Ask Acadian: Having Effective Dates and Permissions in HRtech!


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Our firm is a bit unusual, in that Jason and I spent most of our careers working in HRtech before we became Venture Capitalists. Many of our limited partners work or have worked in HRtech too. And over the years we have built a large, if unwieldy network of experts who know stuff that could be useful for our portfolio companies.  Between us we know the nitty gritty stuff that makes HR so challenging and interesting. 

We are well positioned to provide forum where our portfolio companies can engage with experts and each other on topics of mutual interest, so we held an Ask Acadian session today.

I asked Murali Mazhavanchery (the best product manager I know) to spend a couple of hours talking to portfolio companies about decisions and trade offs in HR data models. We worked together for several years at SuccessFactors, even so, we are still good friends. Murali is now at Utmost, one of our portfolio companies. 

Murali walked us through a framework (maturity model) covering.

1. Person model

2. Date awareness

3. Internationalization

4. Integration

5. Permissions

6. Reporting and Analytics

We had a bunch of good Q&A with several portfolio companies. Many of the challenges are not not about if to do these things, but when to do them. Understanding your ideal customer is key to figuring this out. What is vital for a 200,000 employee company is not always relevant for a 100 employee company. What is vital for payroll is nice to have, or even a hinderance for an LMS.  There is a trade-off between usability and perfect effective dating, for instance. 

Why is an audit log not the same as a reporting tool was one where I may have talked for too long. 

We spent time discussing how to prioritise architectural requirements versus function and feature demands from sales. I definitely talked too long about that. 

Thanks to the portfolio companies that joined the call, and a very special thanks to Murali for prepping and leading the session. 

We will set up a regular cadence of these sessions for portfolio companies, and we may well open some up to a broader audience too. 

While Murali and I were talking data models, Jason was talking VC valuations with the financial community. All action here at Acadian.