Wikis and HR

Ok, more from (I can’t believe I just found this!).

Jason has a short intro into a new company called JotSpot. There are a few differences between Jotspot and other Wikis like SocialText the main one is the guys at Jotspot have created some prebuilt applications for users. This is a fantastic idea and I believe the potential for this application, and wikis in general is huge.

I have a couple of concerns firstly it might be too far ahead of it’s time, but that just could be my view from the Australian market. I say this based on several things.

Last week at the People in HR conference I attended a session on using MS Office technology (specifically Outlook) for productivity improvements, infact the session was entitled “Collaborative HR applications: maximising HR productivity with existing MS software”. While the presentation was good and showed how existing technology could be reused to provide additional benefits to organisations I was let down on the collaborative side of things. Phil Lovell provided several screen shots on how they have used Public Folders, Outlook forms and basic programming to create a Travel Management application, he stated the next item they are tackling will be recruitment.

Why was I disappointed? Firstly the tools and technologies Phil was using were getting onto being 10 years old and have been available since the first version of Exchange. Now I admit to being an early adopter and so I could be biased here just on the technology. Other issues were no web interface, no other collaborative tools such as instant messaging which would have helped their process dramatically. What disappointed me the most was at during the questions. One HR manager asked if it would work with Outlook 97, answer was yes, the organisation he works for must be embarrassed if that is still there standard platform. The second item during question time was a comment from the two HR managers behind me who said words to the effect of “it is amazing how much you learn from these sessions, I never know such things were possible.” At which point I almost fainted.

Coming back to JotSpot. If our organisations are still using 7 year old tools and the HR managers have not even seen basic office automation tools, well JotSpot may as well not exist.

My other concern on the “application side” is it might get clients 50% of the way to their solution and then they hit a brick wall. I say this from the position of not having used to product and just gone through the tour. When I get a chance I might fire up a beta test.

Relooking at what I have written this sounds like I am down on things. I am not I am concerned.

Everyone who is involved in the HRIS industry in Australia should be out there communicating to their clients (HR managers) and helping them develop visions that include even the most basic office productivity tools. We should be helping HR managers understand the potential of technology, this does not mean the news terms and buzz words. Instead maybe we should all sit down with one HR manager and show them JotSpot to really one their eyes!

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