2 Noteworthy Themes from HR Service Delivery Conferences in 2013

Time to take a quick look back and reflect on the conferences we attended and/or sponsored in 2013. This year Dovetail found its way to 17 events that were a mix of HR technology, HR Shared Service, HR Service Delivery, Workday Rising, and many nationwide SHRM chapters. In all, we had quite a busy year! Without question, a couple particular and noteworthy themes formed.


The first of which: The very near death of the continued need to evangelize HR Case Management. I think we can finally declare that HR Case Management, especially with regards to HR Shared Service centers has officially outgrown the evangelistic phase. It’s far more prevalent these days that booth visitors have been introduced to the risk mitigating importance of properly tracking employee interactions. They also seem to be aware of the obvious efficiency gains to be derived from truly actionable analytics that come with it. As a result, we’re seeing a major uptick in funded projects to specifically bring HR Case Management solutions online within both HR Shared Service driven delivery models, as well as more traditionally based HR departmental configurations.


The second reminds me of a childhood song: Here a SaaS, there a SaaS, everywhere a SaaS, SaaS.


Real SaaS is here to stay and there’s a significant difference between true SaaS providers and another company’s marketing team jumping on a bandwagon to dress up a hosted product by labeling it SaaS. It was and has been everywhere at HR technology conferences for quite a while. The difference now is little by little HR technology practitioners are getting wiser to the game. With the assistance of up-and-coming big boys like our partner Workday leading the true SaaS charge, they and the other true SaaS providers (like Dovetail) are educating the HR community on the real benefits of going with a true SaaS offering. What’s the big deal you might ask? In a nut shell, true SaaS means a more modern and typically a more dialed in product for years to come at the same price or in many cases, a discounted price. “By golly, how’s that possible” you say? When you hitch up with a true SaaS provider, you’re insuring that you won’t be dragged down by that provider’s other laggard customers. Everyone is on the same version so true SaaS providers can focus resources on innovative product improvements versus pinning resources to supporting older, decaying versions.


Customer trends are easier to spot in a true SaaS offering which provides fresh data to support new enhancements. Those enhancements almost always reach the customer far faster! Vendor infrastructure flexibility is exponentially enhanced, allowing customers to reap the rewards when their true SaaS savvy providers continually choose the most secure, stable, powerful hosting platforms the market can offer. Finally, there’s no waiting and no maintenance headaches. Just as important, there are no related, additional professional services costs to account for. “Customization” is the fossil of “configuration”. If you have to build and customize your platform each time, guess what? You often have to rebuild components of those customizations right back when it’s time to upgrade; not exactly the wave of the future.


So to recap, we learned at 2013 HR technology, practitioner and shared services conferences that thankfully the evangelization phase of HR Case Management in any HR service delivery setting is a dying conversation while newly funded projects are a growing one. We also learned that the HR technology user community is growing more and more hip to true SaaS versus sugar-coated hosted products marketed as SaaS.


And with that, I soon bid you farewell to 2013 and a warm welcome to 2014 and the progression of HR technological savvy! Stay technologically thirsty my friends…

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