That’s it. We’ve had all we can stands and we can’t stands no more. Buyers beware of some sellers, some of those connecting you to sellers and some of those writing about the buyers and the sellers. It’s time for some frog protection.
When there’s a rush to an industry as hot as HR Technology, the quantity of every one of the players described above goes up. That leads to an over-abundance of information, which translates to plenty of misinformation. Combine that with the crazy world of social, and everyone’s selling and telling everyone everything. How can buyers reasonably be expected to have the time, patience, and context to sort out what’s real and what’s fake?
In the 6 examples below, which are just the tip of the iceberg, we’ll play on the confusion from the following commercial many of you already thought of when you read the title.
[no credit necessary since we just gave Discover free commercial publicity]
The Sellers – The General Fraud Bucket and Misleading Marketing/Sales
We love software vendors. We truly do. However, we only love good software vendors, and those who don’t deceive. Unfortunately for the buyer, the list of areas of possible deception is pretty darn long. You can deceive on product, on implementation, on training, on support, and all the specifics within, as illustrated in the following examples:
If you want more on those particular areas and more, you can check out the 7 article series on buying HR Software we did with William Tincup for TechTarget (link takes you to the article on “adoption” from which you can access the other topics).
Let’s just say that certain vendors spend more on marketing/sales than others. That refers to both:
Add to that some varying levels of aggression and accuracy in marketing/sales, and you end up with serious need for frog protection. For example, in marketing, there are vendors that pick a hot industry topic, such as analytics, and hammer away at their product’s capabilities in analytics. No product development needed, and if you actually see what they have, you’ll ask whether they can even analyze whether a person who terminated actually left the company. In sales, there are vendors that actually call up their prospects when they’ve lost a deal and try to undercut their competition. That happens regularly; we have specific examples.
Those connecting Buyers with Sellers – Vendor Bias and Old-School Methodologies
When you’re looking for somebody to help you with your system selection, and they say that they’re system agnostic – that is, that they won’t push you hard towards particular vendors – you might want to ask them to get more specific. If that matters to you, of course. They have no obligation to tell you they have referral agreements in place whereby they’re getting compensated for your decision to purchase a specific software. But what’s the breakdown of what software ends up getting selected? You might find some suspicious results.
If you like 6-9 month selection processes, spreadsheets for your system requirements that consume most of your brand new laptops terabyte+ of storage, and invoices for services that exceed the cost of the software itself, you might think these frogs are cute. Unfortunately, they haven’t kept up with the times, and are still relying on the way things used to be done to continue filling their consulting coffers.
Those writing about the buyers and the sellers – Distance from Reality and (again) Vendor Bias
This is one of those sensitive areas on which we’ll tread lightly. It’s just, when you’re reading that next article on HR Technology, take a moment to review who wrote it, and consider what they might know about the topic. If they’re writing about implementations, when was the last time they actually participated in one? That’s not to say they can’t glean some information from those who recently have, but then where are the quotes, the examples? Lastly, don’t blindly put too much stock in the validity of what “influencers” write. Some have earned their stripes through action, others have earned them through followers.
With this group, as opposed to those connecting buyer and seller, it’s less damning to write with a vendor slant. Hence, the frog designation instead of fraud. It happens. Vendors need to get their word out somehow, and they can’t do all the writing themselves. When that normal business development and promotional tactic turns froggy is when it is disguised as something else. For example, in a LinkedIn group, somebody pumping a particular vendor might look like a practitioner, but they’re actually a paid shill. Equally blatant would be an HR Technology blog that claims vendor neutrality, but when reviewed article after article, becomes clear that only two vendors are consistently highlighted. Lastly, (and one you may hear more about from the Hive in the near future), there are analyst firms who write generally about the traits of a quality HR software, and those that were paid to highlight traits of HR Software X. That, again, is fine, as long as it isn’t wearing a prince’s costume.
Again, we’ve just dipped our feet in the water. Hopefully we haven’t actually stepped on and squished too many frogs in the process, but we wouldn’t mind if they’re at least aware that we’re hovering above.
ABOUT JEREMY AND HIVE TECH HR
Jeremy enjoys working in and impacting the HR Tech market, domestically and internationally. He is CEO of Hive Tech HR, which helps its clients 1) determine how technology can be infused in their HCM strategy, 2) find new systems and 3) implement their HR technology. He was CFO and Board Member of IHRIM (which throws a technology conference in September in Atlanta). He also sits on SHRM’s HR Management and Technology Expertise Panel.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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