HR transformation: Four takeaways from HR Tech World San Francisco

Diletta D'OnofrioBy Diletta D’Onofrio

Some might argue data is an organization’s most valuable asset. Others will unequivocally say it’s your people. But few will debate this: those companies who manage to bring together the latest in technology with the best of the employee will outperform the competition and be the leaders in the marketplace.

This intersection of people and tech was on full display last week at HR Tech World in San Francisco. I had the privilege of attending the two-day event, where I mingled with Human Resource Officers (HROs), learned from keynote speakers and thought leaders, and tested the latest tech solutions at the vendor booths. From SAP SuccessFactors to Workday, IBM to Cornerstone, Deloitte to ADP – they were all there, making this conference a must-attend for those like me who are interested in exploring the latest ideas, best practices, and technologies to transform HR in the digital era.

Here are a few of my takeaways from my two days at HR Tech World:

  • “Breaking HR”:  So much has changed in the last five years, say nothing of the last 30 years. And yet, as Cisco Chief People Officer Francine Katsoudas explained in her presentation, many global, Fortune 100 organizations are still running HR processes and technologies that were developed for a 1970’s workplace. Katsoudas argued that to capitalize on the promise of the digital age companies must think and work differently, which means incremental HR improvements may need to be pushed aside in favor of a complete overhaul. In other words, we must have the courage to “break HR” if we want to truly lead the Future of Work.
  • Put people at the center: An organization’s digital transformation initiative cannot succeed without effective workforce transformation. Internal processes need to follow the employee experience and not the other way around. Tech-native millennials have new expectations around what makes for a great workplace. Saddling them with archaic processes or legacy systems is a recipe for failure, a sure-fire way to doom any transformation effort. As HR thought leader, author, and LeapGen CEO Jason Averbook noted on stage, “HR technology drives culture,” so invest in the best tech.
  • Tech is getting smarter, faster, easier: It seems like just yesterday that vendors at events such as this one were touting their cloud capabilities as a tech differentiator, but now the cloud is table stakes. Today, the new tech battleground is around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) – you couldn’t walk five feet without hearing new vendor strategies and technology capabilities to help automate and accelerate routine tasks that were once the domain of only humans. “Rethink processes with machine learning,” demanded Yvette Cameron, SVP and Global Head of Strategy at SAP SuccessFactors, in her presentation. She asked, “are your systems and processes ‘continuous, connected, intelligent, and live?'”
  • Data integration – The keys to unlocking HR transformation: To be honest, I got lost a few times in the Exhibition Hall, what with the dozens of vendor booths touting their solutions for recruiting and onboarding, payroll and compensation, learning and development, performance management, workforce planning and analytics, and more. While many vendors offer “HR suites,” with several applications that are said to seamlessly work together, I spoke with several HROs who admitted they’ve got dozens of HR applications in place across their enterprise, and often from multiple vendors. Maybe ADP for payroll, Cornerstone for performance management, Workday for talent management, and so on. Getting them all to work together remains a struggle for most companies, putting a strain on budgets, resources, productivity, and time-to-value. Time and again, I heard – “Integration, integration, integration!” – the companies I met, across all industries and of all sizes, repeatedly said it was a top priority to find better, faster ways to integrate apps and data sources across complete, end-to-end business processes, such as hire-to-retire, for example.

It was a great two days. Lots learned, and lots to do as we continue to help our customers in HR integrate their applications and data sources to accelerate HR transformation. I look forward to next year’s HR Tech World event.

Diletta D’Onofrio leads the Digital Transformation Group at SnapLogic. Follow her on Twitter @ddonofrio13.

Data management takes center stage at Rutberg 2017 conference

Each year, research-centric investment bank Rutberg & Company gathers top business leaders and technology experts for an intimate, two-day forum where they discuss and debate the technology, ideas, and trends driving global business. The annual Rutberg 2017 conference took place last week in Half Moon Bay, California, and data management was front and center.

SnapLogic CEO Gaurav Dhillon joined Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert and Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt for a spirited panel discussion on the growing data management opportunities and challenges facing enterprises today. The panel was moderated by Fortune reporter Jonathan Vanian.

A number of important data management and integration trends emerged, including:

  • LOB’s influence grows: Gaurav noted that more and more, “innovation is coming from the LOB,” whether in Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, or elsewhere in the organization. These LOB leaders are tech-savvy, are responsible for their own P&L’s, and they know speed and agility will determine tomorrow’s winners. So they’re constantly on the hunt for the latest tech solutions that will drive innovation, spur growth, and help them beat the competition.
  • Data fragmentation on the rise: With individual LOBs procuring a flurry of new cloud applications and technologies, the result is often business silos and a disconnected enterprise. “The average enterprise has 10x more SaaS apps than a CIO thinks,” said Gaurav of the increasing SaaS sprawl, which is requiring CIOs to think differently about how they integrate and manage disparate apps and data sources across the enterprise.
  • Self-service integration is here to stay: The bigger a company gets – with more apps, more end-points, more data-types, more fragmentation – there’s never going to be enough humans to manage the required integration in a timely manner, explained Gaurav. Enter new, modern, self-service integration platforms. “The holy grail of integration is self-service and ease-of-use … we have to bring integration out of the dungeon and into the light,” Gaurav continued. And this means getting integration into the hands of the LOB, and making it fast and easy. The days of command-and-control by IT are over: “Trying to put the genie back in the bottle is wrong; instead you need to give the LOBs a self-service capability to wire this up on their own,” noted Gaurav.
  • AI will be a game-changer: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are already making apps, platforms, and people smarter. Like with Google auto-complete or shopping on Amazon, we’re already becoming accustomed to assistance from, and recommendations by, machines. “Software without AI will be like Microsoft Word or email without spell-check,” it will be jarring not to have it, said Gaurav. AI is already being applied to complex tasks like app and data integration; it’s not a future state, he said, the start of “self-driving integration is happening today.”
  • The enterprise is a retrofit job: For all the latest advances – new cloud apps, AI and ML technologies, self-service integration platforms – the enterprise remains a “retrofit job,” where the new must work with the old. Large, global enterprises aren’t about to throw out decades of technology investment all at once, particularly if it is working just fine or well-suited to handle certain business processes. So, new cloud technologies will need to work with older on-premise solutions, once again cementing integration platforms as a critical piece of an enterprise technology strategy. “It will be a hybrid world for a long, long time,” concluded Gaurav.

Without question, data has become any organization’s most valuable asset, and those that are able to integrate, manage, and analyze data effectively will be the winners of tomorrow.

SnapLogic Sits Down with theCUBE at AWS re:Invent to Talk Self-Service Cloud Analytics

SnapLogic was front-and-center at AWS re:Invent last week in Las Vegas, with our team busier than ever meeting with customers and prospects, showcasing our solutions at the booth, and networking into the evening with event-goers interested in all things Cloud, AWS integration and SnapLogic.

Ravi Dharnikota, SnapLogic’s Head of Enterprise Architecture and Big Data Practice, took time out to stop by and visit with John Furrier, co-founder of the live video interview show theCUBE.  Ravi was joined by Matt Glickman, VP of Products with our partner Snowflake Computing, for a wide-ranging discussion on the changing customer requirements for effective data integration, SaaS integration, warehousing and analytics in the cloud.  

The roundtable all agreed — organizations need fast and easy access to all data, no matter the source, format or location — and legacy solutions built for a bygone era simply aren’t cutting it.  Enter SnapLogic and Snowflake, each with a modern solution designed from the ground-up to be cloud-first, self-service, fully scalable and capable of handling all data. Customers using these solutions together — like Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium — enjoy dramatic acceleration in time-to-value at a fraction of the cost by eliminating manual configuration, coding and tuning while bringing together diverse data and taking full advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the cloud.

To make it even easier for customers, SnapLogic and Snowflake recently announced tighter technology integration and joint go-to-market programs to help organizations harness all data for new insights, smarter decisions and better business outcomes.

To watch the full video interview on theCUBE, click here.

Connect with SnapLogic at AWS re:Invent

This week, the SnapLogic team will be supporting one of our partners, Amazon Web Services, in Las Vegas for the annual AWS re:Invent conference. This gathering of the global AWS community will feature hands-on labs and bootcamps and cover topics such as infrastructure maintenance, and improving developer productivity, network security and application performance.

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The Evolution of IOT Data Management with Joseph A di Paolantonio

Today’s post comes from Joseph A. di Paolantonio, an industry expert working at the convergence of IoT with data management and analytics at DataArchon.com and the Boulder BI Brain Trust. Leveraging a career that started with renewable energy research in graduate school and industry, developing risk assessment models and algorithms for aerospace systems, and managing teams for enterprise data warehousing, BI and data science, Joseph is defining sensor analytics ecosystems to bring value from the IoT.

What’s IOT All About

We have been asking what the IoT is all about for a very long time. Since Kevin Ashton first coined the phrase in 1999, and perhaps even since Nikola Tesla first played with a remote control boat in 1898. For many, the simple act of connecting a device, not a computer, not a router, to the Internet is enough. But even if everything around us, in work, at home, for business, for play, was connected..Does this make the Internet of Things? Does this fulfill much of the hype or any of the stories surrounding the IoT? Not at all.

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Making Workday Faster for Vassar College

Last week we attended Workday Rising in Chicago where we talked to attendees about integrating Workday with the rest of their IT ecosystems. The real stars of the show, however, were our customers from Vassar College who gave a brief presentation at our booth to discuss their journey from finding the need for an integration vendor, to assessing different platforms, to ultimately choosing SnapLogic’s elastic integration platform as a service (iPaaS).vassar-college-image-edited

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SnapLogic CTO James Markarian Discusses the Evolving Big Data Landscape on theCUBE

SnapLogic was in New York this week for Strata + Hadoop World NYC, and our CTO James Markarian took the opportunity to sit down with Dave Vellante and George Gilbert, hosts of theCUBE, for a wide-ranging discussion on the shifting big data landscape.

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