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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 Design and update outdated and outmoded target operating models, with what roles are really needed for organisation success. 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.

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.



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