Why digital disruption is a marriage of technology and management, not a choice of one over the other

  Jul 7, 2021

In today’s times, with technological disruptions, industry experts say businesses have no choice but to adapt. This not only has altered business operations but has also raised expectations from HR leaders to ensure human capabilities amalgamate with the changing technological needs of businesses.

“With organisations having to embrace areas including quantum computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, blockchain, 5G etc, modern HR systems must rely more than ever on automation, analytics and predictive capabilities,” said Dr Sajan Mathew, Professor and Registrar (Examination & Evaluation), Alliance University.

Technology has changed the tedium

ETHRWorld interacted with several industry leaders to get the pulse of the market on how technology is redefining the management of productivity for HR leaders and its impact on the “human factor”. They say technology has changed the tedium through HR stages that continue to digitalize the information HR professionals require.

“Big Data is one such trend in technology that is gaining traction for managing productivity. In combination with other technological advancements, Big Data can provide HR experts with timely insightful information and help make better decisions,” said Lalitha M Shetty, AVP – Human Resources, Omega Healthcare Management Services.

According to PwC’s HR Technology Survey 2020, 74 per cent of HR leaders and HR IT leaders expect to see an increase in the spending for HR Tech, while 50 per cent of C-suite leaders said that HR Tech solutions are effective on a range of business outcomes. Experts say these numbers are testimony to HR Tech driving productivity optimisation and is reshaping the future of the Human Resource department.

Citing an example, Sarita Digumarti, COO and Co-founder, Jigsaw Academy, said the implementation of smart mobile applications simplifies HR operations for employees and transforms how employees communicate with the organisation.

“These mobile apps assist employees in acquiring information without going to HR for performance data. Deloitte has created a system that monitors and compares the time and billable hours spent by consultants with their customers, and compares them to their colleagues,” Digumarti added.

At the end of the day, companies are dealing with human beings
Experts highlight that the focus is on replicating the in-person hiring experience to an online environment, while constantly evolving tools and assessment methodologies to ensure companies hire the right-fit candidate.

“At the end of the day, we are dealing with human beings and there is a risk of making the process completely mechanical. We need to be cautious to maintain a personal touch in whatever form possible, to ensure that the process remains humanized,” said Sujatha Kumaraswamy, CEO, MeritTrac Services.

As long as the result of productivity enhancement is realised, Kumaraswamy believes it will be a win-win situation for HR as well as the last-mile employee.

Digital transformation is initiated by digital enablers in the organisation to solve a problem or to enhance an experience. Successful implementation of digital transformation includes management teams’ crucial role in leading change, making information transparent and more accessible, getting employees and managers on board, among others. And the activities mentioned above require human factors and HR intervention.

“At the end of the day, all the digital transformation initiatives are for improving the human experience, making humans the key factor in the equation. What the employees envision as the organisation’s future drive the technology, not the other way around,” said Ritu Gupta, Associate Professor and Co-Chair – PGDM-HRM Programme, T A Pai Management Institute, Manipal, adding, “It is a marriage of technology and management, not a choice of one over the other.”

While it is true that automation is here to stay, Shetty from Omega asserted that it will not erase human factors from the HR processes. “There is a reason it is termed ‘human resources’ and I believe humanness will remain the fulcrum,” she said.

According to Mathew from Alliance University, traits such as creativity, imagination, intuition, emotion, and ethics – exclusive to the human element – will become critical in the future.

“In the light of digital transformation, the human factor will act as a key differentiator in determining organisational success and long-term sustenance,” Mathew added.

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