3 things on the Digital Transformation Radar for 2018


2017 has had it's challenges for HR, and this year I've been constantly working on:

  1. The speed and agility to recruit, develop and re-skill with digital employee operations, digital learning operations and digital talent.
  2. Enabling organisations to move to simple, automated and connected HR primarily enabled by Human Capital Management Systems (HCM) like Workday or SuccessFactors
  3. Facilitate organisations with the tools to manage an increasingly transient workforce.
  4. Design and update outdated and outmoded target operating models, with what roles are really needed for organisation success. 
  5. Fix poor employee experience in getting the basics right.
  6. Bringing consumer experience in to the business to employee space.

It's time to take a pause and look at what that means for 2018 as most organisations start to plan their budget cycle there are 3 things that leading organisations should consider, if they are already on the digital transformation journey.

  1. The old chestnut still holds true.  Technology only does what you tell it to do, the purpose you set out to achieve.  If you did not have one, or it is not aligned to the business then take a pause.  The capability for a business to grow is in Organisation Development its people, processes and technology.  However, even with a new HCM system growth requires real transformation, transformation of the digital employee offering and of the target operating model.  Assess where are you now versus where the business needs you to be. 
  2. Data and AI.  Investment in simplification and connection of systems starts to give you data.  The power of data in the consumer market has led to disruptive models and industries just look at: Facebook, AirBNB, Uber, Lyft, linkedin.  In 2018 data will be a focus as the basis for machine learning.  The focus for the last part of my year is machine learning in talent, where machines learn what makes success in a company from the data on performance and potential with algorithms.  This is a game changer and will disrupt Organisation Development.  Instead of designing competencies, career paths and programmes machines will start to define the offerings for employee success.  Digital transformation will require data transformation for AI.
  3. This year I worked on the first virtual agent in HR.  Analysts were surprised when yes we have one!  This is in early adoption in some companies, but in 2018 I really see a push for that business to consumer experience (B2C) into business to employee (B2E). More disruptive technologies will be fused into the B2E space like Watson, Blockchain, Commerce with a Employer Branding orientation. Digital transformation will require employer branding transformation.

HR's full of Colourful Sense Data for Machine Learning

 My Doctoral Research identified statistically significant correlations of moderate strength for success in adulthood with Sensemaking and Attachment from childhood.  The Talent Development we undertake needs a shake up, and machine learning is evolutionary in the application of an increased understanding of success. Chantelle Brandt Larsen

My Doctoral Research identified statistically significant correlations of moderate strength for success in adulthood with Sensemaking and Attachment from childhood.  The Talent Development we undertake needs a shake up, and machine learning is evolutionary in the application of an increased understanding of success. Chantelle Brandt Larsen

HR is the area that is full of data for the senses. Humans are effective in organizations due to their sensemaking and attachment. 

Founding theories of sense making (Piaget) and attachment (Bowlby, Ainsworth) in my research showed statistically significant correlations to success in adulthood.

Sensemaking in organizations is how we make sense of the Organisation, business problems, opportunities and the wider macro environment. This is from the stories you here, the symbols you see visuals, offices or role models, the smells and even tastes all five senses.

Attachment is how we relate and connect to others which optimizes a persons success and their organizations.  In childhood that's the attachment with parents, as we grow that moves to friends, teachers, mentors, partners and when we enter the adult work world colleagues.

When you apply this depth of understanding to variables that can be used in talent and learning interventions in machine learning, it has enormous potential.  The supervised and unsupervised learning can have an increased chance of success to develop and evolve in the things that matter.  This has been shown in the development of a child to an adult, and what is critical to their success.  Think learning the traditional learning taxonomies are knowledge, skills and behaviour.  However, the success of talent is the ability to deal with the unknown, figure out solutions to knew problems and form new learning pathways - that's sense making.  As well as the ability to increase the size of the learning and it's impact with a super network - that's attachment.

That right now is my focus.  I am testing hypothesis and the mathematical calculation of theta and the exponential cost function.  This is identifying patterns in what makes the difference, and  machine learning that  connects learners to personalised offers.  Going further in the future machine learning is not just one sense, but also for example visual data (here mathlab is great).

What does this mean for machine learning. Well if you go back to the very first example of machine learning when Arthur Samuel in 1959 battled a computer against itself in chequers it learnt from wins and loses. 

The people data that is in our HRIS, ERP, HCM however we want to term it is rich with wins and losses, and remember failure is part of the path of learning how to be successful. Examples of the data (typically I am hypothesising this data as 'Y' with a number of variables):

  • Performance data
  • Potential data  
  • Successful hiring data
  • Leaving Data
  • Promotion Data
  • Moving Data
  • Size Network data

It is important to understand the independent variables. Unassisted learning is useful to classify and look for patterns in the data.

For example, traditionally you would design job roles, a catalogue and competencies.

In an AI environment you could understand what skills are high in certain roles, in a group of a certain performance, potential and geographic region. The data starts to then learn and can then be programmed to unassisted learning to form and be more agile to what an Organisation and person needs.

Machine sense learning in HR is an area ripe for development.

It does require some precursors:

  • data architecture and readiness
  • a cultural shift to responsive design and transformation
  • the right talent to shift to data science and machine learning

There is a sixth sense missing. In humans we call it the 3rd eye. That instinct, knowing what is right or wrong and emotion is not even there in the Business to Consumer Artificial Intelligence. So AI sensemaking is there to empower the heart and consciousness of the Organisation 'People.' 

Meet the 4 Robots Populating HR

There are four different types of RPA, and the sophistication is increasing.  The disruption  of these technology will mean in the next 4 years these apps and or bots will be populating HR from hire to retire.

2017 HR Challenges and Trends

HR has it's challenges and in 2017 these are the one's I am constantly working and collaborating on.

  1. Speed and agility to recruit and develop
  2. Still! Complicated, manual and not connected
  3. An increasing transient workforce
  4. Outdated roles
  5. A poor employee experience
  6. The experience in life surpasses that we have in the workplace

The pace at which we are moving is disrupting, and HR is raising its game.

Implementing New Tech Changes the Target Operating Model in HRO

The implementation of New Technologies ultimately impacts the TOM, if it is a true transformation and this takes effort.  The change is not just in the number of FTE but the roles and grade. 

There is the rise of 6 type of roles:

  1. Knowledge Community 
    • As the implementation of more Business to Consumer (B2C) technologies for self service increases it is dependent on the knowledge that is passed on and maintained, while the future robots are learning currently their is the need to transform knowledge.  What do i mean?  Well knowledge is not simply uploading a policy or procedure, because the same answer in provides the same result as always.  The way that people engage with knowledge is different today.  People get their news, content in help in snippets form Twitter, You Tube and Virtual Agents.  However, the knowledge itself in organisations needs to be transformed and maintained.  This is a new role but often within the existing grade mix.
  2. Customer Service Owner
    • The service model an instigator of the transaction is pushed to the manager, and frankly their job is not HR.  So a customer service organisation needs to be updated that has the right tough for the query and type of employee segment.  This is a new role and can be a new grade mix depending on the businesses appetite for delivery of extended services.
  3. Management and Maintenance of the Tool
    • There is a requirement periodically for releases to manage the impact of the tool releases in service
    • There is the ongoing management of queues and support of the tool in relation to the customer
    • These are new roles and a different capability in the grade mix.
  4. Analytics Partner
    • To drive true business insight analytics partners need to be in place to leverage technology and business requirements. This is a new role and a professional grade mix.
  5. Rise of the White Collar Robot
    • There is the rise of the white collar robot or app that can think.  They can take unstructured data to structured data and provide an output.   All of these apps and bots need to be governed and managed.  This is a new role and new grade mix, because the work is not done by a person.
  6. Rise of the Blue Collar Robot
    • There is the blue collar robot or app that can take structured data to structure data an provide and output.  All of these apps and bots need to be governed and managed.  This is a new role and new grade mix, because the work is not done by a person.

Let Go of Mum Guilt

Guilt is one of the barriers a mother working faces in being able to have life balance. Whether you are a 'Lean In' or 'Lean Out' mother ultimately there are only so many hours in the day, and one of the solutions is to outsource.

We can either feel like we have no guilt, but drown in looking like we can do it all, or have life balance and know that the decision suits your family. The only important answer is for your individual family circumstance.  So many Mum's that I work with told me that it was one of their biggest issues that a tool kit was born as well as bundles where experts offer free webinars and tools.

This could be difficult if you come from a heritage of your mother did the running of the house, and a great job bringing up the children. However, demographics have changed.

  1. The distance in extended families
  2. The career development of females
  3. The sheer amount of red tape, and chores that have increased each century

Distance in Extended Families

Both my husband and I live no where near our parents. My Mum now has to travel within on continent to see 2 grandchildren, and to another continent to see her 3rd. That is the nature of a global village, and migration. However, that means as a mother working the support structures in place disappear. Any guilt you had let someone else have that. Your life is your life, if you need a third pair of hands then by all means grab it: a cleaner, gardener or au-pair. From the day we hired an au-pair we never looked back on the focused time I have for the kids and family. There may be restrictions financially so options need to be assessed, but if it is financially viable it is worth it's wait in gold.

Career Development of Females

On one of my last visits my Mum said 'I never realised how hard you worked.' I was working from home in the office, and I think she saw me maybe pee once that day, and quickly make a nutri-bullet soup! That week I ensured as ever I was there at dinner, bath and bedtime, but due to crazy deadlines she saw my 14 hour days. Whilst it is not always like that, there are peaks and troughs. One thing is clear it was not the reality of my Mum's world when I was growing up. 

There are no extra hours in the day, no one can magic a 30 hour day. The only learnings that I have applied is to: eliminate unnecessary activities, prioritise, outsource (guilt free) and automate.

Red Tape and Chores

Seriously the worst thing is the mail box why in 2016 is there still so much paper, even if you register for 'E-statements, bills...' There are still those tasks that a 'Must Do's' and have consequences like: taxes, bills, and the un -outsourced chores. When we surveyed mothers they wanted support with red tape, and this is in my goal to support other mothers working.

  • If you're a mother who has guilt ask what makes sense for my family.
  • If you're a mother judging another mother as is that my family. If the answer is 'No' then focus on the answer to your family, and not others.

Mothers Come Out with Passion

When more and more people search for fulfillment in making a difference, what do you do if you have a family with one foot in 'security for the family' but another in 'role model to your children to make a difference and thrive on their passion.'

The Corporate Leadership Council research on commitment identified engagement can lead to the increased productivity of a company. The ultimate engagement in simple terms is a person has:

  • A belief in the purpose that the company or brand makes to a given cause
  • A belief in their contribution and how much they impact that cause

That's great except:

  • Not all companies have an altruistic cause, or indeed start to really identify and engage employees in it's purpose.
  • As a mother you still need to ensure the basics are there for your family, and a shortness of time. However, believe me with a few tips from a working mother and a Doctorial Business Administration, out of an original class of 13 men, plus 1 woman you can do it!
  • As a mother the day you gave birth you knew you had the power to overcome any barriers.

So what do you do?

  1. Identify your passion. If you are going to work on it make sure you are passionate about it. It will be your time investment.
  2. Identify your strengths.
  3. Where do the passion areas and strengths overlap. You do not have to have all skills you can partner with people that strengthen your weaknesses.
  4. Bounce off of your, friends, networks and make new friends. Surround yourself with people that will take you higher.
  5. Funnel your energy in a way that gets you to your goal in your timeframe. One way is for it to be in a program like an MBA or DBA. Another is to be part of a group that develops projects. I’m a member of the hubzurich.

You will not be alone. There has been an increase in 'personal projects,’ and 'people studying' to infuse the creativity and fulfillment that people yearn. 

That's how my journey started. I decided to embark on a doctorate. As part of the doctorate a project grew into what is now a mission for societal change. The goal is to support 1Mn mothers by the end of 2017 with more time in their day, to spend time with whom they love and on what they love.

Be brave to follow your passion and evolve your life, personal projects and work around the impact you want to make in life.  In my case HR has gone beyond the immediate office to reaching those future generations via their parents, and giving parents what they need most more time.

10 Top Tips: How to Study and be a Mother Working

Just before having my second child I decided and discussed with my family to study a doctorate. My husband chuckled in his typical danish humour 'you never stop wanting to learn' and I rebutted 'is that a bad thing.' 5 years later and it was the best thing I did for many reasons. Not least I found from my passion a way to help other mothers, and my 'why' was to give more women time in their day.

If you are a busy mother working and you are making the choice of can I? Shall I? You may find my tips and learnings useful.

1. Assess if it’s right for you and your family?

a. Sacrifice

• Ask yourself what you want to do and why you want to do it? In that process challenge yourself really why, and are there other ways to get there? An academic qualification may not be the only way to achieve your goal. Then if it is what you want, are you willing to give up your time when the children go to bed? Are you willing to give up some of your time with your partner? Is it worth it? Dependent on your answer, it may be that it is not the right time for you to study.

b. Passion (1)

• Are you passionate about it? If you are not – do not do it. Life is too short to waste time on the things that we are not passionate about.

c. Routine

• Do you have a routine that would enable you to study?

• Do you have structured sleep times that you can guarantee regular time to study?

• Do you know on the whole that your kids sleep well? So that you have energy to focus.

• Do you have regular travel times on public transport that facilitate regular reading and or study time? Or do you have any other time that is not being utilised?

If the answer is yes to the first two points, then you can organise the time resources necessary. The final bullet is a bonus. It may not be how other students might work, but 2-3 hours a night adds up to 14 – 21 hours a week.

2. Initial Investigation

• Investigate what possible courses are available that provide different options: location near home, online, opportunity to defer, mixture of assignments and exam, the languages you can take it in, past students outcomes/ successes (call the course supervisor or dean), resources and cost. Analyse and prioritise the option/s that you can then discuss with your support framework - family.

3. Support framework

• Ask the same questions about sacrifice to your family: partner and kids, and are they willing to support you? It has to be a joint decision because if not the times when you need to have your head down to get an assignment finished, and you are unavailable to them could lead to resentment.

• Is there anything that you can add to support you? Can grandparents help? Can you afford outside help: a babysitter, au pair or nanny? Think these things through because there is a lot of time involved.

4. Cost

• It may not be cheap! There can be scholarships available but be realistic because parenthood is also not cheap. Research funds and make a budget plan accordingly.

If you are willing to make the sacrifice, identified that there is a routine that would facilitate study and support. Then move on to the next stage ‘Design’

5. Design 'a way of working' into your life that will make you successful?

a. Where

• Pick the physical or virtual location to study that makes sense to you. I choose to study in the city that I now reside. I sometimes travel with my job, so as a family it would be an extra burden to go away to university weekends. There are 11 compact weekends in total, but each one I am home for breakfast, and can spend time with my family in the evening. A work colleague suggested going to Copenhagen to study, but what was more important to me was limiting the impact on my family. Secondly, a doctorate is not marked as traditional exams or coursework. Essentially your body of work has to be accepted by the experts, so in this context the place became irrelevant. This may not be true for all qualifications, but it is something to take into account.

b. Organise

• Go through and request the timetable for the course that you decided on. Put all the assignment dates in your diary, and make a plan ahead of time that allows you to meet the deadlines. Strangely, 1 single man has dropped out the doctorate and 2 people have been late with assignments out of 9 people. I am not aware of their full circumstances, but what works for me, is the scheduling of assignments and their completion in advance. I cannot afford to wait until the last minute. I have to dedicate time to it regularly; no excuses.

I have had to push back as I have a full time job.  It was important to understand what is realistic, and prioritise.  In my case work took the priority and I extended my doctorate for another year, doing it all was not possible.  It was not about how fast I completed, but completing with a healthy family and healthy me.

6. Tools

• If you haven’t already you will need a dedicated machine just for you and your study, and I highly recommend an Ipad with a kindle app, or kindle. The ability to read anywhere and everywhere that you have a free moment means that you can maximise your research and analysis time, boosting your productivity.

Use Your Network

• Mummies are the most powerful and resourceful network. We all make choices and I know Mummies who are blissfully raising their children that were lawyers, copy writers, teachers, HR Directors, CEO’s and the list goes on. Reach out for help. I needed someone to proof read my research proposal. I stopped counting after 8 people stepped forward. The value they added was colossal, because they provided a second pair of eye’s to: grammar, clarity and even built on the process.

7. Do it in a way that makes you successful.

8. Family

• Check in with your family how it is working and if there anything that would help each other? Overall my family is so proud of me. There have been times where we have had to make sure that we both get a break.

Reality Check

• The good thing about studying later on in life is actually I am no longer an anal perfectionist. I work hard at it and do many drafts, but there is a point where I say ‘that assignment’ will have to be enough as I want to play with my son and daughter.

9. Passion (2)

• If you are doing a thesis make sure the topic is what you are passionate about. My topic is how to develop talent in children. When I was on maternity leave with my second child I was so engrossed in the subject that I would sit down to research, and then before I knew it, it was time to pick up my daughter from kindergarten.

Be clear what success looks like, and it is not what you think!

10. Outcome

• Be clear that this does not define you. It may help you to get to a goal but success does not come in the form of a job title, or degree. How you live, experience life and the difference you make to the people you meet is success. It could be as simple as you need a mental challenge, or you want to make a difference in a certain field. So if this helps you in how you live and experience your life then go for it.

The original article was actually published earlier on in my studies, to help and support other mothers.

There are two outcomes from my study:

  1. Research on adulthood success from childhood, to put it short parental attachment is statistically significant.
  2. What I did not have was automation of the crappy, pesky chores or the things that drain time.

8 Points to Consider to Not Have Glocal Failure Workday v SuccessFactors

Living abroad you notice all kinds of what I call Glocal failures.  That's the want to localise but be global.  When you buy a new software, or even product and the automatic customisation of the language is in German, French or Italian and you may or may not get an English option.

In Human Capital Management (HCM) systems developers have to push Glocal in the business to employee space so how do they weight up agains the 8 factors often considered in the organisations needs?  This blog provides a high level assessment.

It all depends on your organisation, what countries you serve, the nature of your business, data, TOM, and IT landscape.

WorkDay and Success Factors are continually developing their applications, so this is an approximate evaluation is my own opinion in comparison between Workday and SuccessFactors as of the beginning of 2017.  

Self Service Adoption

Workday currently has more extensive mobile enablement which allows easier adoption. What should however not be underestimated is that the managers role is not HR.  The future pushes the Service Model to the manager and that needs to be correctly supported.

Self Service Adoption

Both SuccessFactors and Workday provide extensive self service for employee, managers and HR that are easy to adopt due to intuitive navigation within each function.  What should however not be underestimated is that the managers role is not HR.  The future pushes the Service Model to the manager and that needs to be correctly supported.

Business Services Integration

Business Services Integration

SAP delivers prepackaged standard SAP connectors and a local app development area for extensions, a bit like android or apples app developer hubs.  Standard platforms such as Boomi, Hannah, HI for the integration to core HR solutions and Payroll.

Workday also has standard connectors and tools for major systems that can be used as accelerators, integration is however more complex and costly for other business and local systems.

User Experience

User Experience

SuccessFactors is also highly rated for its look and feel, and ease of navigation by end users.  SAP offers most but not all functions on the mobile platform.  There is a  restriction for administrators on some functionality where mobile is not yet possible.

Workday is highly rated for its ease of use in several servility polls conducted by real end users, and is fully mobile enabled.



SuccessFactors by the end of Q4 had circa 80 country packs where local legal requirements are built in as standard, and in country resource maintain and push them to new package releases for you company.

Workday has a predominantly global outlook, with less flexibility for customisation.



SuccessFactors provide payroll coverage to 30+ countries, payroll is integrated with modules from local pay impacting data straight to the payroll provider.

Workday has payroll built in for 4 countries: US fully operational, UK, Canada and France are on release but not available yet to all customers.



SuccessFactors have the first level of data available, but full Business Insights is chargeable.  The cost and real application to business analytics still is a solution I look at with businesses on their ROI.

Workday full analytics comes as standard with fully drill-able insight.  The cost and real application to business analytics still is a solution I look at with businesses on their ROI.

Strategic Workforce Planning

Strategic Workforce Planning

SAP have a Strategic Workforce Planning model as well as extensions 'Enterprise Jungle' and 'FieldGlass' to manage the ever increasing agile and contingent workforce.

Workday supports strategic workforce planing across HR data and other systems

Application Management

Application Management

SuccessFactors allows you the grace of 2 release codes.  It alerts you to release change and new you try packs changes and implications.  Effort is still required to manage the impact.  This leads to often new roles in the Service Organisation e.g. managing the tool and it's impact.

Workday forces you to upgrade so planning, preparation and release effort is impacted.This leads to often new roles in the Service Organisation e.g. managing the tool and it's impact.

HR Innovation Failure. Who Forgot About the Documents!

Whilst the effectiveness of the process and user interface of the new Human Capital Management (HCM) Systems are impressive there is one area in HR that has been forgotten, and there is little we can do to get away from it.  One area I am always busy working on and improving is documentation!

The documentation in HR is kind of insane!  There are the: offer letters, contracts, employee data changes where legal documents are required, leavers documentation etc.  Each document requires data collection of both what is global and local data.  Data that needs to be collected and stored in the Global HR system, and data that is only needed for local systems e.g. for payroll or legal requirements.

Just take Russia where you have for example a Global Workday, but also C1 there are circa 26 additional local data fields to collect for a New Hire to become and employee.

The HCM systems that are being implemented have pros and cons in regards of their ability to deal with global and local data. However, none resolve the documentation challenge.  There are two contenders HotDocs and Escriba that integrate well with both SuccessFactors and Workday and resolve the following problem:

  1. Data reading from systems such as e.g. Taleo, SuccessFactors or Workday
  2. Collection of global and local data if outside of the system e.g. in recruitment
  3. Data validation to reduce down stream errors e.g. special characters
  4. Automate generation of a compliant, consistent and correct document 
  5. Effective dissemination for approval
  6. Effective retrieval of the document via electronic signature
  7. Write capability of taking the data collected to the HCM

When you consider the process, also consider the documents.  This will be an area of experience and effectiveness that can be greatly improved and more innovation is to come in the future to change the face of HR ;).




4 Digital Profiles - Do You Recognise Them and Where Do You Want To Be?


Capgemini's research with MIT identified four different types of digital profile.

  1. Digirati
  2. Fashionista
  3. Beginners
  4. Conservatives

The four types of profile, have different appetites for digital technology, and a different alignment to the business strategy and goals.  Working with clients I see this in daily life where there is just not the appetite to leverage technology and transform.   The digital transformation may make strategic sense, but due to a conservative mindset, politics or silo's the business case is ultimately impacted.

Capgemini's digital research with MIT is useful is to use.   It helps companies to understand where they themselves, and where they want to be, and in quantitative terms play back the financial research on revenue and margin.

  1. Digirati's adopt technologies that align to the business goals.  Research on this group  showed:
    • Companies with a stronger digital intensity had 9% higher revenue 
    • Companies with strong transformation management 26% higher profits
  2. Fashionista strong on digital, but weak on transformation and alignment to the business:
    • Companies with a stronger digital intensity had 6% higher revenue 
    • Companies with lower transformation management -11% profit
  3. Beginners have an appetite for digital, but organisation silo's and legacy systems make it hard to make a transformational impact on the business:
    • Companies with some digital intensity had -4% revenue 
    • Companies with lower transformation management -24% profit
  4. Conservatives no to low appetite for digital, or have significant bureaucracy that impacts digital transformation:
    • Companies with a lower digital intensity had -10% revenue 
    • Companies with lower transformation management 9% higher profit

The research provides insight of barriers, and what needs to be addressed in digital transformation.  The transformation journey in a insurance company may for example be different, in order to gain buy in of an organisation entity, and adoption. A different approach would be appropriate for a Digirati in the hospitality or tech industry.

Digital and Transformation go together and this insight provides insight, SO WHAT:

  • Which are you?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What is the right approach for adoption?

Calling BS on Ulrich

Ulrich himself has criticised his Target Operating Model in an outsourced environment, but increasingly the implementation of next generation cloud Human Capital Management Systems are coming unstuck in organisations once implemented.  I have just spent the run up to Christmas with 4 organisations who have made the same oversight.

The four roles:

  1. Strategic Partner
  2. Change Agent
  3. Employee Champion
  4. Administrative Partner

changes the depth and type of roles fulfilled by the different players, arguably there are new roles that I will cover in another blog in the future..

  • HR Business Partner
  • Centre of Expertise
  • HR Operations
  • Shared Services
  • Manager 
  • Employee

The manager and employee previously did administration and the process was often instigated and facilitated by HR.  The automation of the process provides a business case in the reduction of HR's cost to serve, but the balance shifts to the manager with a increase role to play in the instigation and facilitation of HR processes in Workday and SuccessFactors.

The challenge is whilst people management is the role of a manager; HR isn't.  In reality what I am seeing on the market is organisations where:

  • Managers are stuck but they do not know because HR is not their skill set
  • A large amount of pending transactions where managers, employees and other customers are stuck

This can be fixed if the Target Operating Model is designed end to end, with what can pragmatically implemented.  Again not consultancy BS, but working with organisations or people with experience of running operations and service.

The HCM systems do not come with the help and support for the manager because they are the User Interfaces (UI) that we expect in our private life, but those UI's also come with digital interaction to support us.  

The managers are now able to initiate HR processes, but what they need is well-defined points of contact, and the means to resolve where they have a problem are critical to core HR to be effective and efficient.

What's needed is the well designed Human Interaction Interface the next generation digital contact to support and facilitate the deeper administration role the managers play:

  • Global and Local requirements collected in plain English, validated and then automated 
  • An employee segmented service that provides the right touch support for that segment and the transaction just as in Business to Consumer markets across omni channels
  • A virtual agent that knows when support is needed with agile content like you would find in Square Space of Apple
  • The ability to speak to a human being and or book an appointment as you do at the Apple genius bar
  • Pro active campaigns from HR to improve the people impact on the business

In implementing HCM systems we must not under estimate the fundamental shift we place on managers, and the managers job is not HR.



Why I don't dress up for flights

A while back there was an article circulating of some guys boasting of getting dressed for flights to make a good impression and meet people.


I remember reacting and frankly wanting to spew.

It's just gone 13:00 on a Sunday and I'm sat in economy for a 12 hour flight to LA in jeans and a top.

Each to their own but I want to present the other side of flying in comfort.

Time with the family 

We left our house at 10:00 to ensure that we got to Zurich airport for 11:00.  As a working Mum it wasn't just me going and preparing for my trip:visa, transfer, hotel, presentations to review on the plane. It was also preparing the family. They needed breakfast and we needed time together before my husband is about to have a very hectic week. So getting a shower and putting on my jeans and a top, rather than get dressed up pretentiously for a very long flight gives me more time for the family.


Frankly many companies no longer do business travel. As awful as that is and will be left for another debate, comfortable clothes are crucial because it is impossible for me to sleep in economy.  This would be fine if I was going on holiday and could lay in, or relax.  In reality I have to hit the ground running work 12 + hours when I land, as if there was no time difference.

Inner versus exterior

Frankly if I relied on the exterior presence of someone to see whether to make a connection I would have missed out on a lot of good conversations in life.  Sometimes we are running out of the house after getting the kids to school, to a party or ensuring they know they are safe and loved before you go away for 5 sleeps. Sleeps is the way my kids know how long I am gone and Mummy is always going to come back. On my flight to New York I made friends with a nurse moving to Zurich eventually after her wedding to a Swiss Italian. On this flight I've met two great guys one in khakis and the other in jeans. The point is don't judge a book by its cover. If you feel you need to dress up fine, but if you're comfortable just bring yourself stay with that especially if you are on a long flight.

Overall I'm glad that this is my first long haul business trip in 6 months (excluding personal travel). As a mother there's nothing more important to me to being present, to having our family balance and for the majority of the time sitting at the dinner table finding out about our days at Kita (nursery), Chinski (kindergarten) and work.

Being a mother who thrives on purpose, challenge, direction and the happiness of her family can have its challenges.

Sitting in jeans on a 12 hour flight is not one of them, there are too many important things to do, like having the maximum cuddles with my kids and being open to making connections with authenticity.


 My own Priority Pass is a saviour from the constant economy travelling for business #travellingmumtip #prioritypass

My own Priority Pass is a saviour from the constant economy travelling for business #travellingmumtip #prioritypass

 Up there I do get me time, and connecting time but in reality after a 12 hr flight you feel physically sick unable to sleep.  Jeans or no jeans is irrelevant.

Up there I do get me time, and connecting time but in reality after a 12 hr flight you feel physically sick unable to sleep.  Jeans or no jeans is irrelevant.

 Economy space is cramped. #comfort 

Economy space is cramped. #comfort 

The Robots - Like The Boyfriend Who Doesn't Quite Cut it as Marriage Material

Typically in the Enterprise Innovation I work with two types of Robots 

 Two types of robots #structured and #unstructured - I would marry neither ;)

Two types of robots #structured and #unstructured - I would marry neither ;)


1. Robots that a simple and only do and see exactly what I tell or show them.  Structured to structured data.

2. Robots that can learn and adapt, so I can show them something but they might just take 4 or 5 times to learn how to do the job. Unstructured to Structured Data.

Frankly, way back when I was a teenager I would accept that kind of man because well, you felt just being with someone was better than being alone, and you did not know any different.  In reality you wanted a partner who would grow with you and make you stronger, and in essence needed to be a bit more clever.  

In robotics, we are not quiet there yet, however, in the the business process world I wanted to use that analogy so we understood the big strides that are coming.

Levels 0, 1, 2 and 3

0. Level 0: Don't speed up a bad or ineffective process Eliminate and Optimise first

First before we even get to robotics, actually it is the last resort!

  • If we can eliminate wasteful processes and unnecessary tasks then we should do so.  We may even be able to optimise and automate what we already have.  The amount of systems I have seen where clients are not even leveraging the true potential is fascinating, and of course then we help them.
  • In HR even SuccessFactors and Workday require Organisation Change Management (OCM).  To leverage the connected power of Human Capital Management (HCM) systems, the content and integration needs to be there.  For example, if the manager wants to click on a potential person he or she can contact for a project or succession, then there needs to be integration with the global directory and telecoms infrastructure and in a global company there may be more than one provide.

Second example, if true power of the people is to be developed and unleashed then the following dimensions need to be part of the change, but are often underestimated or just technology led:

  • Performance definition
  • Potential definition
  • Job families
  • Goals
  • Competencies mapped to their dependencies e.g. job families
  • Learning content mapped to their dependencies e.g. goals, job families and competencies
  • Experience and exposure channels enabled to include mentoring and coaching across High Potentials

1. Level 1:  Structure to Structure data (The guy perhaps I Stayed friends with but I was never going to marry)

In HRO I am often looking at uipath robots to take structured data from an online form into the HCM system where the full suite for Success Factors or Workday is not applied, there is a local process outside the legal requirements or administration of tasks such as training administration.  Here again there may be an opportunity to leverage automation first e.g.:

  • I look at SAP SuccessFactors extensions as if it were my apple developer account, and look at if it makes business sense to automate that process, and applicability perhaps on a wider scale.
  • I look at integrations of automation in processes that take significant effort and have high volume and effort, but also localisation e.g. Time and Attendance with Kronos and Workforce.
  • I look at strategic importance of the employees, like contingent workers, which is an increasing footprint of employment, with app extensions like 'Enterprise Jungle.'
  • The good thing about SAP SuccessFactors is that by Q4 2017 it will have mapped 80 local country requirements in HR.  That enables the ability to standardise across large global organisations.

2. Level 2. Unstructured Data (The guy I thought was great, but not really as he never really grew me)

This kind of robot fulfils further needs.  So for example in a HR context:

  1. Complex terms and conditions that mean in a large organisation there are multiple formats.  This robot can sort and categorise data to make efficiency gains at the top end of the process, and speed up down stream processes later on.
  2. Invoices that are in multiple formats.  HR often handles a lot of vendors due to the invoices related to people.  It looks to understand the data and learn from it's mistakes

3. Level 3: Interpret, Dialogue, Probe, Make Decisions and Apply Intelligence (The guy I ended up marrying)

This kind of robot I have not seen in the HRO space yet.  We are making advances in Artificial Intelligence, chat bots, block chain, we chat (huge in APAC and already looking at in my uni project) and ITTT (If This Then That).  In my doctorate I have been experimenting with ITTT (If This Then That) technology in the Business to Consumer Space and applying it straight to an automation logic, but in the HR space this is where I am feeding my thinking through to new projects.  Currently, I am working on to 'Re Imagine HR.'

I am blessed to work for a truly innovative company that is pushing the boundaries and bringing innovation from the Business to Consumer and Business to Business arena to Business to Employees.

If anyone has experience and or exposure to their development into the third phase I would be excited to hear more.



Three things I took away from the Female Founders Summit

 I grew my network immensely more being surrounded by female thought leaders in Tech #network #techmoversandshakers #acrossindustry #innovation

I grew my network immensely more being surrounded by female thought leaders in Tech #network #techmoversandshakers #acrossindustry #innovation

 Women offer a uniqueness.  As men die younger in the future 70% of the worlds wealth is in the hands of women and this is reshaping the values for purchase power #itwasneveradress #wehavecapes

Women offer a uniqueness.  As men die younger in the future 70% of the worlds wealth is in the hands of women and this is reshaping the values for purchase power #itwasneveradress #wehavecapes

 There was a huge amount of focus and investment in Fintech.  They are wanting the big idea in Finance, this is the one market not cracked.  Other markets are wanting a pilot or launch, but this market can still be a good idea! Since Brexit Zurich is booming with funding #fintechideas #proofofconcept #netflix #airbnb #amazon #uber #finance? #disruptive #innovation #b2b #b2c

There was a huge amount of focus and investment in Fintech.  They are wanting the big idea in Finance, this is the one market not cracked.  Other markets are wanting a pilot or launch, but this market can still be a good idea! Since Brexit Zurich is booming with funding #fintechideas #proofofconcept #netflix #airbnb #amazon #uber #finance? #disruptive #innovation #b2b #b2c

Why if the Tories, Barclays Bank and others that opposed change are invited to Mandela’s Funeral they should go.

The past few days have been filled with sorrow, the loss of one of the worlds most inspirational and transformational leaders.  In some respect he even felt like a Papa figure (word for granddad in the Caribbean), he is an elder that has done so much for me, for us, for the world.  I remember being in school and singing “free Nelson Mandela.”  I remember things that changed because of him.  I remember visiting Cape Town and district 6 where people “Blacks” and “St Helenians” were instantly removed.  I fall into both of these groups.  So the thought of many of the hypocrites now stepping forward was sickening, when in fact they were on the wrong side of change. Then I remembered when I visited Robben island and stood in his cell, and let’s not forget the many others that were wrongly imprisoned there.  I stood there with a sense of perspective.  Nelson Mandela had an insightful perspective on change, perhaps because of the long time he had to endure the same view and people. He knew how to change people who were his opponents, to bring people behind him who would have originally strung him up.  “We are one people with one destiny” he eliminated division, just look at what he did by using Rugby to bring together the people in the 1995 world cup.

On Friday on my sister shared the Guardian’s article on the hypocritical standpoint of the Tories.  Today Sunday I received a petition from (below) to petition against David Cameron’s attendance of the funeral.  Whilst I agree, it is right that we do not let people re-write history.  What would alienation achieve?  He said "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." We should learn from him.  What would Nelson Mandela do?  He would look and see how we can engage and involve these people (hypocrites included) as they stand up to be on the right side of history now.  We need to think how to challenge those that were hypocrites, to carry Nelson Mandela’s legacy on with today’s challenges.  There is still a lot more for humanity to do.  The impact of change will be more powerful with them; then against them.

The petition should read David Cameron:

  • How to address racism, which still exists, people are still judged for the colour of their skin.
  • How to reduce the gap between rich and poor, which in today’s economy has been polarised by policies that give the elite access to education.
  • How to shape social policies that eliminate classism.  There are people relying on food banks and children in a western economy living below the poverty line.  1 in 6 children in the UK live below the poverty line according to the DWP 2013.  Classism is a worsening division.

David Cameron embrace the inspiration that is Mandela:

  • "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
  • "I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days." calling for a petition to ban David Cameron from the funeral need to swallow any grief, anger, righteousness  and hurt.

Ultimately what would Mandela do "Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front."

My Day Back To University - Global Virtual Working

My Day Back To University - Global Virtual Working


I recently gave a lecture for my old boss in Bern on global virtual working.  It was so invigorating  to be surrounded by young minds.  At the same time it was obscure because it doesn't feel that long since I did my first degree…I tell myself that I am still young! I took a very fresh and up to date approach looking at 2 current and relevant examples of virtual working, one that had failed  - 'yahoo' and a second that had been successful -'SABRE'.  We did root cause analysis, and built solutions to deal with the actual root causes.  This post is  to share their thinking.


Yahoo's Marrisa Mayer famously asked the employees to come 'back to work,' which by implication said by being at home they were not working.  The initial signs seem good, but as yet we do not know what the long term picture is:

  • Yahoo took over Google with 196.6Mn unique visitors July 2013 (1 month only).
  • 14% hires Boomerangs
  • 16 new products albeit a acquisition spree
  • Share price has gone up from under $15 to $35

SABRE (Travel Technology company includes Travelocity) on the other hand have reported that the implementation of cross functional virtual working has brought better productivity.  There are no public financial figures available because they are privately held.

  • Customer satisfaction in increased from 68% – 85% between 1997 to 2000
  • US marketshare increased 43% - 50% between 1997 to 2000

These two examples show that getting a virtual working environment to work is not simple, and indeed cultural.  The key differentiator between the two companies has been the programs in place to support people from recruitment, training through to tools and leadership.

Outcomes from the Session

When we looked at the root causes it led to these questions:

  • How to manage people you don't see?
  • How to be innovative?
  • How to have a sense of team, and belonging?
  • How to have quality exchanges that enable us to make decisions?
  • How to have and build trust?
  • How to still have the Informal, non verbal and Interactive communication?
  • How to not feel isolated and detached?
  • How to form high quality relationships?
  • How to avoid miscommunication and cross cultural misunderstanding?

Some of the answers that were formed:

  • Have leaders that role model
  • Have leaders that build trust, great communication and engagement
  • Recruit and develop the required leadership capability
  • Recruit and select for the capability and fit to work virtually
  • Train employees with tools and techniques on effective virtual working
  • Communicate the capability to work virtually as a benefit
  • Have a virtual coffee or tea as part of the culture to allow for informal conversations to build relationships, and learn about things outside of a formal agenda.
  • Provide tools for virtual working like you would an effective meeting: Objective, Charter, Plan, Confirmation of what is discussed.
  • Have communication principles. Email headers to indicate tone (e.g. agreeable, not agreeable) and not just the normal Action Required, FYI
  • Have a nominated facilitator for larger meetings
  • Send content prior to a meeting with the rule that it is reviewed in order to focus on decisions
  • Periodic team events
  • Hybrid approach - have face to face meetings depending on ambiguity and the type of change

Key Learnings

1.  My first graduate job was based from home, it's a skill that I am glad is being developed at university.

  • The students will commence on joint teams one half based in Bern and the other in Prague.

2.  The requirement for people to be able to to work from home is on the rise.

  • 37% organisations experienced an increase in requests to work from home. Source SHRM 2013

3. There are cultural patterns with Northern Europe leading the way in home working

  • US 2.9 Million work virtually. Source: Telework Research Network 2011.
  • On average 13% EU working virtually. Leading the way are : Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Sweden Germany 1.5 Million people work virtually. Source: Empirica and UK 1.3 Million work virtually full time. 3.7 Million Part Time. Source: BBC 2011.
  • Asia limited virtual working 6% source: Deloitte 2011

4. The situation and context defines a hybrid of of virtual and face to face (nothing ground breaking but true).

5. A company can all too easily tackle a symptom, rather than the root cause.  Yahoo went for bringing everyone back to work.  It will be interesting in the long-term what that means for their agility and pace to deal with leaner, and virtual competitors.  The students asked the real questions and came up with solutions.

6. Success in virtual working is not easy and requires a strategy, plan and well executed support.  SABRE made this investment with a positive impact on their customer and market share.  I have note seen many companies really tackle this issue.

7. The technology has outpaced initial barriers to virtual working.  The students have been using Adobe Connect, Face Time and Skype. They talked about being able to get people to engage in their expectations for the semester, what they can contribute and aligning goals using tools in Adobe Connect.

Leadership Development via Sense Making

Leadership Development via Sense Making


Leadership Development via Sense Making I came across an article which took the work of Jean Piaget where children develop their understanding of the world through sense making, and then assessed how leaders evolve through sense making. It was truly a great article and gets to the crux of great leadership when we see self awareness, and leaders that create a new sense of meaning to the world.

My interpretation in a nutshell.

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