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The Common Sense Leader in an Agile World: A Keynote

Posted By Brittany D. Tovado, Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I recently spoke with Martin VanDerSchouw, President and CEO of Looking Glass Development, who will open our Annual Meeting with his timely and transformative keynote on the Common Sense Leader in an Agile World. You can register here for the conference. This keynote is not to be missed! 

I wanted to share with you a bit of Martin’s background in performance improvement, business process design, IT planning and implementation, and project management training and give you sneak peek into his opening keynote at the conference. 

Here are the highlights: 

Q: Tell us a little about your role and team at Looking Glass Development, LLC? 

A: In March, I will begin my 18th year with LGd and it has been an amazing ride. We started out as a development shop for the financial services industry primarily building web-based credit decisioning engines. In those days, my role was akin to a lead architect. However, we quickly morphed because of our ability to deliver better results than our clients even when using their own people. Over time, I changed from being a technologist to being a coach and facilitator. Today I spend most of my time removing barriers for my people, and see my primary role as providing thought leadership and stirring the pot. It is all about challenging my people to deliver significantly more than they ever thought possible while being engaged and having fun. 

Q: How do you define success? 

A: The “Old” definition of project success was delivering on-time, on-budget what was promised. This definition assumed all the requirements are known up front. This is awesome whenever possible, but my experience is that it is almost impossible to know all the requirements up front. To make matters worse, research is now finding that the customers from most IT project use less than half the features completed! The problem grows only worse when one realizes that most projects are significantly over budget and behind schedule. This all means that most project teams are consistently delivering late and over budget feature sets that are not used. This is not business value. Therefore, success to me means delivering business value in alignment with the organization’s strategy while simultaneously maintaining agreed upon limits on schedule and cost. 

Q: What, in your opinion, is the biggest challenge to achieving that success? 

A: The biggest challenge(s) to achieving success are missed expectations and managing scope change. 

Q: Can you give a sneak peek of your keynote session for the HR Open Standards 2017 Annual Meeting? 


Q: What are you looking forward to most about the conference? 

A: I love meeting conference attendees and hearing their perspectives on the topics I discuss. 

Learn more about the conference or register now to hear his keynote: The Common Sense Leader in an Agile World on March 9, 2017 at the HR Open Standards 2017 Annual Meeting. 

Tags:  agile  conference  HR Open Standards  HR Tech  hrjson  hrtech  hrxml  keynote  pdu credit  pmp  project management  technology 

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The Internet of Things (IoT) on the Horizon of Human Resources: A Keynote

Posted By Brittany D. Tovado, Thursday, February 9, 2017



I recently spoke with Matthew Bailey, President of Pioneering IoT, who is one of the keynotes at our upcoming 2017 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado on March 9-10, 2017. You can register here for the conference to hear Matthew's highly anticipated keynote.


I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about Matthew, shed some light on what it means to be a global IoT pioneer, and give you a sneak peek into his keynote at the conference.


Here are the highlights:


1. Tell us a little about your role and team at Powering IoT?


Powering IoT works with Fortune X technology companies, governments, investors and economic development agencies to participate as a driving force in the IoT, Smart Cities, Smart Ag, and Innovation. Recently we helped with a national and global reaching IoT and Smart City deal for a Fortune 500 company. We are helping an economic development agency to develop a very exciting state-wide Smart City initiative in Colorado, and are currently working to shape an entire innovation eco-system in Smart Ag for a provincial government.


2. How do you define success?


I define success as establishing clear metrics for how Powering IoT has catalyzed measurable impact and economic creation for its clients.


3. What is the biggest challenge to achieving that success?


I find that education and enabling a new mindset are my biggest challenges, as well as organizational agility for fast paced and adaptive execution.


4. Tell me more about your nomination for 2015 The World Technology Award.


It was quite an unexpected nomination, but a welcome recognition of my dedication to the development of IoT in communications technology over my career. They looked at my achievements across global communication technologies - Internet of Things (IoT), LPWANs, Wireless Standards, SCADA, Distributed Computing, electric vehicles, etc. - and chose me as 1 out of 30 in the running for the 2015 award. I love to envision a future 20-30 years out and pull it that vision forward creating accessible IoT solutions with like-minded innovators and organizations.


Matthew didn’t mention it but he was competing with the likes of Sir Tim Berners Lee (Father of the internet) and Elon Musk (Paypal, Tesla, SpaceX program). 


5. Can you give a sneak peek of your keynote session for the HR Open Standards 2017 Annual Meeting?


Sure thing. I’ll be forecasting the future of The Internet of Things (IoT) in Human Resources. IoT has been termed the third wave of global innovation following the Industrial and Internet revolution. Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich refers to the IoT as the third wave of computing. The IoT is positioned to create a new global economy into the trillions and is an opportunity for significant business transformation.


The purpose of the IoT is to enable unification of the physical world with the digital world. This unification makes human and business activities smarter, safer, and more efficient while reducing costs and empowering citizens. IoT enables a new kind of machine intelligence to automate every aspect of society within cities, transport, healthcare, agriculture, energy, disasters, and public services.


IoT empowers businesses and citizens to innovate and create smarter and more meaningful experiences. But how might this be relevant to Human Resources? Will IoT demand new a mindset both for the employee and employer? Could IoT define the next operational shape for organizations? How might IoT change the employee/employer experience? 


My session will be a masterclass on IoT outlining how it will revolutionize society. I will create a framework for how IoT could transform Human Resources, employee and employer innovation, eco-systems and experiences.


6. What are you looking forward to most about the conference?


Helping to move forward the conversation as to how IoT can transform the HR and the employee/employer collective experience.




Learn more about the conference or register now to hear his keynote: Internet of Things (IoT) on the Horizon of Human Resources on March 10, 2017 at the HR Open Standards 2017 Annual Meeting. 

Tags:  conference  HR Open Standards  HR Tech  hrjson  hrxml  Internet of Things  IoT  keynote  tech  technology 

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Behind the Keynote: A Q&A with Yamini Polisetty

Posted By Brittany D. Tovado, Monday, August 22, 2016


I recently spoke with Yamini Polisetty, Director of Product Management at SuccessFactors, who is headlining our upcoming European Community Meeting in St. Leon-Rot, Germany on September 15th.

I wanted to take the opportunity to get to know Yamini a little better and ask a few questions about her role at SuccesFactors and nearing keynote presentation at the HR Open Community Meeting.


Here’s a snippet of our conversation:


Tell us a little about your role and team at SAP/SuccessFactors

I lead product management for Integration, Identity and User management topics at SAP SuccessFactors. My team of platform product managers defines and executes strategy and product roadmap for integration tools and content, and partner enablement for building and maintaining integrations.

What are the biggest challenges you and your team face with integration projects?

With a large and growing number of cloud applications in our customers’ HR application landscapes, delivering extensible generic content, and scaling our enablement channels to span worldwide partners is crucial. Enablement at scale and ensuring best practices based integrations are being built are our challenges with integration.

How does HR Open Standards play a role in integrations at SAP/SuccessFactors?

We have partnered in the definition of standards for Assessments, Benefits, and Payroll interfaces that have shaped our packaged integrations in these areas. We plan to continue to leverage HR Open Standards as a channel to drive standards for new use cases and to scale the number of partners we work with.  

Can you give us an overview of what you'll be covering in your keynote session at the European Community Meeting?

I will be speaking about how new trends in the HR industry have broad ranging implications for integration. For example, developments in the contingent workforce, extended learning, continuous performance management, and cloud identity are bringing forth new integration points. The number of concurrent API accesses and the volume of data crossing our cloud data centers puts unprecedented demand on scalability, reliability and security of our infrastructure. Best practices based integration development is therefore critical for cloud integrations. I will review these trends and implications, and include a call to action to utilize HR Open Standards for mitigating some of these challenges and for simplifying integrations for us and our customers. 

What are you looking forward to about the conference?

Meeting industry colleagues to discuss new opportunities and challenges and exploring how we can address these collectively via HR Open Standards.


We’re looking forward to learning from Yamini’s full presentation on Sept. 15th along with our other presenters. Limited spaces are still available. Secure your spot now by registering here.

Tags:  conference  data  event  hrjson  hropen  hropenstandards  hros  hrtech  hrxml  json  keynote  tech  technology  xml 

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Zeroing In

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 16, 2015

John Fuggles, General Account Manager at IQ Navigator, discusses zero-hour contracts within the contingent staffing industry.  To learn more, visit: IQN Zeroing In Blog 

Tags:  Contingent staffing  HR Open Standards 

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How Standards Bolster Innovation

Posted By Romuald Restout, Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Updated: Monday, May 4, 2015

A Quick Look in the Past

Towards the end of the 19th century, electrical engineering became one of the core engines of the second industrial revolution. As Nicholas Carr put it, in "The Big Switch", manufacturing energy provided factories "with a decisive advantage over other manufacturers. The company was able to expand the yield and efficiency of its factory. [...] Like other factory of the time, they were as much in the business of manufacturing energy as manufacturing goods". This of course, quickly changed, as power plants started to rise and provide energy at a low-cost to everyone.


An aspect that is often overlooked in that story is that none of this could have happened without the emergence of standards.


At the time, each factory was producing energy its own way, and with different characteristics. From the voltage it produced to the way electricity was carried from production to consumption, each factory had a unique manner of doing it. Recognizing the lack of efficiency, most major players met and agreed on defining standards for all aspects of electricity: volt, ampere, coulomb, ohm, farad, and the shape and form of electrical outlets. This standardization process led the way to the electric grid as we know it nowadays.


Not having to worry about manufacturing energy anymore, factories could at last, channel their ideas, and their capital, on what was their core business: manufacturing great new products! Moreover, this newly available -and cheap- energy quickly enabled anyone with a good idea to create a business and start manufacturing.

In short, it allowed new ideas and innovation to blossom.

Fast Forward to the 90s

Modern Talent Management solutions started to emerge at the end of the 90s, with a strong focus on Talent Acquisition (that was still called Recruiting at the time). Each solution provider offered deep, and innovative, expertise in a particular process (recruiting, learning, performance ...). Customers, eager to get value from these innovations, were buying left and right. For each process, the best solution! What they quickly discovered though, was that these best-of-breed offerings, would not easily integrate with each other; which was becoming crucial to reap all the benefits of Talent Management.


So, organisations did the most logical thing: they turned to integrated suites.


Then they discovered something new. Actually, it's the individual recruiters, learning specialists, and other HR professionals who made that discovery: they didn't get access to the same level of innovation that they were receiving with their best-of-breed solutions.


So, organisations were, and are still now, faced with two choices:

  1. They pick a few vendors that are best at what they are doing, and they compromise on the integration of their processes
  2. They pick one vendor that integrates all processes, but they compromise on the depth of functionality 

In all cases, they pretty much forego all the innovation that is happening outside of their vendors, as those providers cannot invest in partnering and integrating with everyone that is out there.


A more Open world

Similar to the 19th century factories who were manufacturing their own energy, nowadays Talent Management providers focus a lot of their energy and capital, on defining API (Application Programming Interfaces) that enable them to connect and integrate with other software providers. The problem is, no two APIs are the same! This means that every time you want to connect two systems, someone has to adapt to the other party's API. And as you increase the number of parties involved, you also increase the costs of developing and maintaining those integrations. This is not an economically sustainable model. Even for the biggest players.


This is why we need standards in the Talent Management space. Organisations of all sizes need to have an easy access to all the innovation that is out there. Small startups with great ideas need to have access to clients who could benefit from their new way of resolving new and existing challenges. These two worlds need to know more of each other. Let's connect them.


Introducing HR Open

The funny thing is, these standards for the Talent Management industry already exist!

The HROpen Standards Consortium (stands for Human Resources Open Standards - used to be known as HR-XML), hosts various standards for recruiting, payroll, screening, …. (Full Disclosure: I am a Director on the Board of HROS).


Many solution providers already support the standards, especially in some domains (e.g. screening or assessment), and in some regions (e.g. Europe, including European Commission’s projects). Not all providers do support them though. For various and often counterproductive reasons.


In Conclusion

  • Standards are an enabler for innovation by allowing everyone to focus on delivering additional value rather than re-inventing the wheel and wasting time on plumbing issues.
  • There are great standards in the HR space. You can check them out here! And as clients of talent management solutions, why not request your providers to follow these standards?


Tags:  API  HR  HR Open Standards  HR-XML  JSON  open  software  standards  tech  technology  XML 

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Standards are Worthless Unless You Use Them

Posted By Mike Seidle, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A good standard is one everyone uses.

Well, duh, right?

While I was on the board of directors for an international standards consortium (HR Open Standards), the biggest battle has always been getting developers to use the standard.  When we did, we got amazing things to happen, like getting 18 states to start providing compliance receipts for job deliveries in just a few months. Like enabling entire marketplaces.

Nearly everyone who I’m aware of who launched an HR Open initiative has finished quickly for a few reasons:

  • There wasn’t anything to argue over. The taxonomy is already built. The interfaces are predefined. The architecture astronomy is already settled.
  • The focus is on functionality instead of database schema. You can focus more on how to use the data than how to validate and store it.
  • Off the shelf XML tooling could be used. So much of software is just moving data around. Being able to use off the shelf tools  for ETL / data exchange really makes it easy to build integrations.
Mouse Trap Board Game

If your architecture looks like this, you probably should have stuck with industry standards.

So, if making using standards is so productive, why don’t people use standards more often?

  • The standard isn’t perfect for my use case. This is probably the most cited reason not to use HR-XML or other HR Open Standards specifications.  Reality is that widely adopted standard ever since screw threading has some flaw or compromise. You trade in the perfect screw for one that can be easily and inexpensively purchased anywhere when you use the standard one. Make sure you are making the right tradeoff when you decide to not use the standard.
  • PR. I can roll a data structure, serialize it and call it a standard… and promote my product by promoting the ad-hoc standard. This is especially the case with startups who don’t realize that by adopting the standard they could pick up customers and even promotion from other standard users… and even more importantly, get on the radar for being bought.
  • Critical mass. The best standard is one everyone uses. If everyone isn’t using your standard, it’s easy to get caught up in Not Invented Here Syndrome or in the pursuit of perfection.
  • Reinventing a standard is easy money for contractors and consultants. Why use off the shelf when you can bill 1,400 hours to implement a CRUD api for a resume  schema?
  • Lack of awareness. Even though we have lots of reasons (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc…) that unawareness is a bad excuse, developers like to get things done… and research is often something that gets in the way of cutting code.

Every software engineer and every business manager knows that standardization is the key to opening up entire markets… but we all find so many excuses not to use them. When we do use standards, we get the web, automobile, computers and smartphones… when we don’t we get a Rube Goldberg like mousetrap.

Tags:  API  HR  HR Open Standards  hrxml  JSON  open  software  standards  tech  technology 

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Payroll Jurisdictional Requirements

Posted By Kim Bartkus, HR-XML Consortium Executive Director, Tuesday, July 17, 2012
As a global standards organization, HR-XML has developed most of its specification for the general population and extended those specifications for country and jurisdictional requirements. The Payroll industry is an exciting challenge as each country, province, state, city, etc. has its own rules, particularly when calculating taxes. For example, Canadian provinces utilize letters of waivers to authorize tax credits and deductions. Netherlands includes a tax credit for the elderly and Germany considers bargaining units when calculating taxes. These and many other requirements must be discussed when developing the standard. HR-XML recommends two options for handling these jurisdictional requirements. We build in the ‘known' requirements and include the UserArea for the ‘unknown' requirements. The initial PayrollMaster schema will include tax instructions for Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, and the US as shown in the following diagram. Each of these modules contains information specific to that country and includes a UserArea for any new or unknown jurisdictional needs.

The HR-XML workgroups are open to corporate and individual members so if you'd like to contribute to the payroll standards, please sign up on the HR-XML website.

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Distributed Systems for Payroll Data Exchange

Posted By Kim Bartkus, HR-XML Consortium Executive Director, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The HR-XML Payroll workgroup has been very active in developing standards for a variety of business needs. Our original scope was to focus on transactions between the HRIS as the System of Record and the Payroll System. We've recently decided to expand that focus to handle Distributed System of Record. Many organizations exchange data with internal or 3rd party systems and need to provision/sync those systems throughout the employment life cycle. The following diagram shows one scenario we are considering, where each system is its own System of Record.

The final specifications will include a narrative and associated xml instance(s) describing the ‘day in the life of the new hire'. We will also include business rules for each use case to help business analysts and developers with their implementations. We realize there are other environments in addition to the two noted here (HRIS as SOR, Distributed SORs). Most of them are not as common, but we invite you to share other scenarios.

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8 Reasons Why Standards Like HR-XML Save Software Development Time

Posted By Nick Hawes, Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm John Kleeman, Chairman of Questionmark, the assessment management systems company. Here is why open specifications and standards like HR-XML save effort when developing software.

Suppose you are responsible for application A, and your customer needs it to integrate with application B. How do you do this?

One option is to build a proprietary interface, where you write code which connects A to B directly.

Another option, if a suitable standard exists, is for each application to connect via the standard, for instance by exchanging data using HR-XML:

Open standards and specifications not only reduce the workload for developers but enable best of breed applications to interoperate with an organizations core applications. It pays to be a keen supporter of standards because they make it much easier to integrate with other applications.

Here are eight reasons why using a standard or open specification saves time:

  1. Standards provide a common vocabulary to allow developers to talk the same language
  2. Standards reduce maintenance costs. A proprietary interface is painful to maintain - every time A or B gets updated, you need to update the interface. When both systems connect to the standard, if one gets updated, the interface still works. I've seen many examples of proprietary integration failing when new versions come out.
  3. Learn from others. Standards reduce the amount you as a software developer need to learn. Understanding two systems well needs special skills, especially if A and B use different technology like Java and .NET.
  4. Stand on the shoulders of giants. Standards are usually developed by bright, smart people from a wide community and are well thought-through. You can take advantage of the thinking that's been done before on how integration needs to happen. It can stop you re-inventing the wheel.
  5. Improve quality. Standards make QA easier by providing test data. For instance HR-XML has self-testing tools to make it easier to check compliance.
  6. Forum to demonstrate commitment. If you use a standard, you can get your application certified (see HR-XML certified logo right), this gives customer confidence and marketing benefits.
  7. Expand your horizon. Interfacing via a standard gives you interoperability with other products for free. Your code will work not just with B but with other applications that support the standard.
  8. Maintain interoperability over time. If your customer moves from B to another application, you can still integrate providing it supports the standard.

There are times where you have to use proprietary integration – for instance if no standard is available or if you need to integrate with a product that doesn't support standards. But if a standard like HR-XML is available for your integration use case, you will save a lot of time and effort by using it.

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App Stores, Standards, and the Power of Developers

Posted By Romuald Restout, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Want to get the latest Florence and the Machine album or the latest "Game of Thrones" episode? There is an App store for that. Want to manage your pictures across all your devices? There is an App store for that. Want to manage your to-do list? There is an App store for that. Want to exchange files with your colleagues or family? There is a .... You get the idea.

App stores are convenient; they give you the ability to access all apps in the same virtual place, to browse apps for a particular category or function and to even discover needs that you didn't even know you had. So it's no surprise that App stores have become a predominant -if not the main- way for consumers to acquire (whether free or paying) software or media.It's no surprise either that App stores are flourishing or that each social platform is creating their own. Latest to join the party is no other than Facebook.

Part of the success of these stores is how these brands (Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, …) dominate their respective market.However, having a brand name is not enough to ensure the continuous success of the App store. Developers too have a part to play in that success and even have the power to make or break entire brands. See the case of Nokia app store (HBR article "A Sad Lesson in Collaborative Innovation" Empty shelves are of no interest to buyers. App stores bloom because, on the seller side, their virtual shelves are full and can reach any specific need for any individual.

That works fine on the consumer side. In the world of HR and Talent Management though, there is no market dominance. On one hand, there are a few major players and a lot of market consolidation going on. On the other hand, there are a multitude of start-ups that are born, some of which will become successful and enrich the ecosystem. Similar to the consumer app stores, there are buyers and users. But they are scattered across multiple platforms, middlewares, and technologies. Vendors and developers are here too, but they are on various technology stacks. Thus, market dominance cannot be the basis for a relevant -and successful- app store for HR solutions. Open standards can. By defining a common language and common transactions, it becomes possible to have focused solutions (e.g. background checks, assessments, recruiting,....) that seamlessly connect to your own HR platform.

The HR-XML Consortium recently launched an initiative that references existing implementations of the HR-XML standards: the HR-XML marketplace ( While far from exhaustive, this is a starting point for an app store that includes those solutions in the market that organisations can use without having to buy into the platform. If you're already using HR-XML, I strongly encourage you to register your solution. If you're looking for a solution, I strongly encourage you to check what's already registered.

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