Article (July-2018)


Digitization & changing business environment

Dr. Upinder Dhar & Dr. Santosh Dhar

Designation : -   Vice Chancellor & Dean - Faculty of Doctoral Studies and Research

Organization : -  Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya, Indore


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Digitization is the buzz word these days. It is the 'in' thing of today just as thirty years ago Industries spoke of automating the processes. The digital economy is the new productivity platform considered as the third industrial revolution which is expected to generate new market opportunities, jobs and seamless business opportunities. Organizations are forced to adopt newly developed tools to remain in digital space and compete. Present initiatives are in both the Government sector and in Institutions of advanced research and Industry.
Digital technologies have radically changed the society and the experiences at work. Technology change is everywhere, driven by mobile devices, sensors, location awareness and soon wearable. Hours are spent interacting with digital apps. Digital devices closely monitor, and influence the decisions by suggestions and recommendations driven by analytics and behavioral economics. Today, there are more than 7 billion mobile devices in the world, and more than 40 percent of all Internet traffic is driven by these devices.
Digital HR and SMAC Technologies
Digitalization is drastically changing the inner workings of HR, and more specifically, in talent acquisition and talent management. It has created opportunities resulting in a more engaging and personalized experience for both prospective candidates and employees through the use of digital touch points. This is a great benefit but with great responsibility. Candidate and employee data needs to be handled very carefully while adhering to privacy regulations in different countries. With so much personal data, recognizing the importance of data protection and data security is crucial. Technological security standards while regularly checking the security of certification processes is critical while introducing new technologies into the organization.
There are number of innovative new technologies, tools and systems for HR which affects organizations. The HR technology industry received more than $2 billion in investment capital in 2015 (according to CB Insights research), fueling a growing ecosystem of new tools for recruitment, performance management, learning, wellness, feedback and employee engagement. This technology will change the way people are managed, forcing HR to stay vigilant about the new methods to get work done. This new digital life (and workplace) is forcing to rethink HR from top to bottom : how to design programs, which tools to use, and how to roll out and communicate solutions. Digital employee communication solutions like one-minute, fast, animated videos are used by organizations to communicate new benefit programs, wellness programs and other employee benefits. Curated video learning system lets employees recommend content to others.
Different digital HR experiences have enormous influence on the workforce. Digital HR requires fluency with mobile apps, design thinking, video, behavioral economics and the use of embedded analytics. HR applications are to be thought of as "platforms" and not "systems or programs" - and to measure success by the rate of adoption, not through massive change management programs. The tremendous shift from traditional licensed HR software to modern, cloud - based systems is going to increase with the coming times. Today, there are over 150 million employees using cloud - based HR systems around the world (just by adding up the users of the top HR and talent management software providers) and this number will rapidly grow in the years ahead. As HR apps move to mobile devices, the shift will be to mobile platforms next.
Cloud - based systems for payroll and core HRMS, performance and talent management, online learning, employee engagement, wellness and employee communications are easy to buy and use. External recruitment and job posting providers like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glass door, Career builder, and others can spread and expand the recruitment. The cloud - based systems, which have now been in the market for five to seven years, are now mature, trusted and enterprise class bringing amazing new technology and functionality to the market. Yet HR teams remain far behind in deploying mobile solutions. Fewer than 20 percent of companies deploy their HR and employee productivity solutions on mobile apps today. Designing mobile apps and considering the end-to-end user experience are new disciplines for HR, combining design thinking with apps, video, social and mobile technologies.
Digital HR, which brings together social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies, represents a new platform for improving the employee and candidate experience. With the founding of Workday in 2005, the acquisition of Success Factors by SAP in 2011, and the purchase of Taleo by Oracle in 2012, HR remains at the forefront of the move to digital and cloud at the workplace. While vendors are now delivering solutions, companies need to build their own integrated digital HR strategies and programs.
The barriers between work and personal life are breaking through the use of mobile devices. Mobile has become the channel of preference for employees, giving organizations an opportunity to encourage adoption of mobile HR technologies to the extent rarely seen with traditional HR platforms. Integrated apps can manage time and attendance automatically; pinpoint every appointment and meeting location; deliver on-demand video learning to participants in a new project; send messages to a team when someone is running late for a meeting; monitor stress levels and recommend when it is time to take a break; and even review plans and offer intelligent recommendations.
This is the new vision for digital HR - integrating SMAC technologies to redefine the employee experience, make work easier, real - time, more productive and rewarding, and improving work - life balance. HR teams are now rethinking upon the way people work and trying to add digital tools to make these solutions better. The impact of design thinking may be most profoundly experienced with digital "appification." Rather than building an on boarding system, a learning system, a performance management system, and collaboration and coaching system, design thinking brings these solutions together in seamless apps that improve employee experiences across the board. These functions if moved to apps in a thoughtful way, HR can receive 10 times as many responses from employees compared to traditional systems.
Data quality can improve. Leading companies across all industries are embracing this trend. DuPont, for instance, embarked on a major project to replace, simplify and combine all of its HR and learning systems into one integrated portal. Rather than offering a traditional "self - service" application, the company developed a streamlined interface that has improved productivity. Telstra, one of Australia's largest telecommunications companies, is using an app to transform its first-year employee experience. By using design thinking, studying the behavior and frustrations of first-year employees, and creating personas, Telstra developed an integrated on boarding program that dramatically improved employee engagement and retention. Despite impressive results at these and other companies, many HR departments have yet to embrace this transformation.
Today, only 7 percent of companies use mobile technology for coaching, 8 percent for time scheduling, 10 percent for performance management, 13 percent for recruiting and candidate management, and 21 percent for leave requests. This new world of digital HR is arriving fast, but, only 38 percent of companies are even thinking about it and only 9 percent are fully ready. Nearly three - quarters of companies, or 72 percent, believe this is an important priority and 32 percent define it as very important, so it will be a major area of opportunity for HR in near future. Digital HR, however, is more than just building apps. It encompasses developing a new mobile platform with a wide range of apps built with cloud and analytics technology behind the scenes. This platform can be used for hundreds of apps : from time and attendance to employee wellness, to recruitment, collaboration, goal - setting and more.
Learning and Building New Capabilities
The digital enterprise and digital HR are a revolutionary leap forward, not an incremental step. While the replacement of legacy systems into the cloud is a major part of the transition, so is the adoption of design thinking, integrated mobile app design, and real - time HR operations. The principles of behavioral economics, the use of analytics, and constant iteration on design also underpin these efforts. To succeed in this new paradigm, HR teams will have to partner with IT, adopt design thinking, use integrated analytics, and analyze vendor solutions carefully. It represents a new world for HR technology and design teams, one that will open up new career opportunities and transform the impact HR has on the business.
Reliance Jio, the 4G telecommunications and digital services company headquartered in Mumbai and owned by Reliance Industries, began its employee launch of digital telecom services in early 2016. The company's vision is to provide video - quality digital mobile Internet service to 1.2 billion customers across all 29 states and 7 union territories within India. For several years, the company's focus was on building the network infrastructure; in late 2014, the focus turned to starting up the business operations and recruiting and on boarding employees across the country.
As one of the largest start-ups in the world, Jio's leadership crafted a strategy suited to the business growth, scale, and the current state of HR technology by designing a mobile-first, cloud-first, digital-powered approach to Jio's HR strategy and launch. The business goals for Jio are to build a national 4G network across 18,000 cities and towns in India to serve hundreds of millions of customers; deploy the largest start-up 4G network in the world; hire and manage a workforce of 50,000; and orchestrate a national network of hundreds of thousands of retailers and distributors.
HR strategy has always been based on an employee value proposition to support candidates, employees and business managers with an experience that would be easy to use, quick and safe. The HR program was digital-first; it allowed recruiters, candidates, employees, business managers, and HR staff to complete HR tasks and reporting by leveraging real - time apps and secure, cloud - based services using mobile devices. Second, all HR processes, policies, and technologies (including SAP and a series of cloud apps such as were integrated into an HR platform to support the apps, reporting, and HR operations. Third, with the goal of end-to-end digitization and real - time HR, the company is challenging itself to eliminate its shared services organization.
Core activities were automated and streamlined to be conducted, reviewed and approved in hours (in some cases, minutes) and not days. The HR platform is being run by an HR operations centre tasked with clearing all inquiries and exceptions on the day they are received while working with HR centres of excellence and HR IT to continuously improve the platform. Further, the HR platform and HR operations centre have been designed and built using an agile approach that included multiple releases of both the systems and operations centre. This agile approach has enabled the HR process, policy, HR IT and business teams to learn and build capabilities in the new digital HR environment.