Can HR transition to the mobile platform?
The dotcom transition came and tedious processes were swept away in a wave of online convenience. The world is now on the threshold of a new revolution—the mobile revolution—that is sweeping away the last vestiges of a very physically transactional world. A number of customer facing platforms have already gone mobile, be it banking, shopping, travel, taxes etc. and the smartphone generation is a happy lot. Both things material and monetary are now at the fingertips of a generation that believes in the mantra, ‘change is constant’, and moves on from one instant to the next very moment.
The world of HR is not insulated from this transition. Today, the familiarity with technology is instantaneous and the younger generation is already acquainted with many facets of technology in their personal space. And this personal technology experience gets translated into the workplace. To ensure a seamless and inclusive atmosphere, organizations are feeling the need to use interfaces like mobile which enable access, flexibility and social collaboration. The transition to the mobile platform is bringing greater people involvement along with increased productivity by simplifying standard company processes and bringing a contemporary flair to everyday work.
We are in the early stages of a massive replacement of legacy HR software. The CedarCrestone survey found that 15 percent of the companies want to replace them in the next year (vs. 14 percent who want to upgrade). Among these companies 40 percent want a cloud-based system.
What this means is that enterprise softwares have to radically adapt. LinkedIn and Prudential say that more than 50 percent of their candidates now find jobs through their mobile devices. LinkedIn executives have highly appreciated their mobile sponsored jobs, Work With Us, by saying “we don’t even see mobile as a new platform any more, it is the platform.”
Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, in a recent conversation with Forbes said, “Vendors tell us that mobile application development now leads application development on the web. At LinkedIn, the development of the ‘two tap to apply’ mobile recruiting application later led the company to develop a ‘two click to apply’ web version.”
Other market leaders are driving this change as well. SuccessFactors’ new Headlines application, Jam, and many of its more innovative new collaboration solutions are built on mobile and the other pieces are added later to the web. Workday has gone fully mobile and SumTotal, PeopleFluent and Cornerstone have also invested heavily in it.
The HR industry is excited to integrate the mobile with its core operations and is welcoming it with open arms. Swaminathan Santhanam, CEO at Adrenalin eSystems Limited says that, “When HR technology is mobile, it helps the executives to take decisions on workflows on the move, look at key performance indicators and identify high performing and unsung heroes via social and mobile technologies. Mobile technology helps managers view real time reports on their people, handle notifications and approval actions and access their direct report information from their mobile and take necessary decisions in the interest of business. For the employee, they get to see their pay slips/tax dues on their mobile and do self-services like filing time sheets, applying for leave as they move in or out of office and also get to know about their colleagues through the employee directories available in the organization. They can also review their goals and see their career growth plans. These do reduce considerable transaction time for HR or managers. Some of our customers have already adopted these technologies which goes on to show that HR function is beginning to adapt to this change.”
Adaptability to this change varies by sector and industry, with new economic sectors having a higher composition of youngsters in their workforce proving to be early movers in India. However, the need is clear and more and more companies are looking to align themselves to this change.
Niraj Kaushik, Vice President-Applications Business, Oracle, says, “Companies are looking to provide a seamless user experience and mobile is an important step in that. All our cloud offerings are completely mobile enabled. Everything from leave requests, attendance, performance or compensation reviews, daily reporting are already available online and I see a number of HR departments taking up these products. These features provide ease of use and enhance the user experience as well. The transition to mobile is definitely happening. It is not happening in every vertical but the newer economic sectors are taking this up faster than the old ones.”
Similar views have been shared by Mrigank Tripathi, Founder and CEO at Qustn Technlogies, a SaaS based mobile training and engagement platform wherein he says that, “We are seeing a lot more acceptance towards mobile as a medium of performing various functions within the HR function now as opposed to a year ago. Training and Engagement is clearly one area of huge demand amongst companies. Right from onboarding to product training to compliances — companies are rapidly moving towards delivering trainings over the mobile, with the advantage of being able to track and engage with the laggards directly!”
Looking at it with an ROI perspective, it is simple economics. Mobile adoption for HR functions helps save time, resources and logistical efforts in performing various functions. Companies have been able to roll out and complete large scale trainings for thousands of people spread across multiple locations in a matter of a month.
Adrenalin, an HR software company, says that customers have come forward and asked for implementation of SMS based interfaces to give small self-services to worker class people who do not have access to smart phones. All they need is information regarding their salary credit information through an SMS or information related to servicing customers by service desk engineers through a SMS based technology platform.
It can be seen that the transition to mobile is not just for the white collar workforce of an MNC but is a cultural change that is sweeping over every strata of the society. Integration with legacy systems is a small hurdle, but with the changing trend, it is a small price to pay. HR is now certainly going mobile!