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SHRM: A Tale of Two Cities Where Big Data Meets HR Meat and Potatoes

Don Weinstein, Senior Vice President, Product Management

Reflecting on my experiences at the most recent SHRM® Annual Conference and Exposition reminds me of the classic novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” On the one hand, today’s HR leaders are immersed in a technological revolution consisting of disruptive and innovative new solutions. On the other hand, those same leaders are managing through an unprecedented wave of compliance challenges.

More than 15,000 attendees were encouraged to “Find Your BreaktHRough Moment” in Washington, D.C., by gaining insights from sessions on topics, such as analytics and benchmarking, talent management, benefit services, mobile solutions, time and labor management, multinational solutions, tax and compliance, and pay card solutions. Of those, more than 2,400 visited the ADP booth where we conducted more than 300 solution demos.

It’s always fascinating to observe the rate and pace of change in the HR industry and its appetite for adopting new technology. But while clients are striving for innovation, the Affordable Care Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and other related compliance challenges were also top of mind for just about all of the HR practitioners in attendance.

Onboarding solutions were a hit with SHRM attendees this year. A few of the sessions saw standing-room-only crowds, as did our own HR Technology Solutions Theatre session titled “Moments that Matter: Why the time between offer and new hire is critical to employee engagement,” which drew more than 100 attendees.

Moments that Matter booth

ADP’s presence at the most recent SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition, which drew more than 15,000 attendees.

With so much innovation on display, clients were driven by a desire to be creative and experiment with new solutions, but also cautious about taking on too much work and risk. The ADP® Marketplace, which enables companies to securely integrate their workforce data from ADP into our fast-growing roster of partners, proved to be a big hit with both clients and partners alike.

More than 130 partners and clients attended our ADP Marketplace Festival conducted at a roof top venue in the city. The event featured games and festival fare while providing a friendly atmosphere for ADP Marketplace partners to connect with ADP clients. Our thanks to ADP Marketplace partners Globoforce®, GetHired, Cornerstone OnDemand®, CoreID, MeetBetter and Concur® for co-sponsoring the event.

Moments that Matter-SHRM

Another observation of the conference is that the landscape for Big Data has become reminiscent of the wild west in the U.S. As more and more companies, including several startups, launch Big Data solutions, I find myself asking: Who are the real players vs. the pretenders? What is the quality of their data set? What is the level of sophistication of the data science behind those solutions? I hear many clients asking the same questions and looking for concrete evidence about what really works.

ADP® DataCloud also generated a lot of enthusiasm from show attendees. It enables business leaders and HR professionals from every part of an organization to generate actionable insights by using features embedded in their ADP HCM solutions to compare their workforce data with anonymized data from ADP’s 630,000 clients and 26 million paid employees. It also provides a benchmarking feature, which gives business leaders the ability to compare their own company’s data with current industry averages – including compensation, turnover and other workforce metrics.

We’ve witnessed this revolution in new technologies both as an observer and participant, particularly as it helps HR leaders contribute more and more to business success. At the same time, if HR technologies are going to truly revolutionize the HR function, we will likewise need innovative capabilities to transform complex compliance and regulatory issues that make up the bulk of HR’s daily diet.

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