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HR Tech Europe 2012: review

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We're back from HR Tech Europe with the feeling of having participated in something big. It has been a very positive surprise to see the strong evolution of the event in just one year: Today we can totally say that this European conference is on track to establish itself as one of the main references in the sector, both in number of participants and the value of the speakers.

I want to start this review by mentioning the great conference by Peter Hinssen, CEO of Across Technology, that masterfully describes the world in which we live today: "volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous", assimilated into the stands for a new concept coined for him: VUCA. In his panel, "The New Normal in HR", he described the exact moment that we are in at the technological evolution, coming from a newborn world of technology yet to reach another point in which technology has already become an integrated part. Technology also has managed to connect every part of the planet from local to global, in a “glocal” world.

Naturally, the companies are involved in these changes, and not far behind are those that are able to carry out a global and diverse management: dynamic, global and integrated into a wide range of generations and cultures thus posing a great challenge of integration; and here is where European companies come to play, as Europe itself is complex and diverse.

This idea of what European companies can export to the world, as best practices in diversity management was repeated by various speakers during the event. Thomas Otter, Gartner Research VP, was one of them. He understands the complexity, diversity, and convergence operations, as he showed in his talk -The Nexus: ¨How the Convergence of Social, Mobile, Cloud & Information HR Tech Will Change the Landscape Forever" - in which he addressed the convergence of these factors and how globallity is handled via the Social and Big Data.

Josh Bersin spoke about Big Data as well, calling attention to the need to get valuable data from Human Resource Systems. I agree with him that the departments sit atop a gold mine in the form of data, but few also know how to get all of its usefulness.

This requires combining the administrative and strategic human resource management also at the information systems level. Bersin again showed a graph of the number of HR technology users willing to give up functionality for a better integration. I've seen that chart several times and noticed that the number of users who answer yes notably increases each year.

The industry leader Naomi Bloom also mentioned the importance of the unification of Core HR and Strategic Management: "What you don’t know will hurt you! ", where she covered other topics of the moment: The SaaS, Cloud and the importance of understanding what the sellers have behind the curtain. Naomi in her speech stressed how important it is for HR managers in a technology selection processes, to understand what the provider offers, by demanding test scenarios tailored to their specific needs. A good recommendation, which I fully agree with, is that it is vital that HR managers have a high level of knowledge to make the best decisions for them, in an industry that marketers do marketing and fashions boil.

Finally, we return from the event feeling happy to have a new meeting place in Europe for industry, consumers and analysts, and looking forward to returning next year to physically greet so many people that during the year we just see as talking profiles on LinkedIn. Meanwhile, we we’ll keep seeing each other in the discussion groups! :)

Carlos Castellanos

Carlos Castellanos Isla is a computer engineer from the University of Deusto. He has spent his entire career at Meta4, having held management responsibilities in different areas of the company. Before creating the Global HR Operations Division in 2011 he was in charge of Presales and R&D in Spain for the private and public sectors.

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