HR Demo recap - A New Show With Several Interesting Outcomes

Lots of cool things at an intimate HR show in Las Vegas. Katherine Jones posts a recap of the event and her observations of some of the HR vendors there.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor

Colleague Katherine Jones and I attended the HR Demo Conference in Las Vegas last week. Her observations include:

• The concept of the HR Demo Conference is an industry first: allowing vendors to present an in-depth live demonstration of their wares to audiences interested in exactly those products. Unlike the trade floor with crowded, noisy booths, the venue led to a more complete view of the products – sometimes with warts and all. The potential prospects in the audience could ask questions to presenters who were knowledgeable enough to answer them. Each of the vendors also had space for attendees to engage in follow-on conversations or further questions about the product sets demonstrated.

• Monster used the venue to launch its 6Sense Enterprise Suite, an AI functionality aimed at more intelligent matching of resumes with job positions. While clearly useful in the recruiting space, it is very likely this smart technology will be applicable in many other arenas as well. First announced to analysts at the fall HR Tech show in Chicago, it was nice to really see it in action.

• Full-length live demos gave the audience a chance to compare the user interfaces of the talent management products shown, which varied from “busy” to cartoon-ish, from data-laden pages to clean and clear. In addition, the audience could ascertain performance differences as well. Some solutions took a long time to render metrics – too long for real-life use—while others (such as Workday) positively screamed as SaaS performers with impressive sub-second response times.

• As a workforce planning aficionado, I like the workforce planning embedded in SuccessFactors – aptly demoed by one of that company’s product managers. He could provide others with a great model of how to give a clear, articulate demonstration.

• Both SaaS and hosted products were put up on a pedastal—why do some vendors persist in confusing buyers by telling them that their hosted, single tenant systems are SaaS? There is nothing wrong with providing a hosted system—but please be honest about it!

• Highlighting the first Analyst Summit was a presentation by the talented and articulate Brad Warga, Vice President of Talent and Engagement at Harrah’s Entertainment, with a from-the-trenches view of hiring top talent in the gaming and hospitality industry. I think all the analysts in attendance enjoyed the Summit -- rarely do we get to talk about what it is to be an analyst with our peers.

• Both Brad and Dennis Donovan, previously in charge of talent acquisition at Home Depot and a speaker at a joint RPO and HR Demo keynote, were distinctive in that they both began their positions by actually working the jobs that they were hiring for-- to know what skills and personalities the positions in their respective businesses would require. Dennis wore the familiar orange apron and prayed that no one would ask him plumbing questions and Brad was subject to the criticism of Consuela, who apparently really knew how hotel rooms have to be prepared for the next guest.

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