I spent some time this week at Bill Kutik's annual HR Tech conference in Chicago. I had not been to the conference in a few years and boy, has it grown - 250 vendors in the Expo, over 2,000 attendees.
The other big change - other than in the title of the conference, no one seems to use the term "Human Resources" any more (of course, some organizations never migrated past "Personnel"). First person I ran in to at the Expo was Terry Hunter (of The Hunter Group fame) a fixture in the market segment and he summarized it "Every vendor here is pitching Talent Management. And of course, SaaS".
Bill Kutik's signature session during the conference - a vendor "shoot out" - focused on, you got it - Talent Management (Authoria, Cornerstone, salary.com and SoftScape provided the props for the OK Corral)
Jim Holincheck, who has tracked the market for a while now at
Gartner and can claim much of the credit (or blame) for the Talent
Management moniker told me it is a term both buyers (even at the CEO
level) and vendors can relate to. Alternatives like "Human Capital
Management" were too high-falutin'.
While vendors appeared to outnumber buyers at the conference, I met
with 2 Lawson customers and 3 Workday customers. For different reasons
(to be covered in a separate post) they all seemed very happy with
their solutions. Update: here is the post about the customers I talked to.
While there was a smattering of innovation - a panel on how web 2.0 will
affect the discipline, a handful of "cool
HR vendors" - you had to wonder how the masses of vendors differentiate when
everyone claims to do Talent Management. Indeed, Jason Averbook who runs Knowledge Infusion
told me some of his more sophisticated clients like Target have not
been able to find even with that much choice a good fit for their needs.
Larry Dunivan of Lawson interviewed me about what innovations I would have liked to have seen at the show and I gave him my perspective. Update: download my chapter on HR Innovations in a new book HR Horizons
I did leave the show with admiration for Bill for having grown the show successfully for years now. And with a note that I needed to see Matt Damon again in this movie..after all, talent is the buzzword du jour.
Update: Bill Kutik's own POV on the event, and links to other bloggers who posted on the event