2006 Workstream User Conference

By Staff Report

May. 26, 2006

Event: 2006 Workstream User Conference, May 23-24, San Francisco Hilton Financial District, San Francisco

Conference Info: For more information about Workstream, go to

Day 1: Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Say goodbye to software: Workstream, which specializes in software that manages what’s called the “employee lifecycle,” from recruiting through retirement, is one of several HR technology companies that delivers its product via the Web, using the “software as a service” model. And so it should come as no surprise that the conference’s keynote speaker, Tim Chou, is the author of the book The End of Software (2004). Chou, a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, was most recently president of Oracle on Demand, said to be the fastest-growing business inside the company.

In his book, and in his keynote, Chou argues that the cost of maintaining traditional software is sky high for end users and threatens to kill off a company’s ability to buy new products (and for software companies to sell them). He estimates that 75 percent of the corporate IT dollar is spent just managing software systems. Chou says that advances in technology over the past 30 years have driven the cost of computer hardware down by a factor of 1,000. That advance, he says, “has been limited by physics and manufacturing technology.” The shift to software-as-a-service technology “represents the same shift in software technology—only it’s not limited by physics. The tide is rising—the only debate is the rate.”

Take the “engagement IQ” quiz: In another session, Susan Haslett of Towers Perrin posed interesting questions about the level of employee engagement with their companies. See how you do:

1) Have U.S. employee engagement levels moved up or down since 2003?

2) There is a strong demonstrated link between employee engagement and:

  • Workforce retention
  • Workforce performance (quality, cost management, customer service)
  • Company financial performance

3) The No. 1 global driver of employee engagement in Towers Perrin’s 2005 study relates to which area?

  • Senior leadership and frontline manager effectiveness
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • Fairness in determining pay

4) Which country has the highest percentage of highly engaged employees? Which has the lowest?
Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, U.K., U.S.

Ready for the answers?

  1. Down
  2. All of the above
  3. Learning and development opportunities
  4. Mexico=40 percent of employees highly engaged; Japan=2 percent of employees highly engaged.

By the way, Haslett said engagement for U.S. workers was somewhere in the middle of the pack, at 15 percent to 20 percent of U.S. workers being highly engaged.

–Carroll Lachnit


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