Article: The new natural resource-Data

Talent Acquisition

The new natural resource-Data

Dilpreet Singh, VP & HR Head, India/Southasia, IBM, says increased connectivity can lead to greater access to talent
The new natural resource-Data

It is estimated that by 2016 more than one-fourth of the world’s applications will be available in the cloud


What is the size of the SMAC industry in India and globally? How much budget has IBM allotted to it?

Today, every discussion about changes in technology, business and society must begin with data. In its exponentially increasing volume, velocity and variety, data is becoming a new natural resource. We are looking at about 2.5 gigabytes of data generated every day. Audio, video, sensor data, social media data to name a few. For businesses, all these represent new areas to mine for insights. And, because of this, the market is going to be enormous.

The market for data and analytics is estimated at $187 billion by 2015. To capture this growth potential, IBM has built the world’s broadest and deepest capabilities in Big Data and analytics—both technology and expertise. We have invested more than $24 billion, including $17 billion of gross spend on more than 30 acquisitions. Two-thirds of IBM Research’s work is now devoted to data, analytics and cognitive computing. IBM has earned 4,000 analytics patents. 57 per cent of companies now expect to devote more than a quarter of their IT spending to these new systems of engagement by 2016, nearly twice the level of 12 months ago.

Earlier this year, we launched the IBM Watson Group, a $1 billion investment and an ecosystem of partners and developers that we expect to scale rapidly. At the same time that industries and professions are being remade by data, the information technology infrastructure of the world is being transformed by the emergence of cloud computing ie the delivery of IT and business processes as digital services. It is estimated that by 2016 more than one-fourth of the world’s applications will be available in the cloud and 85 per cent of new software is now being built for cloud.

To meet growing demand for greater speed and legal requirements for compliance and data residency, IBM is aggressively expanding its global cloud footprint. We currently have 25 data centers globally and the new $1.2 billion investment announced in January.

IBM is leading by example in building modern enterprise systems of engagement and learning. Our social platform, Connections has 200,000 communities. We have strengthened our already clear leadership in enterprise-class social business and in security. Our acquisitions in social include Kenexa, which helps companies use behavioral science not just to connect with people, but to understand and build lasting engagement with them. And we have made a dozen acquisitions in security, building a capability of more than, 3,000 patents and 25 labs worldwide.

What are the key technologies that organizations need to adopt to transform the business? Will the business strategy henceforth have a digital angle in it?

Individuals and businesses alike are embracing the digital revolution. Social networks and digital devices are being used to engage government, businesses and civil society as well as friends and family. People are using mobile, interactive tools to determine whom to trust, where to go and what to buy. The challenge for business is how fast and how far to go on the path to digital transformation.

SMAC is going to be the leading disruptor in this decade in terms of businesses and industries. What kind of effect it will have on the job front?

The market will see a major change in the skills required. Increased connectivity can extend greater access to talent literally all over the planet. A new form of labour pool and market where individuals, project teams, or companies from all over the world will bid on high-value tasks and opportunities. This new dynamic will not only increase the efficiency of organizations, it will also change the notion of what “managing” means. It will also create competitive pressures for organizations to embrace global languages and cultural awareness as a way to appeal to the most talented workers. In short, we will have to learn to work smart in this new market place.

How will SMAC affect the larger talent market and what are its repercussions? How will SMAC aid in talent mobility and talent migration?

As we have repeatedly heard ever since the confluence of CAMS, data managers will remain in high demand as will people with skills to manage a diverse workforce. The flatter and more networked the workplace becomes, the more essential it will be for people to continually build their skillset and maintain a level of specialization that enables them to stand out in a crowd of talent. Social networks will become the production line.

Today, leading companies aren’t just changing the way they work; they’re using smarter solutions to reinvent it entirely. Because when people are more engaged, inspired and fulfilled by their work, they can be more productive and innovative—and ultimately create more value for the companies that employ them. In the past, companies relied on the intuition of managers to bring out the best in their workers. Today, they can use advanced analytics to find their best performers, understand what motivates them and use those insights to help other employees become more engaged in their work as well. By using social research tools to define its culture, the company can attract the right candidates, hire the right people and engage existing employees to drive performance. Cloud based delivery of software applications, for example, can help companies consolidate disparate talent management systems.

Let me give you an example of one of the technologies we have at IBM. Sharing expertise connects IBMers, fuels innovation, and delivers a distinctive client experience. With more than 400,000 employees at IBM, it can be difficult to find the expert you need on the spot - whether you're getting off a plane and rushing to a client meeting, or sitting in your office trying to find the right person with a particular skill.

The IBM Expertise locator app is a new mobile app (available on iOS and Android) that helps IBMers worldwide connect with each other to solve client's problems more quickly. It flattens the hierarchy and expands personal networks by increasing the visibility of experts across IBM, in every business unit and geography.

Launched in April 2013, the app brings together social, mobile and analytics. It searches data sources across IBM – resumes, skills people list on their intranet page, blogs, presentations and other files people post – as well as social tags IBMers use to tag themselves and others. IBMers can search, text, email and call other IBMers directly from the app from wherever they are, right from their phone.

Are HR teams prepared for SMAC? Is it changing the nature of HR's job? How is SMAC changing the prevalent HR processes and systems?

I think HR team need to change and do so more quickly. Social ways of working harness the explosive growth of mobile, cloud and big data, and serve as the foundation for effective employee and customer engagement. There is no turning back from this emerging phenomenon. When employees and customers connect, access essential information and share their best ideas, new processes and more authentic engagement start to define the organization’s brand and competitive edge.

Many HR leaders have been instrumental in not only adopting these technologies but facilitating its use across. Today, IBM views itself as one of the most prolific users of social networking in the industry with one of the largest corporate-wide communities on social media sites. Right now every IBMer has a social network page as well as access to thousands of internal information sources, blogs, communities, wikis and universal instant messaging.

And the commitment to being the preeminent social business doesn’t end there. Looking forward IBM is working toward a future in which all IBMers will be rated by their peers and profession, based on how good they are at sharing their knowledge, how good they are at making it useful, consumable and how well they contribute to the community and to our clients’ needs and experience.

Our social business initiatives have had a profound impact on IBM's business processes and transformation and this will continue. Here are just a few examples:


Human Resources utilize social media for tech-enabled recruiting, employee education, sales training and leadership development. For example, IBM relies on social media for leadership development from an employee's first day on the job. IBM's Succeeding@IBM makes new hires part of a social group for 6-12 months so they can get up to speed more quickly with other new hires, they network and acclimate more quickly

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Technology, #BestPractices

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