HR Tech Vendors Hunker Down to Business Despite Virus Spread

Empty Airport


While HR technology providers adjust their operations to address concerns related to the coronavirus, several industry conferences are going ahead. Meanwhile, the first questions are being posed about COVID-19’s long-term impact on the industry.

Thus far, cutbacks in travel and commuting have been felt most keenly by hard-to-quantify disruptions in the sales pipeline. However, some economists and tech executives suggest additional challenges may be on the horizon.

Several #HRTech conferences are going ahead while the first questions are posed about COVID-19’s long-term impact on the industry. #HR #HRTribe Share on X

One thing to keep an eye on is the global supply chain, said MJ Shoer, an industry consultant based in Portsmouth, N.H. “Given that China was essentially shut down for the better part of two months, many are anticipating supply will be constrained as manufacturing ramps back up,” he said.

Shoer said he’s already seeing signs of laptop shortages in distribution channels, although there remains some availability in retail stores. “The normal channels that most Managed Service Providers use are drying up quickly,” he said. “They’re saying it will be at least a month or more before supply eases.”

Delays in hardware installation, which encompass everything from mobile phones to servers, could cause implementation schedules to slip. Shoer believes delivery of new hardware could be interrupted in June and July, and last-mile services could be affected in the near term.

Open for Business

In the meantime, HCM technology companies are modifying their operations in the face of the virus. Like organizations throughout the economy, they’re encouraging employees to work from home, cancelling or postponing events and cutting back travel.

LinkedIn, Oracle, Workday and iCIMS are all among the vendors that have encouraged staff to stay home and avoid traveling.

SAP has cancelled all non-critical business travel through the end of March, including internal events and meetings. Exceptions are only being made when an employee’s physical presence is required or business continuity is at stake, the company said.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn gave candidates the option of rescheduling job interviews or conducting them virtually, according to the Verge. The company also suggested that San Francisco Bay-area employees work from home, and said it will not attend external events through the end of April.

Workday, which cancelled an internal sales meeting in February over health concerns, has asked Bay Area and Portland employees to work remotely for the rest of the month. It told other workers they can remain home if they’re uncomfortable in the office or commuting. The company temporarily closed its offices in New York, Munich, Milan, Seattle and Seoul.

Oracle postponed its Modern Business Experience in Chicago and NetSuite’s SuiteWorld20, which was scheduled to begin April 20. MBE will now be held in conjunction with Oracle OpenWorld, which begins on September 21. SuiteWorld will kick off August 10.

New Jersey-based iCIMS temporarily closed its Holmdel headquarters and told employees to work from home. The company said it will reevaluate the situation daily.

On Friday, UNLEASH Group cancelled its London event, scheduled for March 24 and 24, and said it was watching developments ahead of UNLEASH America, scheduled to run May 12 and 13. The organizers of Select HR Tech, which is to debut June 9 – 11 in Las Vegas, plan to host the event but are monitoring the news, as well.

Select HR Tech Chair Jeanne Achille said her team is monitoring the coronavirus and “working closely with our venues and local medical experts as they remain supportive of large-scale events being held, including ours.” While some attendees and exhibitors have expressed concerns about international travel, she said, most continue to plan for the show, and attendee registrations are coming in at a normal pace.

Updated March 13 for UNLEASH Spring suspension; March 12 with reports of laptop shortages possibly beginning.

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