Given the volatility and uncertainty, every aspect of the business is being questioned and re-examined. As HR, we have consistently faced the question, “How does HR add value in a business?” Adding to the dilemma, the advent of new technologies have added pressure on HR to rethink and reinvent the traditional ways of working. Going digital is not a choice anymore but should be a core part of any business. Having a digital strategy now is a game of survival.
Srikanth Balachandran, Global Chief Human Resources of Airtel states, “A digital roadmap is a key to HR transformation in an organization.” Having a digital roadmap will enable your organizations to navigate through the digital touch-points. While having a digital roadmap is imperative to fully grasp the purpose of advanced technology applications and drive the business forward, Balachandran stresses that we need to be equally sure about what we are trying to achieve out of our digital strategy. One needs to visualize and envisage the outcomes that they want to achieve out from your digital roadmap.
During the CHRO Prime Series Roundtable on “Transformation in the age of digital imperatives, Srikanth Balachandran shared the three outcomes that you should achieve out from your digital roadmap:
Balachandran shares that one of the critical objectives of your digital roadmap should be elevating organization’s productivity. Hyper-productive teams can be defined as the teams that leverage right technologies to improve their output and optimize the business cost and resources. Automation of workplace will eliminate redundant tasks and allow your workforce to deliver fast. The companies need to leverage bleeding-edge technologies like AI, Machine Learning, and Bots for enhancing the productivity of the workforce.
E.g. Alibaba’s speech recognition technology automatically records voice messages of customer service representatives into text format and structure the content and key messages to allow for monitoring of customer service quality, analysis of consumer sentiment and risk control. The company’s AI also aids sellers by helping them create product-buyer matches on personalized virtual storefronts to improve the chances of selling their products. The recommendations are based on buyers’ purchase history, background, and location, among others. With the use of technology and automation, Alibaba claimed to boost the productivity level by 20 percent.
Hyper-Connected teams are teams that define work as accomplished by employees regardless of their physical location through the use of communications and information technologies. According to a study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, the increase in connected work has directly contributed to greater business agility, more collaboration, and increase in productivity.
According to a recent Accenture Survey, digital leaders spend almost twice as much as laggards on implementing the Connected Industrial Workforce- a human-machine centric workforce. The research suggested that by the year 2020, a Connected Industrial Workforce could help to unlock as much as €500 million in profitability for an automotive manufacturer with annual revenues of €50 billion.
Balachandran reasons, the future will belong to the organizations who will embrace the diversity- The combination of Human+Machine! The outcome of your digital roadmap should ensure a hyper-connected team characterized by the ability of your organization to create an ecosystem which connects employees, customers, robots, and teams.
A century ago, the average life expectancy of a firm in the Fortune 500 was about 75 years, according to Deloitte. Today, corporate extinctions average fewer than 15 years, and their lifespans continue to decline. Further, Gartner predicts that only 30% of digital innovation strategies will be successful in the coming years.
The outcome of your digital roadmap should empower you to come up with innovative solutions for your customers. Balachandran says that the innovation of your organization will rest on how effectively you can allow humans and machines to collaborate and innovate. E.g. Google Brain is a deep learning artificial intelligence research project at Google. It combines open-ended machine learning research with system engineering and Google-scale computing resources. The aim of Google Brain is to make machines smarter so that they can learn from their own features, and use data and computation efficiently. He also shares an example of Intelligent Tutoring Systems(ITS) where machines can teach human to become skilled.
Hyper-Innovative Teams will flourish in an ecosystem that will enable both humans and machines to learn from each other and innovate.
While you have visualized the outcomes of your digital roadmap, it is imperative that you even achieve these outcomes. Balachandran shares Digital success requires a digital culture. While a robust digital strategy is critical, you need a culture conducive to its execution. Your digital journey will succeed in the long term only if you have the right culture, correct mindset, and desired behaviors. He further shares, “Employee empowerment is crucial. Give employees access to online tools which will help in building a team of better, more productive workers. Further, it will enable employees to take ownership and directly impact business.”