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Lawson Says Suites Beat HR Point Solutions

Talent management system upgrade supports flexible self-service role and task delegation.

Human resources professionals have seen multiple waves of technology point solutions -- from recruiting systems to performance management systems to compensation- and succession-planning tools. But the pendulum is swinging toward unified suites encompassing all of the above.

So says Lawson Software, which on Wednesday released Lawson Talent Management Version 3.4. The suite that starts with a system of record that captures all data related to the names, titles, roles, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities of the people within an organization. Six functional modules tapping that data handle recruiting, goal management, performance management, compensation, learning and development, and succession management.

Lawson isn't the only vendor embracing a suite strategy. From on-premises-centric apps vendors, like SAP, to fast-growing cloud service providers, like SuccessFactors, suppliers are pulling together multiple types of talent management functionality. Lawson claims an edge in breadth of capabilities and in integrating to a single system of record.

"The data gathered when you were recruited should inform your development plan once you're an employee," said Larry Dunivan, senior VP of Human Capital Management Products at Lawson. "It's hard to garner insight into people if the data is stored in completely separate databases behind separate applications."

The Version 3.4 upgrade can handle critical talent pools in a differentiated way. In a children's hospital, for instance, critical-care unit nurses must be managed very differently -- recruiting, goal, development, and performance wise -- than generalized nursing assistants. And top analysts at financial services firm require special processes not required for generalized accountants.

A new Proxy Management Interface introduced in Version 3.4 lets managers delegate tasks and avoid IT bottlenecks. The feature provides welcome flexibility where other systems impose rigid, role-based manager-employee access privileges.

The proxy feature is already being used by customers including Florida's Hillsborough County. The county's school district recently won a significant grant from the Gates Foundation. But as part of the award, the county had to demonstrate it could sustain assessments of teacher performance. Lawson Talent Management was chosen to automate evaluations to be carried out by peer evaluators rather than principals, the managers otherwise designated as teacher supervisors.

"Our Proxy Management Interface will enable these peer evaluators to gain access to the review privileges that the principal has as the teacher's manager," Dunivan explained. "Virtually every HR system out there is rigidly dependent on the supervisor structure, but we make it possible for supervisors to grant permissions without having to go to IT to request administrative and security changes."

Lawson does not divulge pricing information. Talent Management Version 3.4 is available immediately.

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