Frank Ricciardi is the Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific for Cornerstone OnDemand. He is based in Hong Kong and leads Cornerstone’s global growth strategy in the APJ region. You can also view the complete video.
In the interview with People Matters, he talks about the emerging trends in HR technology and its adoption. Here is the excerpt from the same.
Ques: You were among the first people who started the Cornerstone OnDemand business in the APAC region. Tell us more about your journey and the challenges you faced.
Before I joined Cornerstone, I was management cloud provider and I have observed HR technology evolving in the past 20 years.
I have been with Cornerstone for over 13 years. Prior to my current role, I was responsible for the global portfolio of clients and was measured on retention of clients. There, I got the opportunity to see what our clients were doing with our technology.
I think the biggest challenge is hiring the best-fit people at that juncture of a startup and making sure they are aligned to your firm’s vision.
Four and a half years ago, when Cornerstone decided to enter Asia Pacific, we were most concerned about hiring the right people.
Ques: How has the HR Technology space evolved over the last few years?
When I entered the HR technology space, it was already being delivered over the internet. When the first cloud technology services came in the market, they were intended to support specific HR business processes. Very soon we realized that these technology services could be connected because the business processes were connected, and the common denominator across all these processes were people. So, companies started to integrate these technologies in the backend.
It did not affect the user experience much and application could be sold as a single platform to the consumers. And ultimately while aggregating all these technologies, we realised we had lots of data, Big Data. And that is where we are now; the evolution of Big Data.
Ques: You have previously talked about how technology evolved from being process centric to being customer centric. Could you elaborate on this?
In the early 2000s, Cornerstone began to focus on employee interaction with our technology. From a process centric approach, which is simply automating and integrating technology, we wanted our clients to derive real value from technology, which is true engagement of the employee. It forced us to redesign our software keeping the employee at the center, and that he should use technology but not out of compliance with the company policy. Also, the technology, most importantly, should help them be successful in their jobs.
Ques: How have the Indian firms embraced HR Technology?
The consumption of technology in India is quite aggressive. Case in point, Cornerstone operates in 8 countries and India has a disproportionate number of buyers of the unified talent management solution, which is part of our offerings.
Indian firms are willing to invest in technology which would help improve employee experience, and they understand that technology would support them and help them be successful.
Ques: What are some of the myths and misconceptions that you hear from your clients?
One of the misconceptions is that the data outside the firewall is less secure. To this, I ask my prospective client: if you had a hundred million rupees or dollars, would you take that money and keep it under your bed or would you put in a bank. And Cornerstone is like a bank, which has 31 million users on a single platform and is far more secure than individual installations.
Another instance is of clients who are buying cloud technology for the first time. They do not understand that there is no need for customization at their end. The cloud-based software is highly configurable and suitable for a diverse group of clients.
Ques: In which direction do you see organizations heading when it comes to implementing cloud technology?
Cornerstone struggled with this question for many years, and so we looked at all the misconceptions, myths and pain-points and the shift in expectations. Then we built a client success framework, wherein we incorporated all the learning, to build a platform which ensured success for our clients. And this is the direction, we believe, in which we see our clients headed.
It also helps that we understand that success is dependent on where you are in the client journey. If it is the implementation of technology, then success is different as compared to using technology for the purpose of optimization, then success is different. Compiling all of this, we have created a well-defined and well-articulated package, which we present to the client. That immediately sets the tone for success for the clients.
Ques: What is new and exciting that is coming from Cornerstone?
Cornerstone has been making big investments in the area of artificial intelligence, machine learning. We have a huge amount of data with us. There are data scientists, who are writing algorithms using insights which are extremely powerful for everyone in the organization, and we have created a solution called Cornerstone Insight, which is our big data machine learning capability. This particular solution can help you find matches for your succession pipeline, which you would not have known about in your organization.
Apart from the above, Cornerstone has been a specialist and focused on talent management and we believe that bringing together the administrative side and the business side into a single application is incredibly important, which is why we are building a talent driven HCN platform.
Thirdly, we are about to launch a solution which would enable employees to engage with content in newer ways. It is not just the organization’s responsibility to provide content, employees too play a big part in it, especially when they interact with the world through internet. So, the next big thing for Cornerstone is to help employees do that.