We had the opportunity to speak with Maren Hogan, the founder of Red Branch Media, to get her insights of HCM technology. Red Branch Media provides thought-leadership content for the HR and Marketing industry via several channels including Marenated.com, Recruiter.com, HREXaminer.com as well as several vendor blogs. Maren is more than a typical B2B Marketing Executive: her expertise in public relations, corporate communications, and marketing strategies allow her to differentiate her clients from others and operate a thriving digital agency.
Careerify: Maren, can you give us a quick background on yourself?
Maren: I am a mother of three, a design junkie and a marketing executive with over 13 years of experience. My marketing background started in non-profit public relations and moved quickly to finance. Learning traditional marketing tactics at very corporate investment firms where compliance was paramount probably prepared me to take the marketing helm at several HR and Recruiting startups in the years that followed. I basically describe myself as a CMO for hire now. I work with companies across the globe to get products to market and help them tell their stories.
Careerify: What is one thing people likely don’t know about you?
Maren: I have over 37 pairs of jeans. I seriously love my jeans. Actually, probably people do know that. I just posted a picture on Instagram.
Careerify: Who doesn’t? We have a strict jeans policy in our office. You cannot wear formal-wear! From your perspective, what does the year 2020 look like when it pertains to HR technology?
Maren: In the year of 2020, legacy, enterprise-wide HR systems that we currently have will not make sense anymore for the way corporations are structured. While buyers will still want these systems, they will take modular components out of them and build their own HRIS that works for their organization. HR technology should be simpler and more intuitive, with an easier end-user interface. Current consumer technologies are showing us that we can have this in the enterprise, so that’s a hopeful step.
With all the HR tech that we have, seamless integration should be expected. HR specialists would not need to worry about data massaging and integrity if they implement proper process. However, that’s not the case today as corporations spend millions on teams to connect one complex system to the other and in the end often the organization doesn’t even own that data. Integrations are a funny business and again, just shouldn’t be this hard.
Careerify: Given the rise of social, and more specifically consumer-driven applications, would you say the HCM technology market is more enterprise-driven or more about the end-users?
Maren: HR Technology often has more than one end user and BOTH are equally important: the candidate or employee is one end user and the back end user, which is generally a recruiter or HR pro. So HR Technologies must be intuitive enough for the candidate or employee to use; painless enough for the HR pro or recruiter to access and provide enough value to the buyer, who is writing the check and needs a compelling business case to do so. Vendors need to remember who their buyers are. When HR and IT realize the purchasing power they actually have, they will begin to demand better products…I hope.
Careerify: So then what is your opinion of today’s HR technology offerings?
Maren: Obviously, there are several I like well enough to stand behind them as their agency! I think that HR Technology vendors are trying to make their offerings more suitable for businesses outside of the Fortune 500. Modular systems that allow companies to pick and choose what their organizations need are where HR Technology is headed today. I may love your performance management software and not need your payroll application. Vendors are picking up on that and moving away from one-size-fits-all platform offerings. I would like to see more decentralization, more of a best-in-breed approach, similar to Salesforce (CRM) and an Eloqua (Marketing Automation). People rarely need one-size-fits-all platforms.
Careerify: Do you think HR will ever become a key-decision maker in corporations?
Maren: You know, HR and Marketing are similar in this way. Marketing went through its renaissance recently and I believe that HR is going through the same growing pains today. With the advent of digital, social and increased transparency in data, Marketing had to begin proving its worth as a cost center. HR is now having to do the same thing, moving from cost center to revenue generator is going to be tougher for HR. I do believe the fabled seat at the table happens for CHROs when the accountability and risk are taken along with that added respect. Educated analysis of key data points, spend, loyalty, engagement, sentiment, and being able to point to a piece of paper and prove your vertical directly affects that number or line? That’s how you get in on the decision making process.
We would like to thank Maren for giving us the opportunity to speak with her on the topic of HR Technology. Find Maren on twitter @marenhogan or connect with her on LinkedIn.com/in/marenhogan. Visit her website at RedBranchMedia.com or read her infrequently updated blog at Marenated.com.
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