In this short text, I want to reflect on my experiences during this year’s HR Tech World Congress in Paris and bring you some current themes to consider while reviewing your own thoughts on your HR system path.

Today users want intuitive and simple HR systems in this complex world, since complexity can seldom be managed with more complexity. This was also the message from Yves Morieux at HR Tech World. Many software vendors, though, still develop their systems based on the idea of having as many features as possible, which in many cases for basic users is the same as complexity.

Lesson 1: How can we ensure simplicity in UI design?

While developing Sympa HR, our guiding principle has been “Emotional Design”, which aims to make the UI design adapt to the principles that people use in, for example, interior design: visual appeal and simple usability. We have received positive feedback from our users, and we’ll continue to develop Sympa HR system with this method in the future.

Lesson 2: Mobile, mobile, mobile…

When you think about your average day, how many times you glance at your mobile phone or other mobile device? Actually, we all check our mobile devices frequently numerous times per day (and night), and in most cases we prefer apps over responsive/unresponsive webpages. Again, the user experience and simplicity emerge as the key themes. But is the mobile phone the ultimate solution in terms of user experience in every situation? Is it convenient to build ad-hoc reports or have your performance management reviews on a mobile phone? These questions are debatable, but at least in my opinion there is still room for laptops with proper keyboards, even though we are living in a mobile era.

Nevertheless, having a mobile presence is almost a must: why should corporate users have a bad user experience while using corporate software? Today’s users want to use tools that offer at least a similar user experience to apps meant for consumer business. This mantra will not diminish when new generations enter the workforce. Still, we should keep in mind what Yves Morieux said in his speech about simplicity and bring to mobile only those processes that are more practical to manage on a mobile device, where mobile is simpler and more natural than a laptop in terms of the user experience.

I have great news for our clients and prospects: Sympa HR will become truly mobile with its own fresh mobile app! This will allow us to expand our reach to more customers and as an outcome have even more happy Sympa HR users. To ensure the visual appeal and usability of the app, content will be targeted to cover the content that is the most convenient to handle on mobile devices. You will hear more about this in the coming year.

Lesson 3: Predictive analytics

The third theme at HR Tech World was analytics and, if we extend it even further, predictive analytics. The big players are now offering solutions that combine complex algorithms and machine learning in order to give HR analysts insights into their company and their people. What does this mean for smaller providers? Since our clientele is smaller in terms of size and available resources, their needs are not as sophisticated as MNCs. One explanatory factor is that the HR workforce is limited, and the companies are not willing to make investments as large as the big software vendors require. Thus, agile providers who can offer a scalable, cost-effective product have their space in this market. Also, vendors who decide to take the path of specification can prevail. Still, analytics matter and, based on economies of scale, we will see in the future more sophisticated analytics, even in smaller providers’ products.

Sympa HR has been developing its analytics capabilities – and will continue to do so in the future. Our next release will include new graphical reporting to support better analysis and highlight interesting phenomena. This solution will allow us to expand our support for different reporting views quickly, and as an outcome our customers will enjoy the possibility of illustrating Sympa HR data in graphical form. And the good news is that we still want to hold on to the principles of Emotional Design (visually pleasant and simple to use). We will also continuously seek to recommend good software in different service spaces, e.g. BI solutions that can add more value once integrated into Sympa HR.

The HR Tech World Congress also offered plenty of other interesting discussions and software presentations in different topic spaces, like employee engagement and ways to give, receive and manage feedback within the company. In the end, the HR Tech World Congress was a good opportunity to review our ideas and benchmark our software against the big players. The quality of the guest speakers and the positive and forward-looking atmosphere during the expo also made me personally believe that us software vendors can truly play a part in helping HR and companies to overcome the productivity crisis.