Would you like a Talent Management Suite with that?

Dave Lefkow recently asked Who will own performance management? And Systematic HR responded cogently – while making the explicit point that performance management isn’t the key issue, it’s just the best starting point for talking about ownership of the HR part of Talent Management as a whole.

Here I’ll not respond directly to either of these pieces, but build on a couple of comments they make.

Dave Lefkow said: 

Meanwhile, lots of companies are buying talent management suites with performance management capabilities, but not a lot of them addressing the people and process components that will drive maximum value from the technology.

And, mirroring him, Systematic HR: 

recruiting, performance, learning all must collaborate to create a cohesive program that makes sense through the entire employee lifecycle 

This is a crucial point that is often overlooked when companies buy into Talent Management. Typically the need to understand an organisation’s talent begins with an acute pain in one area demanding a fix. With solution comes the vendor proposition:

And would you like a Talent Management Suite with that?

It seems like a good proposition. You have fixed one issue, so let’s use the same supplier to help us fix other, less acute, but apparently related issues.

In other words: Supersize my HR software.

The idea of the Talent Management Suite (TMS) is sound. This upselling approach, however, is not, for two reasons.

First (as Systematic HR has pointed out before), integration is key. For the suite to be useful, it has to offer real integration between its component parts. I’m a vendor so I won’t pursue this further into a non-credible product pitch, except to add that it’s reasonable for organisations to demand that where they have existing HR systems they are not required to strip and replace them for the new TMS to work. Integration should certainly extend to legacy systems. (This is something of a hobby horse of mine.)

The other, possibly more important issue, with the upselling of the TMS is this: the most wonderful technology is useless without integration between the organisation’s existing processes. Where the recruitment process already passes information to the learning and development deparment, which stores information on employee’s profiles and makes them available for regular appraisals, technology can underpin each individual process and make them more efficient.

Without that sort of integration, the technology won’t be allowed to do its job.

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2 responses to “Would you like a Talent Management Suite with that?

  1. Postscript: Dave Lefkow has subsequently posted a good summary of different positions on this: http://www.directorofrecruiting.com/2007/03/who_will_own_pe_1.html

  2. Pingback: Donald H Taylor

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