Friday, November 7, 2008

The HCM community is full of bullshit

Sorry everyone, but it's true. I am the type of person that rarely throws away old magazines. As I was flipping through a few new issues of a couple of well known HCM periodicals, it just struck me that all of the editorial columns aren't saying anything interesting at all. It's just the same old bullshit. To verify, I started looking through various old issues over 10-years in age. You know what? You could lift almost every editorial column from 10 years ago, drop it in today's periodicals, and you'd never know the difference. If you looked closely you might notice a dearth of the terms "SaaS" and "Web 2.0", but other than that it's same old shit.

Now to be fair, some very fine columnists recognize this phenomenon and actively note that certain territory has been well covered before - HRE columnist Bill Kutik being a great example. But the "soft language" sorts, you know who I am talking about - consultants, ex-CLO's, industry pundits, etc. just drone on about the same "enlightening" ideas that have been around for years. Go check this for yourselves, you already know it, you just need to admit it.

And because these ideas are so recycled, so devoid of useful information, they must be considered bullshit. I encourage everyone to read the wikipedia entry on the term "bullshit" It's actually a very useful term, and from a linguistic and philosophical point of view, it has some unique application.

So this is my plea to our HCM community, of which I am a part, that is full of bullshit - please use plain language, please say what you mean, please tell us something we probably don't already know, please tell us things that we can actually use, and if all of that fails, please entertain us. If we can laugh, or just manage a chuckle, at least we got something out of it.


Anonymous said...

Why stop with the analysts? The whole third-party-analyst business model is predicated on conflicted motives. Most derive a large portion of their revenue from the vendors they are supposed to be objectively evaluating.

Much of what major vendors promote to their customers is about as real as the "tax cut for 95% of Americans" or the "$5000 healthcare credit" John and Barack told us we'd get if only we voted them in. Press-release puffery is tolerated with the same "boys will be boys" attitude you had back when managers went fishing in the secretarial pool.

The fastest way to make money is to help peddlers peddle. Analysts are not IMHO dishonest but they have an inbuilt bias towards bovine excrement.

TechSphinx said...

It's very hard to be truthful and blunt without pissing off people. Analysts' positions are often compromised in this regard because they often have to live off of both sides, buyers and vendors. But, if there was ever a market that needed blunt language, HCM technology is it.

Phil Fersht said...

What never ceases to amaze me is that fact that noone in the HCM software business has ever worked in HR... come to think of it I don't think anyone in HRO has either :)

TechSphinx said...

Phil, we know the reason why that is case, but we just can't bring ourselves to say it in a public forum. We have all said it to each other in private though!

Phil Fersht said...

When you look at the delivery team within a services / consulting firm, normally the delivery leads for an IT track have an IT background, the finance track an accounting background, the banking track a baking background etc. How about the HR track? Maybe we're onto something here ;)