Notes from HR Tech Europe 2013 – Amsterdam

By Thorsten Gorny

I admit I love going to conferences and expos! I love the day before the official start when vendors are setting up their booths, when you literally can watch how a whole industry is getting ready to expose its products and services. I love the opening day when all the attendees are strolling in and the expo hall is getting busy and you feel the excitement in the air. And of course I love to catch up with clients, partners and other vendors, to stroll around, see all the great products and solutions and get a first hand experience with all the new and exciting stuff.

With the HR Tech conference in Amsterdam, being the last stop of our conference journey for 2013, a great and a joyful conference year is ending for us at Cogent. Having been invited from our partner Ingentis to share their booth, it was a great opportunity for us to extend our network in Europe and also to get in touch with many Ingentis’ clients. Just the right event for our official market launch of the “Ingentis org.manager” version of our mobile directory app mPower mD. (With the now available version Ingentis’ org.manager clients are able to implement the app in no time without any investments in any additional infrastructure since it seamlessly integrates into their existing system landscape interfacing directly with Ingentis org.manager).

Besides the business side of things it is always great fun to catch up with our partners from Ingentis and we always come back home with lots of new ideas, great experiences and much good energy. So thanks again to Ingentis for sharing the booth with us!

Our booth team L-R: Thorsten Gorny, Michael Grimm (Ingentis) and René Mallon ( NL)

Some background info about the conference

Even though the HR Tech conference Europe might be still quite new to many since it only was inaugurated in 2011, it quickly has grown into one of Europe’s most important conferences in the HR space. In this year’s conference 42 Nations were represented, 75 Conference Sessions with 78 Speakers were held, 1439 attendees and more than 15 million employees are potentially influenced by those who attended the conference.

As these numbers tell, the conference was a quite well attended event with a very international background. Besides the big ‘usual’ sponsors like SAP, ORACLE, workday, SuccessFactors there were many smaller companies and startups showcasing their solutions, which made this conference the perfect event for HR professionals to get a good overview about the latest and greatest in the HR space. And since it was happening in Amsterdam, one of my favorite cities in Europe, the location made the event even more attractive to many people.

What was ”hot” at this year’s HR Tech Europe?

As you could tell from the experience at other recent conferences, there was a lot of hype around the ‘usual’ topics such as Cloud and Talent Management. As for Cloud solutions I feel the European market, being usually a little more conservative than the US market, is slowly getting ready for Cloud HR solutions. Just based on my observations and discussions during the conference I can tell there is a high interest in “Cloudification” of HR. It will be interesting to see how fast the European market catches up…

Also, and this is good news for our mobility practice at Cogent, I can say the “Applification” of HR has turned from a novelty – or new approach – into a not only accepted but even increasingly expected matter. People expect the simplicity and easiness from consumer apps at their workplace as well, so it’s time for HR and solution providers alike to take into account that “Employees” are actual people. And as such they like to choose their own tools, their own devices, want to be freed from their desks and do their work whenever and wherever… For us as a solution and a service provider it means we not only have to convince the organization or the HR department, we also have to convince every single employee (people) that we have a solution that it’s worth working with.

This might sound like a big headache but I look at it as a great chance and opportunity for bringing fresh ideas and new ways of thinking into the marketplace. And it was very interesting to see all the different approaches from different vendors to face that challenge.

The following companies with their solutions I think made a very good job of “applificating” the HR solution landscape and hence grabbed my attention:

Dashboarding 2.0 – Dashboards taken to the next level

If you are using Dashboards you really have to check out Macromicro ( and their awesome new way of visualizing your HR data. With Macromicro you can literally dive into your data and gain an entirely new and more precise perspective of your organization through an interactive, animated, multivariate interface. Personally I think this is the hottest stuff for Reporting & Analytics at the moment and I am looking forward to see how this new startup rocks the marketplace in the near future.

Streamlining your on-boarding process

Another vendor that grabbed my attention was Appical, a mobile learning solutions vendor based out of the Netherlands. They grabbed my attention for a couple of reasons: First, it was almost not possible for me to not notice them since they had their booth just across the aisle from our booth. Second, they had a really cool theme: Their booth had two airplane seats and they had their product flyer designed like an airline ticket since their solution was about ‘on-boarding’ new employees. And third, of course, the product itself was cool too. They have developed a mobile app that helps you on-boarding new employees in a modern and engaging way. The app comes with a web editor which enables clients to develop their own content for their ‘on-boarding’ app. So if you want to improve your on-boarding process you might want to look into Appical which was, by the way, the winner of the iHR 2013 Award for HR Tech Start-ups.

“Socialification of HR”

Another interesting solution that I had a chance to play with was xtune, a social collaboration platform that makes it easier to connecting and sharing expertise within an organization in order to solve a problem or achieve a goal easier and faster. Anyone can create a “swarm” by sharing an idea, problem or a project. xTune finds those people who have relevant expertise and interest on the subject and invites them to join a so called “swarm”. The level of participation within the swarm can vary, participation and sharing of expertise in a swarm are encouraged through transparency and a unique social rewarding system. So if you would like “to know what you know” go ahead and check out xTune (

Of course, these solutions are just a small selection of many great solutions showcased at the conference and also are just my own individual choices – but in my opinion they are definitely worth taking a look at. If you are interested in more (less biased:) information please feel free to go ahead and check out the sources listed below or just contact me directly at

More information about HR Tech Europe

HR Tech Europe website:

Pictures from the conference:

Presentations from all speakers and sessions:


2 thoughts on “Notes from HR Tech Europe 2013 – Amsterdam

  1. Hi Thorsten,
    It sure was an interesting and informative conference. “Finally” HR is moving to the next level. Loads of opportunities for HR departments and service providers like Cogent. I think it’s called ‘reciprocal’ 😉

    • Thanks for stopping by René. Agree with you 100%. The key for companies like ours is to find that niche area within HR and see how to differentiate ourselves.

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