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No more HCM ‘glue code’ – One vendor is all you need

May 1, 2018

In my 20 years of software, I have seen patterns repeat themselves over and over. I have watched the ping pong bounce from centralized and distributed computing; seen the focus move from ERP and business based systems (most notably in Healthcare the revolutionizing of HIS systems), and the pendulum dramatically swing from best of breed back to looking to a single vendor to support the HCM/ERP needs.

From my checks of the temperature, this is tied to a bunch of reasons. I have seen implementations that decreased the totally number of integrations from 400 custom APIs to 11, dramatically decreasing how “MacGyvered” (to make or repair an object in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand) the system feels and its fragility. Much of the fragility is tied to cost, due to as the potential for a larger discount, that can insult in you buying a larger footprint. In Healthcare, in my experience, there has been an “Epic-tization” of software and expectations from HCM software partnerships, where vendors hold your hand through “Wonderland” to ensure you do not fail; which can only occur where one company is responsible for the entire footprint.

For me though, with my passions being simplification and usability, I believe it is because with a single vendor, we can finally make our software easy enough to navigate and intuitive enough to use. That the very people we are trying to help, namely EVERY employee at a company, can actually use it.

You see, I cut my teeth as a Software Developer and Consultant in the late 90’s, when the entire focus of the companies was “Surviving” the Y2K bug, a two-character date variable. (Millennials, ask that old guy in IT J). Back then it was all about function instead of form as we spent all our time worrying about Super-Users and how FAST they could get stuff into the system. I once had a very large company tell me, “Every time our order processors take their hands off the keyboard to touch the mouse, it takes a half a second … if you make them touch the mouse 10 times per order, we would have to hire over 100 people if we want to use this function effectively”. Everything was geared around that awesome “Tab key”, even if they had to hit it 100 times throughout the order.

Lost were the Casual users that would stare at screens, get lost, and give up!

After a bunch of years working directly for a software vendor, I decided all the fun was out in the client-sphere. So, I promptly took down my shingle and jumped on board to work in IT at a Fortune 100 company. I quickly moved up the ranks into greater leadership positions. It was there I had my epiphany, sitting in my office, looking over my fiefdom, and trying to figure out why everyone was calling me for help, when the tools where right there.

My Giant ‘Aha!’ moment was, that while everything they needed was right in front of them, the people I so desperately wanted to help needed ‘Sacagawea interpreter’ to know how to get to it all … and if you did not click control, shift F2 at the perfect time … all would be lost. People felt like the very software that was intended to help them, was making them feel stupid and confused.

What I realized in that moment, is there was nothing I could do from my castle on the hill within the company, because adding modifications and custom programs was an unsustainable model. What I needed to do is take this passion for usability and get it ‘a ton’ closer to the source, fixing the usability problem in the base software!

It was that light bulb moment that had me shed all my fancy titles, and apply at Infor with my ZEAL to change usability as the number one reason they should hire me. Once in Product Management, all the sparks I was spraying, caught fire and two years ago we started a transformation unprecedented in our company’s history!

Last week I read that companies on an average is asking HR teams to navigate 16 different HCM vendors and 24 different user experiences to interact with their Employers!

That is total lunacy! Can you imagine if someone described that situation for accounts payable (AP) or Supply Chain Management (SCM) software? That they would have to log into 7 different systems to create a PO … nobody would buy that solution.

But somehow in HCM it has been okay, or actually worse … the NORM! And worse than that, instead of it effecting only a select group of buyers or AP clerks, this problem effects EVERY EMPLOYEE!

When I decided to pursue my passion, I went to the company I felt had the broadest footprint; and as such, was best positioned to solve this problem! Now, when I talk with clients, I can confidently show them how one Vendor can replace 16-18 of their desperate-systems (or 4-8 sub-systems when people already thought they had aligned with a single ERP vendor, only to get it in and realize it could not perform enough tasks, or was not as integrated as they thought) with:

  • A single integrated platform (no peskier MacGyvered Interfaces) A single log in and user experience (no more of employees getting lost, throwing their hands up, and hitting that little x in the top right corner) Built as intuitively as Amazon (cause nobody has needed a training class to use Amazon).

The differences between a year ago and today are DRAMATIC and POWERFUL.

Want to see it in action? Come by the Infor Booth, I would LOVE to show you and talk about the future of HCM, where my dream and that epiphany I had sitting in my office, now feels like a long distant path, is realized!

Visit Infor at UNLEASH (Booth #500) May 15-16, 2018.

Matthew Bragstad, Sr. Product Manager, Development, Infor

  • North America
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