"HR Software"I had an interesting discussion today with a software vendor in the talent planning and development space. Their software occupies a very specific niche in the analysis and forecasting aspect of workforce talent demand planning. It is a common and smart strategy for HR software vendors to approach one particular angle of the employee life-cycle mess continuum instead of trying to own the entire process.

We were talking about how the talent acquisition function has changed over the years from being purely focused on recruiting to retention, performance management, and operational demand forecasting. Talent acquisition, as it stands today, is becoming quite a misleading title. The talent acquisition function has evolved into more of the inclusive “Chief Talent Officer” model espoused in Talent Force back in 2006. In the equivalent of “scope creep” with software projects, the talent departmental job function has grown to encompass a broad set of diverse responsibilities.

I was thinking about this broadening of the talent acquisition job function and its relation to HR software. The HR and talent management software space is experiencing a very similar stretch. The talent acquisition software of ten years ago existed inside a silo. Today, HR vendors are often challenged to integrate with complex payroll, CRM, accounting, and many other enterprise systems. Talent software, once relegated to applicant tracking systems, bloated to enterprise systems that govern the entire supply chain of human labor and organizational performance.

We know that both the function of the talent acquisition profession and the functionality of talent software has experienced concurrent and radical growth of depth and importance within corporations. We have to ask ourselves which came first? If our jobs today involve management and sophisticated use of complex software systems, are the jobs of such experts simply following the expanded technology of the platforms? Or is the HR software simply playing catch up with the expanded role of the job function? For the talent acquisition and HR professional, the challenge will be to continue pushing the borders of their responsibilities apart from the systems that they manage. The recruiting and HR software vendors must also examine their direction and make sure they are addressing the needs and future responsibilities of the practitioners and not simply building to increase their technological footprint inside the enterprise. Technology and practitioners certainly shape the other; it is imperative that they compliment they other.

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