The recent CIPD HR Software Show 2011, held at London’s Olympia, provided a good insight into how employers might be putting software and technology to use in the near future.
With technology’s general shift in the direction of social media, apps and cloud-based solutions, it’s not surprising that HR has become well aware of the benefits of these tools and services and is increasingly exploring the benefits they can bring.
A lot of talk centred on the cloud, and a number of speakers and exhibitors were keen to tackle the obstacles that currently prevent more widespread take-up of cloud-based solutions – specifically cost, implementation and security.
Advanced Business Solutions gave one of the first day’s presentations and tackled some of these fears head-on. According to the presentation, cloud computing is more flexible than the types of systems currently widely used in HR and other sectors. One of the key selling points is the ability for HR to self-manage their information and software via the cloud without the need to involve central IT departments.
The presentation also discussed the issue of implementation, claiming that by pursuing cloud-based systems, organisations can” hit the ground running” without the need for a full-scale implementation programme. It also emphasised the ability to run cloud systems alongside established technology and processes, removing the need for a full-scale “switchover”. In addition, by making use of the cloud, organisations can reduce their capital expenditure and remove the need to have expensive, frequently updated in-house technology.
Security of cloud-based systems
As far as security is concerned, it was argued by numerous exhibitors at the show that the cloud is just as secure as established systems, if not more secure, and offers better disaster-recovery capabilities than most systems currently in place.
We spoke to Human Capital Services Limited. They are big advocates of the cloud, and some of the services they offer are shifting towards being cloud based. Consequently, they are keen to reassure people about the security factors. A representative at the show claimed that the cloud is just as secure as a data centre that might be currently in use, and is certainly more secure than old-fashioned practices such as paper-based systems or on-site hosting. He also pointed out that most people who worry about cloud security will, on a personal level, happily share personal information and photos on social networks or hosting services such as Flickr, which are no more secure than cloud-based business services and solutions.
Cezanne OnDemand service
The show also saw the launch of a solution designed to bring increased flexibility to employers’ people management processes. Cezanne Software used the show as the opportunity to launch its Cezanne OnDemand service, a pay-as-you-go solution for businesses with up to 500 employees. Cezanne claims that the service is the first of its kind, due to its pay-as-you-go approach, and that it therefore offers greater flexibility, affordability and quicker implementation than more traditional solutions.
The package costs as little as £2 per employee per month and Cezanne says that the employees can be added or removed as required. This distinguishes it from traditional, contract-based solutions that lock clients in for a set period of time.
On the app front, one of the most noteworthy developments was the launch by Lumesse (formerly StepStone Solutions) of TalentLink Mobile, a mobile app for talent management. The app will allow employees, managers and HR staff to access and manage information on people, applications, jobs, interviews and hiring processes.
Lumesse says that the app reflects the fact that HR, like many other business functions, is no longer nine-to-five, and HR professionals increasingly want the ability to manage their processes wherever and whenever they like. The app will be rolled out across Apple, Android and Blackberry platforms in July.
Social recruitment is the other big tech topic occupying HR at the moment, and one of the most significant social products on display at the show was TalentBrew. The product, launched by aia, is designed to help employers tie together all the technological aspects of their recruitment processes, such as search engine optimisation, mobile recruitment and social media.
TalentBrew is a platform that pulls all of these strands together, but its focus on facilitating the social recruitment process will no doubt be music to the ears of those recruiters still struggling to put together a solid strategy for utilising social channels.
We’ve also had another important piece of news around social recruitment, with the launch of Monster’s BeKnown platform. BeKnown is a Facebook application that will enable users to make professional connections that are distinct from their friends, while also discovering job opportunities and building and managing an online professional profile alongside their personal ones. The platform is available to any Facebook user and looks likely to compete with the growing influence of LinkedIn in social recruitment.