How HR Can Turn Technology Disruptors in Their Favor

If it seems that every minute brings another technical term you must memorize or deal with in some manner, you’re not wrong. But of all the combinations of letters that are coming your way these days, four letters in combination that should be heeded is SMAC, which stands for “Social Media Analytics Cloud.” It’s not necessarily a new concept, but one that’s demanding attention across every aspect of how we do business, including Human Resources in respect to talent management and recruiting.

How HR Can Turn Technology Disruptors in Their Favor


SMAC is changing every single thing about the way we live our lives, from the way we learn to the way we move about our day, plan, consume, and most important of all, connect with others.  

When it comes to take advantage of SMAC for those of us in HR, I can’t help but show incredible enthusiasm for the opportunities we have. Don’t think of this as IT or marketing’s wheelhouse; this is an immediate opportunity to make the most of our roles and show our ability to solve problems as consummate business partners. Consider the following impacts:

  • Cloud technology creates a workplace without walls, with virtually every meeting, file cabinet, and means of connection no longer requiring brick and mortar. Legal documents can be signed and managed without printing or filing, whole files and processes no longer require paper housing or maintenance. Consider an international recruiting strategy that requires no delay. We no longer have to have to create a recruiting or permanent identity within a system locally to manage a candidate to hire. We can house all information in a virtual workspace that seamlessly converts the file anywhere in the world and still be compliant.

  • Mobile technology allows for meetings to happen anywhere. Candidates can conduct interviews via Skype from their phones, management discussions can happen via a slew of virtual technologies. We no longer need to book a conference room; we just need the time and the embrace of innovation. Predictive analytics of consumer behavior can change the products and services of a company, but it can also transform HR. Internal analytics can get at the heart of interpreting employee engagement survey comments, analytics that capture what makes some leaders successful and others not, create the most robust talent management discussion ever, and real-time feedback of the recruiting process can help us hone our approach to candidate acquisition.

  • Social media is the main source of brand building for most organizations, and it’s a means of reaching potential talent. Sourcing using social media goes beyond just checking a candidate’s Facebook page; we have many means of enticing and connecting with the best in the industry right where they live at any time they desire.

HR has many fantastic opportunities here. By grasping the importance of SMAC, we can lead and shape our companies for the future by creating innovation within our own processes.

What must we do to seize these opportunities? Some brief discussions to start the dialogue:

Brainstorm the many ways SMAC can change your processes

Spend some solitary time thinking about the subject, then hold a brainstorming session to your team. Make the conversation a total green field: no idea is too crazy, and nothing is off limits. Should HR have its own Twitter handle? Should recruiting use Instagram? What would it take to build a cloud-based MBA recruiting program? Should predictive analytics determine succession planning? No thought is too crazy, and you won’t know its worth unless you put it out there.

Test your theories in a controlled environment:

After you collect ideas from your team, consider controlled ways to test your theories. Has anyone else tried what you’re thinking about? Where did they succeed or fail? Is there a way to test the waters with a dummy social account or create a test instance on the server? Bring your technology partners in and assess the viability of your ideas.

Take your plan to the leadership table:

When it’s time to elevate your well-tested theories on how to embrace SMAC to the C-suite, be sure to get insight to their current view on the subject so you can have a meaningful discussion. Know the burning platforms and possible pitfalls around your argument, but also ascertain some levels of excitement and the possible alleviation of process pain. Share your team’s thoughts and seek to communicate with stakeholders in ways that resonate with them.

Our understanding of how SMAC affects our organizations can be a game changer, particularly when it comes to our own processes. With HR leading the way to embrace disruptive technology for the greater good, it could give other divisions the courage to change their thinking as well.  Creating additional capacity for success is a platform on which I’ve staked my entire career, and the sky is truly the limit on HR’s ability to lead the world of business into a bright future.

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