Really - it's new. The "human capital" space, if you take out the HR (transactional) aspects of human resources...the idea of 'human capital' is really still very new. We are going through the exact same industry life cycle as the eLearning space did in the late 90s and early 2000s. It's rather interesting in fact to see just how similar it was.It started with the term 'eLearning' and now our term 'human capital' and what does that really mean? Many are still trying to define it.
Then it moved into learning metrics and measuring the effectiveness of eLearning....now we have human capital metrics conversations. But the first eLearning metrics were really about capturing 'butts in seats' and 'page clicks' and 'course satisfaction'. All of that has moved into much deeper analysis of effectiveness of training, multi-modal learning, and all sorts of awesome things that people like Elliot Masie and others spoke about in their "Future of Learning" type sessions in the late 90s.
At the same time that the metrics concept was emerging, so was the incredible boom of eLearning technology companies, LMS systems, and the like. Both delivery systems and tracking systems are popping up by the dozens.
Then the mergers & acquisitions began... HC companies buying each other...then the integrations of LMS companies with human capital systems too. The SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors, then the Learn.com platform (eLearning system) acquired by Taleo (HC system), which was then acquired by Oracle - that's just one example.
Then I would say, the calm settles in and true growth begins. Social media and other ancillary applications are integrated into this more robust systems. But what is truly great is that really cutting edge technologies emerge. The eLearning space has some amazing high tech applications with virtual reality training, things resembling Google glass....really cool, really immersive learning. It connects people in ways we never imagined and just look at what eLearning has done to higher education, home schooling, and even public schools now.
So what does this mean for the human capital space? My prediction is this... by 2020, human capital transformations are going to impact the business world in ways far more significant than eLearning has transformed education. The HC growth curve is going to be steeper and more impactful on business management than eLearning has been for education. I'll write some thoughts on my predictions soon.
Amy Riccardi is the Chief People Officer and Founder of HCM2020. She's a guest lecturer at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and works with executive teams and CEOs to help scale and grow their business.