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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Are you an HR Tech Fanboy?

I always have to have the latest and greatest. The newest version of the hottest gadget or mobile operating system. That great, innovative, mind-blowing feature that my favorite tech company tells me I can't live without. I stream the keynotes and product launches. I follow all the tech blogs religiously and track all the leaks. I count down for days, weeks, even months to release date.

Sound familiar?  It's OK to admit it. I know there's a few of you out there. There are names for people like us: "geek," "techie" and even the dreaded "Fanboy." We've been mocked (Samsung mocks Apple Fanboys), chastised and accused of being obsessed. Why do we do it? Maybe it's the sense of excitement of having something new, that feeling you get having something that no one else has yet, the accomplishment of waiting in line for hours or perhaps it's actually something so insanely great it will change the way you get work done, even simplify your life.

I recently purchased a Pebble smartwatch. I didn't fund the original kickstarter campaign but did follow it closely as wearables was a very knew consumer space. Although fitness trackers had started to gain momentum, the verdict was still out on the smartwatch. So, following a key software update that enabled support for notification center on iOS, I decided to give it a try. The device truly changed how I interact with my smartphone. It's a conversation for another post, but if you'd like to know more, just ask me in the comments.

Although I loved the core functionality around being able to glance discretely at my wrist for notifications there was still much to be desired. Fortunately, the team at Pebble was hard at work on the next update and they announced it would be available by the end of January. I waited patiently (who are we kidding), stalking their Twitter account, Facebook pages and blog, hoping for any news of the update, looking for any sign it would come before the weekend. I couldn't wait to show off all the new features to my friends and co-workers.

As it grew closer and closer to the end of the day, and the anticipation continued to build, it got me thinking,  do we get this way about enterprise software? Are there those of us that want the upgrade first. The first to login after a vendor update and try out that new feature you've heard so much about? Be the first to register for a vendors user conference? Dare I say Fanboy!

I know what you're saying, there's a big difference between consumer technology and enterprise software. Sometimes being first isn't always a good thing. There's to much risk involved. No one would ever be obsessed over enterprise software! But is there really that much of a difference anymore? Haven't enterprise software vendors been taking cues from the consumer space for quite some time now? Do vendors not track customer loyalty, retention, referencability and net promoter scores? In a sense, identifying Fanboys of their solutions?

Take for example. Benioff revolutionized enterprise software. He wanted enterprise software to work like and be as easy for people to use as it was for them to use Facebook. But what was more astonishing was his ability to create the first, true enterprise software Fanboys.

Modeled after consumer and developer conferences of tech giants such as Apple, Dreamforce became the gold standard of user conferences in the enterprise software space. Benioff garners celebrity status. Thousands of people, customers and non-customers alike, from around the world come to see the latest and greatest Salesforce has to offer,  participate in hands-on development and thought leadership workshops and attend keynotes from the sharpest minds in business. And of course there's the customer appreciation party, usually with a big name musical act. All of which is intended to make you, the consumer, fall in love with the vendor and their solutions and to evangelize them to your peers.

Does anybody get this excited over other types of enterprise software, dare I say human capital management software? I do. I'm a techie. I'm an HR technology Fanboy. There, I said it. Anytime I hear of a great new feature slated for a vendor's upcoming release, I get all excited. I need to know all about it, how it's going to change the way HR, employees and managers get work done. I want to share it with my peers and customers to tell them how awesome it's going to be. How it will simplify how they do their job.

How about you? Do you get excited for your #hrtech vendor's annual conference, an upcoming release, a great new feature you've heard about? Are you dying for the new user interface enhancements the same way you did for those of your smartphone OS? The latest update to the mobile site. Do you dream about how that new predictive analytics feature is going to help you make better business decisions about your people? Or perhaps how the latest social integration in your favorite ATS is going to improve candidate sourcing.

Do you shout about it to the highest mountain tops and evangelize it within your organization and to your peers? Are you the first to ask your vendor to participate in beta and early adopter programs so you can get your hands on the latest and greatest functionality before other customers? if any of these describe how you feel about your #hrtech and enterprise software then you to are an #hrtech Fanboy.

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