HR technology redefines IT spends

Organizations are moving from operating in functional groups to operating as “network of teams.” Everyone in the working world are concerned about the future of their careers with the rise of AI, robotics and other technologies at the workplace. With such fundamental shifts happening, two roles are in the spotlight – the CHRO and the CIO.

Prashant John Aug 10th 2018

In the Deloitte report titled “The Rise of Social Enterprise”, famed HR expert Josh Bersin, talks about how organizations are moving from operating in functional groups to operating as “network of teams.” The report also touches on how everyone in the working world are concerned about the future of their careers with the rise of AI, robotics and other technologies at the workplace. With such fundamental shifts happening around the world, two roles find themselves in the spotlight – the CHRO and the CIO.

“Digital Transformation”, “AI”, “Deep learning”, Cloud, SMAC technologies, Big Data – there is a whole new dictionary of technology buzzwords about technology.  Separating reality from the talk, there are two developments in the way enterprise technology adoption has evolved in the past few years that have radically changed the traditional approach CIOs took towards HR Technology.

(a)    The need for CIOs to become Business Leaders:

Companies today are figuring their way around the increasing momentum of digital transformation. Young companies that don’t have to worry about baggage of legacy technologies have leapfrogged their adoption of new age cloud technologies. Larger organizations that often have a plethora of systems, some of which don’t even talk to each other, find the going much more challenging.

CIOs are under increasing pressure to prove the Return on Investment on the technologies being used and those being newly adopted. Gone are the days when technology vendors could sell huge monolithic systems that did a few things well, most things with mediocrity and the rest hardly at all and hope to get companies to pay top dollar for it. The evolution of cloud technologies has put the customer back in the driver’s seat with the power to compare and demand the best bang for their buck. Small companies that do a few things well, and charge only for the functionality they provide while providing seamless integrations with systems that manage other parts are eating the lunch (breakfast, and dinner too) of the big guys.

Now then the CIO, who traditionally would have been bothered only with the details of implementing systems, now has to step up to understand the business and financial impact of the technologies under consideration. Companies now have to deploy a whole tapestry of technologies and know exactly how each one of those plays with the others. CIO’s thus have to grapple with challenges ranging from identifying deployment models for as-a-service offerings to architecting the companies multi-cloud strategy and managing data ownership.

(b)    HR Technology is evolving at a more rapid pace than ever before

Implementing cutting edge technology has traditionally been something the IT team used to look at. In the new age “digital organization”, HR technology is becoming the weapon of choice to attract, engage and retain the most precious resource the organization has – their people talent.

The survey report ‘State of Talent Acquisition in India’ states that eight in ten HR heads and business leaders say talent acquisition will be a challenge for recruiters in India in 2018. And the challenge to attract and retain talent is not something that just other departments are struggling with, it is something CIO’s themselves are facing. The Forrester annual “Global Business Technographic Priorities and Journey Survey”, reports 65% of the CIOs they talked to reporting that skills shortage holding them back.    

Advancements in computing capabilities and big data technologies now let HR leadership model, analyze and (largely) predict employee behavior – enabling them to run timely interventions to maximize productivity and motivation. And these cannot be achieved if HR works in a silo. The technologies they use have to talk to systems in Marketing, IT, Data Analytics and other departments.

The Employee is now front and center in the focus and technologies are being designed to improve their experience at the organization from the time there are on-boarded to the time they leave. With the employee experience becoming so crucial to business success, getting the technologies required to make that experience seamless is more important than ever before. And that responsibility lies squarely with the CIOs.

So, to sum it all up – there are massive paradigm shifts happening at workplaces around the world. Leaders are rethinking the concept of work itself to stay relevant and competitive in a ever-changing landscape. With technology becoming a core requirement in implementing strategies at all stages of the employee lifecycle, CIO’s need to work with HR to architect and implement technologies that can realize the business vision and mission of the organization.

Prashant John is co-founder and CMO, Kwench Global Technologies

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