Article: Taking digital HR to the next level

HR Technology

Taking digital HR to the next level

Krishna GV Giri, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Adrenalin, on digital transformation of the HR function and his vision for the company
Taking digital HR to the next level

Krishna GV Giri, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Adrenalin has been involved in strategy consulting of companies like Accenture, Mitchell Madison Group (by McKinsey and Company Partners), IBM and Andersen Consulting. He has led many transformational projects globally and his areas of expertise range from Strategic Planning, Business, ICT Strategy, Transformation and Process Improvement in diverse industries, both in the Private and Public Sectors. Krishna is also the co-founder of Zolog Marketplace and the Principal Advisor to the Chairman, Intellect Design Arena Ltd.

"From personal perspective, I always questioned as to why India couldnít create technology giants like Facebook, Apple or Google? We have our tech superstars working in these companies. There are a lot of innovations happening in India but they are not as visible as they should be... We need companies  that encourage creativity, a work environment and funding ecosystem that promotes innovation to create one large enterprise legacy for Asia at least, if not the world.

I am trying to see how I can bring the culture of high performance, creativity and productivity metrics to reward talent in Adrenalin. I feel there is a lot of potential at Adrenalin to grow because 14 years is a long time since the company has been there and we have seven hundred thousand users using the product across 65+ countries with hundred thousand global users on cloud. Itís huge. And I think the reason I am here is to find out how we can take it to the next level? – Krishna GV Giri

How do you think businesses are transforming digitally? What do you think is the role that HR should play to help businesses transform? 

Digital is a broadly used term these days and it has a number of components in it, which cannot be simplified. Whether it is a small or a big enterprise, one of the key mandates that HR needs to drive is to leverage all human capital within the organization to take it on a path of transformation. Businesses are getting disrupted and trying to change, but you cannot transform yourself unless you have the fundamental backbone and back-office processes in place. When I say backbone, I mean very simple HR processes – right processes & policies etc., the entire framework has to be in place before you undertake the transformational journey. Once you cross that barrier, you can then look at Digital HR that combines processes with design thinking. The next evolution for HR will be an ‘agile HR’ across all forward-looking organizations. 

In your view, what are the drivers of HR technology implementation? How much of it is about solving a business problem vis-à-vis a following an expected path?

Just following what others do is not the right starting point as every business and every company operates in its own context. CHRO’s need to derive the benefits of technology investments, but for that, they should be clear about the problems they are trying to solve. Once CHRO’s link business problems with the benefits attained from technology, they will realize the value of it. From the employee, the manager to the CHRO or the CIO, all of them need to relate to the power of HR technology and digital transformation to drive the business. Awareness of the immediate benefits of an agile HR and its impact on not only survival of businesses but also transforming the business is very important.

You mentioned that technology investment should be contextual to the business problem organizations are trying to solve and should also be aligned to the organization strategy and maturity level. What is your advice for different kinds of companies looking ahead to be at the fore-front of HR excellence?

Big corporations tend to go in for a complex and expensive large-scale ERP technologies and many raise a question on the ROI. By the time the large ERP applications are rolled out it takes a minimum of 2 to 3 years. I think there is 7 years burn out every firm goes through. After the 7th year, they get tired of it. The initial 3 years are gone in selecting and evaluating the product. So by the time technology is rolled, it has already taken 2 to 3 years and new technologies are already available to be leveraged. Then it is time for its use, which is roughly about 7 years. And by this time, it is already 10 years and technology gets obsolete along with the thinking and the implementation of it. Therefore, most companies look at ripping and replacing the product and start all over again. My recommendation to such organizations would be to not go back and implement one big complex solution again. Break it into pieces and create more agility as the technology selected 10 years back is bound to be different today. Times have changed a lot and so has the required investment. Get a new technology but pick up a real digital HR technology which is transformative, simple and can be fully adapted in any country much faster.

Once CHROs link business problems with the benefits attained from technology, they will realize the value of it.

On the other side, we have small companies that are growing fast and realizing the need of creating the people foundation. They should not sit on paperwork but should directly jump into technology and create processes along with that technology. We can leapfrog the implementation by becoming agile in implementation as well.

Adrenalin works with all company sizes – we have large multinational enterprises using our product in 65+ countries and we also work with SMEs. The shift this year is that Adrenalin is all set to focus on SME clients for which we have developed a new product called ‘works4u’ that is essentially a ready-to-use solution in a box created on the basis of all the best practices of our work over many years. Typically in a small company, a Finance or Operation would be doing HR, procurement and the HR would also be doing the same thing. So this product helps them to alleviate all the pain. It helps them to address the labor department issues, compliance issues, reimbursement issues etc. It simply helps them execute business without any hassles and removes people dependencies 

Your vision for Adrenalin is to create a truly home-grown best-in-class tech product – from India to the world. What ingredients will be critical for you to achieve this vision?

Strong leadership is the number one ingredient; a team is only as fast as its leader. The second element is the quality of our talent. Third is product innovation, and fourth is branding and positioning. I want our clients to feel excited about using Adrenalin product. The vision of creating a world-class product from India is very energizing and while it will be a long journey, we just had a fantastic first quarter and in the next 4 quarters, we will really focus on  re-energizing the brand and focus on achieving our goals . We have one of the greatest mobile apps in the market today. What we want to do is enable HR to digitally transform the HR function. We want to do this transformation for our clients, both internal and external and create awareness about the importance of digital HR

Tell us more about your leadership style and how you create alignment in your teams now that the organization itself is undergoing a transformation?

As a leader, my expectations from the team go much beyond mere numbers. There are other things that are critical for the achievement of our business goals. I strongly believe success of any organization largely depends on collaboration, teamwork and having the right attitude. When collaborating, we do not work in silos, we work with one goal for the firm not just “my individual” growth alone. We collaborate together for the growth of the firm. Most of the times, we see that we collude more than collaborate. We need teamwork to get the job done. Collaboration is mature, forward thinking and inclusive. To quote Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” 

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Topics: HR Technology, Technology

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