2019 was an interesting year when we saw an increasing confluence of humans and machines working alongside in an attempt to foster workplace efficiencies. In the year 2020, the complementary role of technology will be the runtime shaping all of what we do leading to the creation of new operating philosophies, redefining how organizations create, capture, share and deliver value.
An expanding scope for technology in organizational effectiveness
While it is a well–recognized fact that automation is a business imperative, it is also becoming critical to achieve enhanced efficiency, improve productivity, higher quality, while realizing significant cost savings. Consequently, progressive IT Service partners are providing clients with support in areas such as robotic process automation, ML, conversational bots, and IoT. Futuristic automation platforms are being introduced which can integrate, orchestrate, automate with different Neuro-Linguistic Programing (NLP) engines, and create chatbots for other businesses. A new age technology intervention we saw evolving during the year is a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) framework for BPO and IT operations. RPA is a technology in which bots (robots) replicate the manual work done by humans. It is code-free and does not require critical programing skills to modify pre-coded bots. These bots are being increasingly deployed by companies in various business functions (HR, Finance), IT processes (report generation, data manipulation), and infrastructure processes (deployment) that have helped save hundreds of man-hours and increase overall efficiency.
In the context of HR priorities, 2020 is being seen as a landmark year with a lot of focus on emerging technologies like Hyperautomation, blockchain, AI security, distributed cloud, autonomous things and their complementary role for the domain.
Humans and Machines have started to work alongside
We have been a witness to an evolving digital workforce taking over the routine, non-cognitive tasks, thereby freeing up employees to focus on tasks that require higher-level human cognition and people interaction. With such complementing interventions, human capital now has a large bandwidth to better engage with customers, think strategically and build on problem-solving capabilities to advance business interests.
The function which is significantly benefitted from technology intervention is Human Resources where we saw organizations making an extensive use of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Blockchain etc. in order to derive operational efficiencies and keep pace with the VUCA world.
The Indian government recently announced an outlay of Rs 436 crore for skilling 4 lakh professionals in futuristic areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity over the next three years. It is very evident that the complementary roles of humans and machines will get further pronounced in 2020 and such a thrust from the government will keep the rhetoric in sharp focus.
Use of technology in the realm of HR is however not a new phenomenon as organizations have been using platforms such as performance management systems, ERPs like SAP and homegrown platforms from time to time.
Evolving applications of technology in HR
Applications of technology was manifested in several work streams of human resources like recruitment, background checks, productivity, learning & development, collaboration, wellness and performance management. Very interestingly, we saw AI being used in the background checking process of prospective employees. Verifications pertaining to educational qualifications and previous employments need thorough scrutiny and being a manual process, it is tedious in nature. With the design, development and deployment of bots, organizations are now able to cohesively work with various applications and unify the collated data.
2020: A Millennium transformation
According to Adobe Future of Work Survey , people are increasingly choosing technology over perks. Respondents said that technology, more than other flashier perks, is the most important factor in keeping them happy at work (81 percent) followed by access to state-of-the-art technology that helps people get their jobs done. Employees who said their company’s technology is “ahead of the curve” feel twice as creative, motivated and valued than those who say their company is “behind the times.” Yet only 1 in 4 employers is viewed as “ahead of the curve” when it comes to technology.
So, the answer is clear. An enabling technology backbone is the future of Workplace and will become the mainstream consideration not only for the CHRO but for the entire C-Suite. 2020 will stand witness to a millennium transformation and progressive organizations have geared up well to embrace the paradigm shift