What I Learned From HR Tech 2018

Written by: Manoj Tiwari
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HR Technology Conference is an annual (re)treat for and of people who live and breathe HR Technology. And 2018 was no exception. This year’s conference was the biggest ever, at least in terms of vendor participation. An estimated 450 vendors presented their products and services in the expo hall over three days, September 11-13, 2018.

I attended HR Tech Conference after being absent for 3-4 years and it felt like the conference has grown twice the size in that time-frame. The conference’s size was the first thing I noticed. The size and the number of vendors have grown significantly because a large number of venture capitalists (VCs) are investing dollars into HR technology, especially in newer technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Virtual Reality (VR). Billions of dollars are being pumped into the HR world because VCs see huge money-making potential by introducing the newest form of technology that can be applied to existing processes and products. Eventually, most of these technology companies with VC backing are assimilated into and by big names like SAP, Oracle, and Googles of the world.

Can AI and VR be Used in HR?

What I found interesting this year is how (almost) every vendor is trying to attach Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Diversity to their product and service. I’m still debating if AI and Virtual Reality (VR) can really be used in talent acquisition or is it just a marketing gimmick. The fact remains there is a 90-degree shift towards AI, Machine Learning (ML) and Diversity in HR technologies. And I feel as though this shift is not forced by vendors but by the corporate world searching for answers to their complex problems. Corporations are learning from these innovative vendors. Specifically, how data and information can be analyzed and presented in a way that can help them make decisions based on real data instead of a “gut feeling.”

HR Tech Attracts Innovative Women

I had the pleasure of meeting some noteworthy innovative, young, entrepreneurial women of color at the conference like the Pitchfest winner Stephanie Lampkin of Blendoor who has developed an innovative, merit-based job matching product to reduce implicit bias;  and Morgan Mercer of Vantage Point developing VR based training program for corporate America. These pioneering, energetic entrepreneurs have energized the HR Technology market…a market that VCs want to invest in.

“Another aspect of the conference that I enjoyed was the Pub Crawl

and vendor sponsored events that provided ample networking opportunities.”

 

My Wish List for HR Tech 2019

  1. Find a location where we don’t have to walk mile after mile to shuttle from Expo to Sessions to Parking and outdoor activities. I’m sure there are other smaller and cozier venues available that are more conducive to this size conference. I'm not sure why HR Tech conference organizers are hell bent on making us walk so much, which in my opinion is sheer waste of time and energy. It most likely discouraged many attendees from attending all desired sessions and expo hours. And I’m sure smaller locations will have more affordable rooms so no one will complain about reducing the astronomically high cost of hotel rooms.  😊 😊
  2. Add more speakers and content to address issues small and medium sized companies face as well.  

Don’t wait ‘til HR Tech 2019 to see me. Let’s keep in touch. Follow me and my opinions on Twitter @talenttechie. Let me know how you feel about these HR conferences.