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Faculty Spotlight | Laura Thiele teaching HR Technology

Technology. We see it changing our lives daily. We reflect on how things were different in the past. We dream about how it will simplify our future. Whether you were the one standing in line for the newest iPhone, or have just now upgraded to a smartphone, technology impacts us all. Think about all the social dynamics influenced by technology, or the impact technology has on learning. Socially, middle aged adults shaking their head at latest gathering as they see teens interacting with each other virtually, yet sitting nearby each other. The dichotomy is so prevalent because many teens do not know any different. While there are generational gaps, the workforce will be forced to adapt to a socially driven technical platform to communicate – our new norm. Watch how organizations are shifting to teach bite sized learning or how they gamify learning because it is more consumable to the millennial generation. Learning is on demand so people can have it when they want it and where they want it.

I am pleased to join Villanova faculty as an adjunct faculty member teaching HR Technology in the HRD program. Over my twenty-year career, I’ve developed a passion for HR technology because of how fast technology can shift business processes. I’ve seen technology simplify business processes to drive more efficient outcomes. If you don’t think this is exciting, trust me – it is! What I used to see being done on paper or fancy Excel spreadsheets is now simplified to create an awesome experience for the end user. But even more fascinating to me is the future. Imagine having a robotic personal assistant handle the administrative aspects of hiring, or your computer recognizing what you need to learn and building time in your calendar to achieve that. I envision Siri saying, “Cool learning moment, Laura.”

When I was a student at Villanova in the HRD program, many years ago, I don’t recall being passionate about this space. But now, after having a long tenure at SAP, a leading software provider, I have experienced first-hand the many benefits of technological advances. When I reflect on what got me excited about HR technology, I believe it was seeing how technology in my day-to-day life has benefited me. Whether it is text messaging, Facebook, Amazon, setting an app to set my thermostat, or no longer using a paper map, the main benefit to me was saving time and increasing my personal productivity.

I know I want the same conveniences at work that I experience in my personal life. I want the systems I use to be engaging, intuitive, fun, fast, and robust. Working as a Head of HR for SAP Ariba, the leading cloud procurement solution within SAP, I use HR technology every day. In my upcoming HR Technology course, I am eager to bring real world examples to show how I leverage technology as an HR professional. I was more than thrilled to see a screenshot of SAP already on page 18 of our textbook! But beyond me sharing, I want to learn from you – to hear your experiences. My goal is to inspire you to become passionate about HR technology. So someday you will look back and say, “WOW! Look how far we have come. I made a difference.”


The HR Technology Solutions course will be held Tuesdays from 7:30-9:30pm this fall semester. If you are interested in enrolling in the course, contact!

Laura Thiele, MS is currently the Senior HR Director at SAP Ariba, and an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Programs for Human Resource Development at Villanova. Learn more about her & connect with her on LinkedIn!



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