The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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Cycling Technology: Bike Frame Materials

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Karen Beaman wrote a guest post somewhere on the technology of tennis. I’ve occasionally written about cycling here, but thought I’d go into more detail on the technology of cycling and its impacts on performance. Cycling is actually one of the sports where in its face, technology advancements seem to be shunned. After all, we are riding around on bicycles. But the impact of various technologies on the basic concept of a bicycle are really quite profound.

Frame materials used to be pretty much steel. Until Cannondale came around (actually it was Vitus, but most of you don’t know that brand) and made aluminum bikes commonplace, steel was the frame material of choice. Aluminum made bikes lighter and thus marginally faster. Then came titanium and carbon fiber, each with their own ride characteristics and weight considerations. Think about how an SUV is tuned to drive as opposed to a sedan versus a sports car. Frame design and material does the same thing for a bike. As bikes get lighter and more comfortable, and as they are designed to allow more power output to be transmitted efficiently from the rider to the road, the bike actually allows you to go faster than they did 20 years ago.

So here comes part 2 of this post where I try to relate some strange and vague cycling concept to Human Resources. (it is an HR blog after all…) I’ll go back to the concept of employee portals and direct access. Basically it’s about providing the end user with an agility that allows them to do what they need to do faster and more efficiently. You can take your portal, and depending on the shape you give it, it can be a simple transactional site that provides relatively little value to the employee and to offloading work from your HR staff, or you can have an engine that allows not only your employees and your HR staff to perform their function faster.

(Just in case anyone cares, I have a custom Carl Strong titanium frame, double butted. Fully loaded with all off the shelf components, it comes in at just over 15 lbs.)

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