As I am on the plane back from Dreamforce 2012 in San Francisco, my biggest takeaways from the event are as follows:
- Salesforce.com is definitely much more than a tool for sales people. We have thought in the past about Salesforce.com being a CRM company. Salesforce has truly transformed itself into an enterprise software company for todays era.
- The future is social and soon we will not be talking about it as something odd but something that we take for granted. We buy things leveraging social technologies. We communicate using social technologies. We consume information using social technologies. We are just starting the journey to transform the way we work leveraging social technologies.
- The shift to leveraging social technologies to enable the future of work is not a question of does a vendor have this feature or that feature. The shift is truly a change in thinking that is required in understanding that the world we live in today is different than it was 10 years ago and we as humans adapt to todays norms.
- Work.com by Salesforce is not Salesforce’s entry into the HR software space. Another area that we must think differently about is that while there are things that the HR function needs to do their job both effectively and efficiently, the majority of the people that use todays “workforce” technology is the workforce. It is important to ask yourself, are you buying technology and adopting new processes for the HR function or are you trying to engage the workforce. The answer to this question tells you which aisle to go down in the grocery store.
- Salesforce has been in the “workforce” software space since its inception and have an amazing understanding of what it takes to drive adoption, create tools that are meant to be used in real-time and an understanding that people will not go to 8-10 pieces of technology to get something done.
- I continue to evolve my thinking as does the market that enterprise software of the past has been silo’d by departments in an organization. The HR function bought some software. The finance function bought some software. The sales organization bought some software. Did they talk? Did employees like going between the tools? Did they really follow a logical work process? NO. The future of enterprise software is not segmented by department but it is segmented by role.
- HR needs to stop thinking that a one size fits all piece of software that we in the past have called HR technology, technology for the HR function, is something that can truly meet the business’s needs. For HR to be effective in getting adoption of workforce facing technologies into the future, it needs to figure out how to put the tools that meet its needs, if they truly know what they are and the business buys into them, into the process as it is being done by the worker.
- As I am updating an opportunity as a salesperson, let me give feedback to my co-worker and share my presentation from today FROM THE SAME INTERACTION.
- As I am serving customers in a call center, let me answer the customers question using a document stored online and FROM THE SAME INTERACTION, give feedback to a colleague about the great document they created a week ago as another customer was having the same issue.
- As I am reviewing a new marketing plan that was created by one of my Jr. Marketing Managers, let me give them praise and at the same time give them an instant incentive of a credit or gift card FROM THE SAME INTERACTION.
- As I do my weekly meetings with my team, let me look at how their work is aligned to my goals and in real-time discuss all of the other feedback they have received during the week FROM THE SAME INTERACTION.
- Take note, that I am not using the word TRANSACTION, but using the term INTERACTION. Another key takeaway from Dreamforce for me is that the world of the TRANSACTION is important but an INTERACTION adds exponential ongoing value to the enterprise.
- Not every organization, not even a majority of organizations are ready to think this way. I believe that wave is coming and coming fast, but it is not in most organizations DNA today. What does this mean? This means that what you are doing today isn’t wrong, but more than likely will change as our world continues to change and evolve. The tools you are using today will continue to shift and evolve, and your job going forward is to fully document your strategy and the business outcome you are looking to achieve, then and only then, pick a tool that will meet the desired outcome.
The HR technology world isn’t dead and will never be dead. HR as a department, as we know it today, needs tools and will continue to need tools to do its job better. What we don’t know today are two things:
- What is the future of the HR function? Will it, or a better question, SHOULD IT evolve to try to provide tools, vision, processes and standards for the enterprise?
- AND..Does it really make sense to embed the workforce collaboration and social interaction capability into HR software that employees/managers might use weekly, monthly or even less or should it sit embedded in processes that they use daily.
I walk away from Dreamforce with many more questions then answers. I walk away from Dreamforce amazed at the world outside of HR and how quickly it has passed the HR function in driving engagement and collaboration within its individual functions and I walk away from Dreamforce knowing, and feeling amazingly lucky to live in an era where the next 5-10 years will drive not just the same old stuff in new technology, but completely new ways of working, communicating and creating value in new technology.
We live in an amazing era in the world today. Lets work together to change it one day at a time!
Another infusion of knowledge…