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Integrating Talent Applications (Suites)

systematicHR Avatar

As we seem to be moving past the initial enamoration of talent functionality, there seems to be more and more disillusionment with the lack of full integration that we are used to expecting with more mature applications like HRIS, payroll and benefits.  (ok, that’s fully debatable, I know…)  But the problem is that not only do talent applications within a “single suite”, but they don’t play nice with other application providers either.  My experience is that integration is spoken of confidently by the talent vendors, but delivered minimally.

At the very least, we’d like to think that data integration exists between performance, compensation, and succession within a single suite.  Generally, integration is ok between those functions.  Where things fall apart is integration with core HRIS.  While vendors say that standard integration exists, I have yet to come across an organization that is satisfied with delivered integration with no modifications to the program.  And even with the modifications, integration is not sufficient.  competencies, job, organization unit, and other data elements need to be better integrated.  Certainly, there is a fairly consistent list of data elements we would want from any core HR system to talent, although the list is fairly robust.  Similar to payroll and benefits, the lists are 90% predefined and should not be as hard as it is to integrate today.

Second however, integration with user environments is completely non-existent.  What I want to see is a portal environment that managers access not only for their core HR transactions, but also for their talent applications.  This means that ultimately the talent functionality, data and workflows need to be brought forward into a unified portal environment.  Raising the API’s for workflow elements and notifications is probably not as simple as the theory sounds, but hopefully we’re just a few years away from that.  The idea that talent vendors have today around presenting a separate portal environment is nice, but at the end of the day, managers don’t want to go to multiple applications to know what HR functions they need to perform that day, or to view multiple sets of metrics.

Meg Bear writes a few nice thoughts
around integrated talent applications, but I’d like to make sure we don’t stop there – let’s make sure that integrated talent applications also include the right API’s to integrate with the rest of HR as well.

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5 responses to “Integrating Talent Applications (Suites)”

  1. Twitter will kick themselves for missing this The ownership of names is the long term play. Profiles: The Foundation This piece, by Mark Bennet, is a part of a complex conversation going on here, here, here andhere. It’s esoteric and does not bode well for the long term success of the solutions under consideration. Talent Management Suites will be the method use to drive 21st Century organizational optimization. But, it can only happen when the jargon is

  2. Meg Bear Avatar

    Absolutely, the integration of talent applicaitons without a strong HR link will ultimately be problematic. This is the long term issue that many companies struggle to see at the beginning.

  3. systematicHR Avatar

    Meg – you’re right that the lack of a strong link is problematic – probably in more ways than we can currently predict. I’m disappointed in vendors who deliver lackluster integration capabilities, but at the same time, linking jobs and competencies on top of core employee data is also harder than most think.

    And while not only is the talent market shifting, but companies like Workday might make the HRMS market shift as well. Lawson’s recent move to move core HR tables closer to the talent functionality also has a strong impact. I say it every 3 years, but I’m interested and excited to see what the next 3 years brings…

  4. Romuald Avatar

    One reason why integration capabilities still disappoint is that it is difficult to integrate something you’re not an expert on.
    Recruiting solution vendors know perfectly their world and how it works internally but they don’t necessarily have a deep understanding how competency management solutions or core employee data management work.
    To gain this understanding you need to have both parties at the table for extended period of times.
    Now, multiply this by the number of potential integrations and you understand why most companies balk off at the idea of deep integrations.

    I think this is where the value of industry groups such as HR-XML shows up (disclaimer: I am the President of the Board of HR-XML).
    When you have multiple players around the table to discuss a new standard, there is a huge amount of knowledge that is exchanged.
    During those discussions, all parties (who are expert in their field) explain what they are doing from a data and process perspective and this end up with standards that support all sides of the equation.

  5. […] as does the market.  One thing I noticed for sure (systematichr also commented on the subject in this recent post):  companies are increasingly serious about getting the right kind of long-term […]