn and peanut shells from last time, and yet here we are!

I’m always excited to get to host the carnival.  It’s a great chance for us to stay connected to the HR community that means so much to us, and to share our platform with great authors in our space.  Thanks to all of you for visiting and reading.  Please take a few minutes to check out the links.

Theme: Conferences

Our theme, loosely applied as always, is around conferences.  We do a lot of them, and we were very much looking forward to SHRM16 this month.  We’ve realized, though, that the show starts on Father’s Day this year.  That’s happened in the past, and it usually kills off any chance of attending for me. 


Dwane Lay
June 1, 2016

Some Assembly Required

When you swing by Target to pick up a Lego Millennium Falcon, you probably don’t expect to open that box at home and find a fully-built Falcon waiting for you. Instead, you expect to see organized bags of pieces and instructions on putting your new space ride together. Frankly, if you did get one already put together, you’d probably want to take it apart and start over. And maybe you want your Falcon to be a little different. Maybe you want the new square radar dish instead of the classic round version. Maybe you want to add more thrusters, or more guns, or finally get the hyperdrive upgraded in your version. That’s the best thing about Lego. You can do whatever you want. And you can always take it apart and do something different later.

A good


Dwane Lay
May 16, 2016

Be Prepared Before Change Happens

As a partner for some of the best companies in the world, we get a unique view of talent movement in the business world.  Sometimes, that means seeing system administrators move on to bigger roles, either with their current company or a new one.  While we are always happy to see our friends being successful, it does lead to some difficulties if the proper preparation hasn’t been taken.  If you are a system owner, champion, administrator, or power user, there are a few important things to keep in mind as you go through your daily life.

Ownership Matters

One of the earliest signs of system atrophy is seeing a system owner or champion change roles.  When a system is put in place, no matter the size, it is because someone cared enough to make it


Dwane Lay
April 19, 2016

Lean HR

In case you didn’t already know, I kinda like Lean.  I’ve dabbled a little in the idea of tying Lean and HR together, and at times, have been known to talk about it out loud.  But sometimes, I think it makes sense to go back to the beginning and talk about how these two topics work together, and why you need them both.

Simplicity

Lean is, at its heart, all about reducing waste.  That’s as simple as it gets.  Find where you are losing time, money, or other materials, and then stop doing that.  It could be as simple as finding out the report you work on for two hours each week is no longer read by anyone.  It might be as complex as a complete warehouse redesign.  But every step is


Dwane Lay
March 23, 2016

Product Enhancement Requests When Building a Software-as-a-Service Application

Part of building a SaaS application is the need to balance the needs of the many with the needs of the few.  Or the one.  (Yes, that’s a Star Trek reference.  Well spotted.)  We get some great ideas from our customers, who find new and amazing ways to use our software every day.  Because of that, though, we have to be mindful of how we handle those requests.  Some of them will make the system more useful for everyone, while some are very specific to that one client’s needs.  With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to understand our process and how we handle these requests.

Idea Generation

Ideas come to us through several channels. We often hear of ideas during implementation, but they also flow in


Dwane Lay
January 28, 2016

Knowledge Management

I wrote a piece on Getting Started with Knowledge Management that has been used by several of our clients at the beginning of their process.  If you’re still trying to figure out what you should be doing to move off of the starting line, it could be very helpful.  And if you are serious about using an HR Case Management platform, then you should be very interested in the topic.  Otherwise, you are missing out on what might be the most powerful part of the system.  If you’ve done the foundation work, though, you might be looking around for the next step.  So let’s talk about that, because the care and feeding of your knowledge base is a critical element of long term success. 

Unlike most software companies, we use our own product every day. 


Dwane Lay
December 21, 2015

The Tradition of Advisory Boards

There’s a long standing tradition of HR tech companies creating advisory boards to help them guide their company.  This has been especially visible over the last few months, and I’ve had several clients and contacts asking about our board, how we use them, and what value they add.  The answer is really simple.

We don’t have one.

It’s not that we haven’t thought about it or discussed it.  We did.  We had long discussions over it, and as a team made the decision that there wasn’t value to us adding a board.  There are good reasons to have an advisory board, I think.  Here are a few of them, and our perspective.

Product Direction

The obvious (or at least the most often mentioned) benefit of an advisory board is, well, advice.  Getting input from thought


Dwane Lay
October 16, 2015

Changes in Configuration

We are sometimes asked about major changes in configuration, and how to adjust someone’s environment to be what they are, not what they were.  It’s not terribly difficult, since our system was designed for flexibility.  It’s usually a matter of making changes in the List Editor, modifying some routing rules, and dropping the new system in place.  We recently were asked a much more challenging question, though, that inspired us to look outside our system for an answer.

Mass Changes

The question revolved around a mass change in Case Type for all cases, starting with the first one in the system.  Looking forward is easy, but the idea of a retroactive change was unique and original.  Fortunately, our Rules Engine is powerful enough to handle the request.  Our Engine allows for Rules to be written on ANY


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