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There’s a good chance that the next phone you’re going to buy is going to be a lot like the phone you currently have, regardless of how long you plan to keep it. The same is true for the solutions you see if you go to the conference for all things HCM and tech next month.

I’ve been to the HR Technology Conference my fair share of times over the course of the last few years. It is a top notch show. But if you’re coming to get your mind blown by something new, you should slow your roll.

I’m not getting too cynical here. At least, not yet. There is a lot of really neat, useful technology on show. Great ideas, too — about robots, AI, big data, and more. I can’t wait to see it.

We’ll hear practitioners talk about not just catching up but leaping ahead — arm in arm with the provider that ostensibly helped them get there. These are interesting stories. Sometimes.

I’ve spent the better part of the year talking to solution providers and digging into their customer base, across a spectrum of HCM solutions. You know what I learned?

HR is messy.

Just kidding, I knew that already. It was just reinforced in a big way.

There’s good news. We’re making progress in some areas. Budgets are generally either rising or staying even. There’s an appetite for change.

But there’s so much to change.

Research we did at The Starr Conspiracy in 2014 showed that most large organizations had at least three learning management systems. Talent acquisition organizations have even more solutions. One company I talked to had more than 30 across their large, global organization.

People talk about rip and replace but that simply doesn’t happen. Not if the initial system had any value.

Earlier this summer, we published our research on the employee engagement landscape. A major change is coming to HR technology, but I’m under no delusions that it’s going to be a swift change. A few organizations are taking the first steps, though.

The excitement in the major shifts in technology spreads longitudinally. Not across a few days, but across months and years. With blips of excitement — like when a conference like HR Tech comes around or a significant funding, acquisition, or customer implementation gets announced.

Embrace it. Love it. And if you’ll be there, drop me a line so we can connect.