A while back I observed some talent software from a leading talent management vendor. They were excited to show me their innovations around presenting a “seating chart” that would allow the user to visually see where employees were located within the organization. Obviously, the software also allowed drill through on each employee to provide some core data at a glance. (I don’t remember whose software this was). It occurred to me that only the tiniest number of customers would ever implement this technology. Spending resources and money on this is just not really that useful. However, for a software demonstration, this functionality is priceless. It’s still my thought that many of the current leading talent management vendors are simply creating new functionality not for the sake of advancing talent management to it’s fullest potential but to create “cool” and “flashy” functionality to increase sales.
Now, it’s possible that there is some great vision around this type of functionality, but the reality of it is quite far away. Let me explain one scenario: Consider a seating chart that is connected to both the regular organization chart. Seeing how the various layers of the org chart are actually set up to interact with each other could be quite interesting. Now add in a collaboration and social networking tool that analyzes how employees interact with each other regarding business topics. Now you have a third layer of analysis where your hierarchical structure can be compared to your physical structure compared to actual interactions. This analysis and insight would be very cool indeed. But once again, its at least a few years away.
Flashy demo’s are cool. But buying based on a great demo versus requirements is dangerous. Talent vendors innovating for sales versus the reality of future talent needs is also disconcerting.