Emergence of Specialist Solutions: Deepak Dhawan
The space of technology in HR is pregnant with possibilities. There are companies who are doing extremely well, but the level of penetration of technology in HR functioning across the country and across the spectrum of companies is relatively less. It is the strength of Indian HR managers that they have been able to find local technical solutions.
Indian companies are also very shy in investing in HR technology. When they buy a technology they expect the HR to manage and make the best use of it. Even IT companies with huge employee bases end up buying an ERP for other reasons and then they look for the most appropriate solutions. HR technology in India has lagged behind certainly.. Putting it simplistically, the world is divided into 2-3 parts as far as technology is concerned. There are the integrated solutions, which for a long time did not meet the requirements of the global heads of HR. That is when collaborative systems came up like Sum Total. These were sophisticated and met the needs of the global heads of HR.
For a very long time, the traditional ERP platform struggled to meet that need and then the specialist solutions emerged. The specialist solutions have begun to make an entry whereas not many of them are sourced out of India. There are examples of companies at a certain level of sophistication where you are beginning to get specialist solutions in talent management, recruitment, performance management, learning and development and companies are investing in these independently and separately from the main ERP platform. The HR modules of PeopleSoft and Oracle have also gone through a rapid change; they have all taken a step forward in terms of their own strategy. For example, SAP acquiring Success Factors. SAP itself is making reasonably large changes in their modules. Main ERP systems are either trying to acquire or upgrade their platforms. Some of these companies are becoming large and huge and that is mirrored in India as well. . Their attempt is to come to a situation where they are able to offer a full function ERP rather than just a specialist. At a broad level, this is the kind of a dynamic tension that has been happening. The market also is beginning to become sensitive to specialist tools, which are more productivity tools, but they are technology based. The third is the plethora of end-to-end people management systems, which started out of being the automation requirement of the SME segment and have moved in terms of acceptability. Those offer recruitment, attendance modules, learning and development module, etc. All these are available on cloud. They are beginning to push to the medium sector and some of them are becoming large as well. Their pricing is per head count and is reasonably good value for money and unless you have very sophisticated requirements in terms of competency, they are reasonably good to meet your up and down HR and administrative requirements. The proliferation of these solutions over the last 6-7 years gives you the confidence that even the SMEs are ready to take that investment and are beginning to understand that this is an investment worth making. This is a welcome change. There are also technology solutions in the domain area and an emerging area in business intelligence is talent management.