Technology is a basket of techniques, which make performance of tasks more efficient and effective. Discussions on leveraging technology in HR should be taken up in the context of sectors, simply for the reason that the issues that confront the manufacturing sector are vastly different from the ones that confront the service industry. Two dominant talents pools that exist in the manufacturing sector, given the regulatory environment, are the workmen and the management, unlike other sectors like service, where there is no such dichotomy.
As the economy evolves and ‘institutional voids’ are eliminated, enhancing the quality of markets and transactions, the business environment is changing. This change is forcing firms to start focusing on doing what they do best and outsource the rest to other players. So, value chains are being remodeled, generating efficiencies and responsiveness. This is generating unprecedented value creating wealth. The domain of HR activity has shifted to aligning internal people process shrinking boundaries while learning to manage across the boundary. This is forcing HR managers to understand company competency - what we are good at doing and decide what can be outsourced and what is that which cannot and must not be outsourced.
All routine processes like payroll, record keeping and compliance management are something that we see outsourced increasingly. The strategic HR processes, such as aligning people actions to organizational strategy, developing people to have critical competencies, acquiring talent that is optimal fit are such processes that organizations would normally loathe to outsource given the fact that these are basis of competitiveness. There are numerous IT based products in the market that support the routine HR processes, but none of the products that are created for strategic processes have the ideal fit with specific needs of an organization. These need to be significantly modified to align to specific needs. Doesn’t the fundamental principle of management state that anything that is generic can never be the basis of competitive advantage? Therefore, in terms of technology management, we have leveraged SAP platform for some of our critical HR processes. SAP was a natural choice as a lot of people information already resided there. So, processes such as Performance management system, bases KRA cascading and reward management and enterprise learning solutions have used the SAP platform. Leveraging the latter platform has been a little tardy, but very effective. There are other small systems that we continue to create with our IT teams, but we do not use any standard system and even when we may leverage standard platforms, we significantly modify them to align them to our specific needs.