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This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Coverage of the 2014 HR Technology Conference
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HR analytics tools, EHR systems lead conference coverage

It's conference season all right. As leaves pile up in the Northeast and the Midwest, TechTarget editors have joined thousands of business users, IT professionals and vendor executives at conferences across the country focused on enterprise technology issues, best practices and expectations for 2015. And in this episode of BizApps Today, editors Joe Hebert, Don Fluckinger and David Essex discuss products rolled out, stories scooped, and luminaries who showed -- and didn't show -- at the HR Technology, Workday and College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) gatherings.

First, Essex tackles the increasing emphasis on HR analytics. It's a trend he has seen at several other recent conferences, and it continued to take shape at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition and Workday Rising. At HR Tech, in Las Vegas, several panels covered the use of analytics in workforce optimization and recruitment, and vendors unveiled plans for some new HR analytics tools, such as IBM Kenexa Talent Insights and HireVue Insights. Essex says IBM Kenexa uses "Watson cognitive computing to answer natural-language queries by combing through workforce statistics and recommending the ones that might be most relevant." HireVue relies on a combination of analytics and video interviews to more effectively match employees with employers.

Essex also recounts software vendor Workday Inc.'s preview of Workday Insight Applications at its user conference in San Francisco. He says the technology "uses machine learning and data science to not just analyze HR and finance data in Workday, but to relate it to external data and come up with recommendations." Interest in all three products was high, Essex reports, though "some wondered if their data was clean enough for these advanced analytics tools." Others, he said, would stick with the business intelligence software they've already invested in.

Next in the video, Fluckinger, SearchHealthIT's news director, offers an inside scoop on the CHIME14 Fall CIO Forum for healthcare IT execs, held in San Antonio. He recaps how the recent resignation -- and subsequent reinstatement -- of top U.S. federal health IT official Karen DeSalvo resulted in her being a no-show at the keynote session.

Fluckinger also shares some new information on the dealings between health IT vendors Cerner Corp. and Siemens AG. First, Cerner bought Siemens' electronic health record (EHR) systems unit in a deal announced last summer. Now it's talking about a possible purchase of Siemens' separate radiology information systems product line. That technology seems to be "in flux," he says. "The hospitals running it sure want to know if Cerner will buy it and integrate it into their systems, or if Siemens will keep it and possibly put it out to pasture."

In addition, Fluckinger discusses a surprising episode involving Judy Faulkner, CEO of Cerner rival Epic Systems Corp. Notoriously press-shy, Faulkner spent an unprecedented amount of time with reporters at CHIME14 -- even joining some of them to watch the World Series. Fluckinger believes she "was trying to help steer Epic's narrative" away from the company's reputation for not supporting interoperability with other EHR systems.

Email Joe Hebert at and follow him on Twitter: @jhbrt_TT.

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What role -- if any -- do you see HR analytics having in your organization, now or in the future?
Personally, I would like to see it help us with better options to help select candidates for positions that are a better match then what we currently receive. Granted, a lot of that is based on gaming the system and making resumes read a particular way to get noticed (think SEO for the CV). Being able to bust that approach and get some real insights into what candidates can or cannot do would be awesome :).