How innovative technologies are transforming HR
Nicola Columbine, MD and Lead Consultant of Integrative Consulting, an advisory, consulting, training and solutions design company, is a thought-leader, speaker, and published writer on the new world of work. She discusses the role that digital technology will have in transforming human resources functions, and its implications for work and workforce management. Columbine will be speaking at the ITWeb Digital Economy Summit 2017, at the Focus Rooms, Sunninghill, on 7 and 8 November.
"Technology is already playing an instrumental role in transforming traditional human resources functions to automate and augment business support processes. In the future, innovative technologies, from AI to robotics, will play a much greater role in managing both routine HR tasks, as well as enabling greater workforce optimisation," says Columbine.
ITWeb Events: You are presenting on disruption in the HR space specifically. Why is this important in your opinion?
Columbine: The exponential development of digital technology is re-shaping businesses in almost every aspect. HR as a function is being confronted by a plethora of new applications that are set to re-invent or replace people and organisational management traditionally held by HR professionals. They will need to quickly embrace these new technologies to continue to support business and remain relevant in their roles.
Recent landmark research evidences that HR is largely lagging behind the pace of change and at risk of becoming redundant. A sense of urgency is warranted, for HR professionals together with IT and business leaders to understand the impact of technology or face the extinction of their roles and businesses.
ITWeb Events: Why are businesses going digital and what is the first thing that every business should do from an HR perspective before they embark on the digitisation journey?
Columbine: Outside of achieving efficiencies, increasing performance, and reducing costs, businesses are embarking on a digital journey to streamline their operations, become agile, rapidly responsive and more intelligent so that they can compete, innovate, and retain customers.
Irrespective whether we are talking about HR specifically, or a general business focus, a strategic review of the business, its objectives and operating model is an important point of departure.
The evolution of the HR operating model is a given when considering a digitisation journey. An analysis of the businesses' current core capabilities and what structure, systems, processes, people, skills and competencies support it today versus what will be required tomorrow, is critical. This will determine how digital could play a key role in addressing gaps and enable a business to transform for the future, while maintaining stability in the present.
ITWeb Events: What has been your biggest learning curve/challenge in the digital/disruptive space?
Columbine: A one-size-fits-all solution does not address the challenges associated with change and technology is not the panacea. In fact it is often the least relevant remedy. Yet so often businesses make the expensive mistake of investing in digital technology systems before determining what is required from a people and organisational change perspective.
Time and again I see technology-led business transformation programmes and projects that have taken little or no consideration of the requirements and impact that people will have on their success. Often only once implementation commences does the business realise that change management is often a more urgent requirement.
Business leaders must be prudent to understand that technology alone cannot transform business.
ITWeb Events: Why are you presenting at the upcoming Digital Economy Summit?
Columbine: Digital technology is such a major force that it is re-defining the many facets of how we live our lives, conduct our work and spend our leisure time. Digital will continue to alter the foundation of economies and be a catalyst for the transformation of businesses as we know them today.
Digital technology falls largely in the domain of IT. I believe that HR should be given a spotlight on the digital transformation agenda. I hope to inform and inspire business professionals to better understand the evolution of HR technology, its application and integration into business transformation.
ITWeb Events: What is it that you bring to the table and what do you want attendees to take away with them after your presentation?
Columbine: A rich understanding of the new world of work; insight into the role that new technologies will play in managing people, and its implication and requirement for HR transformation