When will HR catch onto the wave?

A few days ago (16 to be exact) Thomas Otter (a solution architect at SAP) posted on Enterprise RSS, web 2.0 and HR, he also skimmed the social web and it’s potential in the enterprise space. It is fantastic that these concepts are being picked up by more and more people.

However I kind of disagree with that the niche providers not being able to move to the new world. While the current band of niche providers may not move new entrants are more likely to get a jump on SAP and Oracle in the space. Small niche players can build and deploy point solutions to the SME market place rapidly, getting an enterprise solution based on an ERP toolset is a big undertaking. However “joe average HR” will not be ready to jump until SAP, Oracle and prodominantly Microsoft enter the market as then technologies will not have hit mainstream, this is 2 – 3 years away just look at the Gartner hype cycles.

A couple of points we need to consider when looking at HR and these new social media tools. We are moving into a world of “mashups”, where open APIs, scripts and open standards (RSS, OPML , SSE etc) are allowing people with fairly limited technical skills to create tools that we only dreamt about a few years ago. This change is going to fundamentally impact how HR delivers services to employees, employees deliver services to employers, and how employees deliver services to each other.

Let’s look at OPML to delivery training content as required, or replacing your ATS with Google. Ok neither are 100% possible today but every month we get closer to being able to create toolsets like these using a “mashup” of services from a variety of vendors. If HRIS vendors really caught on and implemented HR-XML as Chuck Allen has been talking about for the last 6 years and then made a set of open APIs things would really begin to rock. What about Google Maps integrated with job board feeds to show where jobs are located? Indeed has done something like this with their Job Trends, but lets go bigger. Or a basic performance/360 review tool built on SSE allowing managers, employees and peers to participate in the review process.

Over the last couple of years SAP has really begun to open up. The NetWeaver platform is providing companies with a great foundation for many things. SDN has examples every day on how to open up SAP and connect it to different bits of the enterprise, I have spoken before about SAP and PHP. There are talks within SDN of enterprise RSS readers and other types of tools that will enable more content sharing within the enterprise.

For a real vision of what the world holds have a read of the whitepaper pointed to by Thomas’s post.

Vendors get cracking and open your systems more.

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