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Then and Now

CEO Elliot Clark examines his first column in HRO Today: what was predicted correctly, what was a little off track, and what is to come.

By Elliot H. Clark

From May 2007: Showing Our Outsourcing FaceHaving survived my first month as the CEO of Outsourcing Today, I’ve had an opportunity to see up close how our operations work, and I want to let our loyal readers, customers, and prospects to discuss some of the exciting things that are changing at HRO Today. I also wanted to write about what is not changing.

First, let us talk about what is not changing. The same high-quality staff is leading our magazine. Publisher Jay Whitehead, editor-in-chief Andy Teng, and managing publisher Gale Tedeschi will continue at the helm of the best reporting and production staff in the HRO publication industry.

We will continue our laser-sharp focus on HRO. “HR” makes the first two letters of HRO, but it’s not the whole story. We have a commitment to both the buyers and providers in the HRO community to not water down our coverage by becoming a more generic HR publication.

We have seen media properties redesigned for the HR generalist, and we strongly believe this does not work. We will not disappoint our loyal readers, advertisers, and contributors by losing sight of the niche orientation that has made us the leading publication in HRO.

We need to let our competition know that HRO is not a column, it’s not a feature, and it’s not a once-a-year topic. HRO is our community, and HRO Today will forever be its voice. At a time when the nature of HRO is changing—from lift-and-shift to HR transformation-focused—our publication is needed more than ever for its continuing coverage on this and other important shifts in the marketplace.

However, to serve you better, we will make some changes. We are globalizing, we are adding staff in Asia, and we are looking for offices in Europe. Our commitment to HRO as a global phenomenon requires our company to invest in a global footprint. We will be working to improve our editorial content, and we will be providing broader coverage of key areas of HRO based on your feedback. You will see these changes occurring during the next year.

We are also increasing our online offerings to provide our clients with more options and bundled programs that they can use to educate the market about the rapid advancements in HRO programs. Because, while the HRO market itself is changing, so is the media business, and print and electronic editions these days are inseparable. Readers want both the colorful, high-end look and feel of a print publication as well as the rapid access and searchable nature of online content. In addition, you’ll see more online-only stories, case studies, and interviews on our website, so stay tuned for all the good stuff we’ll implement over the next few months.

I also would like to encourage you to contact me at eclark@outsourcingtoday.com and let us know how we can improve HRO Today. We are excited, and we hope you are, too. I look forward to hearing from you.

A Decade LaterI was talked into going to a movie that I did not want to see by my younger son. As I sat in the theater waiting for the interminably dismal film to end, I began to think about time. Hours seem to pass slowly in that setting, while decades can fly by. I guess we don’t remember the slow times of the last 10 years, just the highlights, lowlights, and significant events. But, nevertheless, an entire decade seems to have vanished in a moment, not in 3,653 days.

On March 30, 2007, Crossing Media, LLC, now SharedXpertise Media, LLC, was born. (We later acquired the tradename “SharedXpertise.”) As the founder, my goal was to take over the assets of Outsourcing Today, LLC a now defunct company that previously owned HRO Today. HRO Today was the principal brand and the only property—no newsletters, not much of a website, and no events at all. Just the HRO Today magazine.

At that time, I wrote my first column to reassure the marketplace of our continued commitment to the coverage of HR outsourcing (see page 18). I also predicted that we would never cover generic HR topics. On that prediction, I was completely wrong. In fact, most of the coverage 10 years ago was on the overloaded multi-process HRO deals of a design no one buys and no one provides anymore. HRO Today covered a few other areas, but multi-process HRO was the primary focus. Very early on, I began to see things differently. Outsourcing is not a special thing, I argued—it is still just HR. It is a delivery format, albeit, a complex one for HR services and technology. Best of breed won the day, but we moved from the “outsourcing” editorial stance over the next few years to covering HR more broadly and specifically on strategy. We have a great editorial team led by Debbie Bolla, who started here nine years ago as an associate editor, and that team covers HR differently than many other publications. Most drone on about why HR leaders should do this or that. We focus on how to get things done, on great case studies and on thought leaders. We have a great following at the C-suite level, and frankly, executives at that level already know why a program is important. They want ideas on better ways to deliver services to their constituencies.

We have seen enormous progress in our own business, increased globalization with events all over the world, and many new products for both providers that look to expand their market awareness and for HR practitioners looking for content, research, or networking. Part of what is fueling our growth is the impressive ascendancy of HR as a key part of the management team of companies. In the last 10 years, the respect, influence, and investment by companies into the role of HR is astounding. This past decade continues a trend of the last 30 years, but the last 10 are particularly noteworthy.

And, along this flowing river of trends, HRO Today has bobbed like small toy boat trying to follow the tides and ride the wind. By and large, we have done that well. It is a tribute to our great team and our ability to anticipate the prevalent trends with the help of an engaged community of innovators, thought leaders, and HR executives who advise us.

Thanks to you all of you for a great decade. I look forward to the next 10 years!

Elliot H. Clark
CEO
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