There was some “news” this week that broke about acquisitions in the HR technology space. SAP acquired Success Factors which acquired Jobs2Web. Whale eats fish.
As an everyday HR gal in the trenches, do these acquisitions really mean anything to me? As a customer of none of those products, not so much. I watch and follow along though just so I can be conversant enough, just because acquisitions in general are fascinating to me. And one thing I happened to catch, which is kind of interesting, is that Halogen, a SuccessFactors competitor, is offering customers who are “looking for an alternative, a soft landing” the opportunity to make the switch to Halogen with all software fees waived for the remainder of the customer’s current term of their SuccessFactors contract. Wow, right? That’s kind of ballsy. And nice of them. Good move.
But while help with costs is absolutely a nice gesture, I started thinking a bit more about such an offer and I wondered… costs aside, what else would I really need and want in order to actually make the switch from one system to another? After all, system conversions are never painless.
So with Christmas around the corner, I thought I’d pause in light of these Whale-eats-fish moves we’ve seen this week and offer a wish list to Santa of what I really want from my HR tech vendors –
I want a dedicated customer support manager who isn’t bogged down by dozens of clients. I hate submitting Help Desk tickets. Sometimes you just want to pick up the phone and talk through an issue rather than taking a number as you would at the meat counter. I want personal service – someone who gets my business and how we use the technology – intimately. I am tech savvy enough to manage systems so you better know even more than me and be an advisor and strategist both. I also need you to understand my company’s internal dynamics including possible bureaucracy or politics. But in order for my customer support person to know me that well? Well, that means he would have had to have fulfilled wish number two…
I want you to be involved in my implementations or conversions in a meaningful way. A checklist to implement is nice but not enough. I want you to help me think through process re-engineering. I want you to help me with developing if not directly co-training end users. I also want help with communicating around changes. It could be templates; it could be simply check-lists for whom to remember to communicate with. But that’s not too much to ask, is it? If I’m a midmarket company, chances are implementations or conversions are still largely done in a bootstrap way. Help me think it through. Help make it easier for me. I likely have limited resources dedicated to doing a conversion or implementation.
I want you to help me optimize how we use your technology on an ongoing basis. Sometimes it’s hard to step back when you’re deep in the trenches. Sometimes I need data put in my face to help me see what’s what. I want you to give me insightful information and data about how we are or are not using your technology. A semi-annual check-in? Okay! I’ll take it. Tell me about system improvements, give me a recap of issues we’ve encountered and how they are being addressed, share with me what other customers are doing and how I might learn a thing or two from them. I know you send me customer email communications and updates… but when you are bombarded daily with email from everyone and their momma’s… it’s just another email.
So yes, at the end of the day, it’s just some attention I’m looking for. I know. I’m a needy, needy gal. But bells and whistles or waived fee considerations only get you so far. Sometimes it’s simply about great service and relationships.
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.