The Next Frontier in Shared Services | The HR Tech Weekly®

The Next Frontier in Shared Services

For anyone who’s answered an email or text from a project team member on a weekend (and that’s just about all of us), it comes as no surprise that digitization has profoundly disrupted the way we work. However, this “new normal” of always-on, instantaneous communication among networks of teams is now dovetailing with another force that is equally as disruptive: a changing workforce, led by increasing numbers of Millennials. Together, these forces are impacting the service delivery landscape and calling upon the HR shared services organization to engage with employees via digital tools, often in entirely new ways.

A digital employee experience is no longer optional; it’s a necessary survival skill for those seeking to attract, retain, and facilitate engagement with the next-generation workforce. At a recent Deloitte workshop, we explored what makes Millennials different, (backed by the findings of the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey), along with strategies for meeting their elevated expectations. Among the characteristics put forth at the event, Millennials:

·      Are digitally native, and, by and large, they would rather use their phones for text or email than talk to people.

·      Expect “consumer-grade” experiences.

·      Tend to shun purely financial motivations, as they feel employee satisfaction and treating people well are the most important values in terms of long-term business success.

·      Crave leadership opportunities, with only 28 percent of the respondents in the Deloitte Millennial Survey believing their organizations make full use of their skills.

·      Expect to have mentors bring them up in the firm.

·      May have little, if any, loyalty to companies and may leave quickly if they believe their leadership skills are not being developed or if the company puts financial performance above everything else.

So, what does this mean for HR shared services? Nearly every company today, but especially those in traditional industries such as mining, manufacturing, and energy & resources, must find a way to replace growing numbers of retirees by attracting Millennials and elevating them to leadership roles quickly. This path toward reinvigorating the workforce by engaging Millennials runs directly through HR.

To attract and retain next-generation employees, HR organizations increasingly must deliver consumer-grade services through shared services by adopting digital tools and making the cultural adjustments required to leverage them fully. Many service delivery organizations have started to do this by transforming their contact centers, mainly by moving toward web self-help, email, and mobile channels to address simple inquiries, and reserving voice channels for answering more difficult questions. This makes sense given Millennials’ resistance to talking live, although the electronic component of these interactions has to be customer friendly. The technology has to work, without too much clicking or form-filling, or Millennials might move on—abandoning the interaction, and if the dissatisfaction persists, perhaps abandoning the employer altogether.

The strategic importance of digitizing the contact center was further emphasized in the findings of the 2015 Deloitte Contact Center Survey. Of note, 85 percent of organizations surveyed view the customer experience provided through their contact centers as a competitive differentiator, and half (50 percent) believe the contact center plays a primary role in customer retention.

While many HR shared services organizations are in tune with the engagement challenges next-generation workers pose, Millennials aren’t the only game in town. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still must be served, and their customer satisfaction ratings are also important. While Millennials may view texting as a genuine form of human engagement, older groups largely do not. They want to talk to someone, and they view personal interactions as a preferred, and largely more effective way to solve problems, particularly complex ones.

Serving the needs of a multigenerational workforce today requires organizations to introduce digital employee experience tools, especially those that promote self-service and collaboration, while preserving existing voice-channel capabilities, at least in some situations. However, maintaining multiple platforms can be expensive and cumbersome, and stranding existing IT investments is rarely an option.

This has left many HR services organizations overwhelmed by the magnitude of technological change that stands before them. That’s why it’s important to take small steps instead of big leaps. For some organizations, implementing a cloud-based platform might be one of those incremental steps. Far from being just another portal, some of these platforms allow subscribers to develop, run, and manage shared services applications without the complexity of building and maintaining infrastructure and underlying technologies. In evaluating such a platform, the technology at a minimum should:

·      Deliver a consumer-grade user experience

·      Streamline processes and automate workflow

·      Simplify transactions by providing personalized content and context

·      Increase effectiveness and decrease cost for shared services operations

·      Make employee interactions and communication with HR simple and intuitive

Regardless of what technologies you choose, an improved digital employee experience is the next frontier in shared services. The overarching objective is to create a digital workplace that capitalizes on a company’s current technology investments by bringing disparate systems together and providing a personalized journey through shared services processes and related content via guided interactions. Why is this so important? Millennials expect nothing less. Your shared services center has to deliver high quality services or the next-generation workforce may gravitate to an organization that can.

For more insights about current HR topics, visit the HR Times Blog.

About the Authors:

Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He focuses on helping clients fundamentally change how they operate, often working with large, complex, global organizations to guide transformation programs that enable HR organizations to reinvent the way they leverage digital to improve the employee experience and business performance.

Marc Solow is a director in Deloitte Consulting LLP and responsible for leading Deloitte’s HR Shared Services market offering in the United States. Marc has led the consulting services in support of several global HR transformation, shared services, and outsourcing projects for large and complex clients in a variety of industries, including insurance, health care, life sciences, consumer and industrial products, and energy.

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


Source: The next frontier in shared services | Michael Gretczko | Pulse | LinkedIn

Attract and Retain Millennial Employees with Workplace Technology

Attract and Retain Millennial Employees with Workplace Technology

Written by Atif Siddiqi, Founder and CEO at Branch Messenger.

Business People Group Talking

When was the last time you saw a Millennial take out a piece of paper and write a note on it?

It probably took you a moment to think about that. It’s because Millennials usually take notes on their phones. They are the first generation to grow up using mobile devices and technology as their primary means of communication. As they enter the workforce, they expect to be able to communicate using technology and in the most modern ways possible. They want to have the newest, bestest technologies that allow them to operate as efficiently as possible.

How do you get these uber-efficient employees in the door and keep them? I’ll explain three ways to figure out the specific workplace technologies you will need and then cover four workplace technologies Millennials expect from all employers.

3 ways to figure out the workplace technologies you need:

  • Ask your current Millennial employees which technologies they are already using on the job. Your best source of figuring out what a Millennial wants is from other Millennials. Once you know the technologies they are already using, evaluate whether or not it would be appropriate to officially roll out the technologies to every worker.
  • Literally no Millennials in your workforce? Ask your peers in similar workplaces which technologies they are using and couldn’t live without. Once again, evaluate if it would be a good fit for your specific business and then implement!
  • Visit the app store and view the top apps in the category it is obvious your company is behind-the-times with. Read the reviews. Download a few free ones that people are generally raving about. Give them a spin yourself and then decide which ones are the best in your opinion. Ask a few of your employees to download your top picks, use them for a bit, and then report back to you which ones they thought were the best. Pick the one the vast majority of employees are now chomping at the bit to use and implement throughout your company.

4 workplace technologies Millennials expect:

  • Mobile devices

Millennials want to be able to access information at a moment’s notice while they are working and not near a stationary resource (computer or phone). Mobile devices allow them to quickly find the information required so they don’t need to drop everything, walk to the front of the store, log into a computer, and look it up.

  • Digital communication platform

Millennials are used to chatting with their peers in group messages. They want to be able to pick up their mobile devices and instantly communicate with their co-workers.

  • Digital scheduling

Remember that whole Millennials-take-notes-on-their-phones thing I previously mentioned? Same goes for their schedules. They put their schedules on their phones and set reminders. Make it easier for them to automatically access their schedule by posting it on an internal website or using a scheduling app.

  • Wi-Fi

Technology is basically useless without access to the internet. Wi-Fi is necessary so that employees don’t need to use their own data networks while at work, which are often not the same speed and spotty for service. With company Wi-Fi, everyone has equal access.

By going through these steps, you are sure to have the technologies in place to entice Millennial workers.

About the Author:

Atif Siddiqi, Founder and CEO at Branch Messenger

Atif Siddiqi is the Founder and CEO at Branch Messenger, a free team messaging and engagement app for shift workers. An LA native, Atif relocated the company to Minnesota to participate in the TechStars & Target Retail Accelerator Program. Branch has thousands of employees that rely on the app from companies like Target, Taco Bell, AutoZone, 24 Hour Fitness and more.

You may contact Atif on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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HR Your Way

HR Your Way

How the next-generation digital workplace can power a deeply personalized HR customer experience

Business disruption is rampant—new business models, new technologies, a challenging economic environment, and the overall quickening pace of business are all disruptive to “business as usual.” Workforce demographics and trends—retiring boomers, high-expectation millennials, workforce-on-demand models, team-based work—are another disruption. It is incumbent on HR to find ways to “hack” these disruptions for their customers, leveraging the digital workplace to customize the HR customer experience according to each individual’s unique needs in the face of this almost constant change.

To better understand how the next-generation digital workplace can counter disruptions by powering a deeply personalized HR customer experience, let’s flash forward about 10 years to 2027. This is when we could see the first cohort of Gen Z employees—engage in their organization’s open enrollment process for benefits.

Our Gen Z futuristic scenario envisions three hypothetical levels of digital workplace “chatbots” at increasing levels of sophistication:

  • Workflow Adviser—assists the HR customer through the life or work event workflow using natural language, while automatically gathering data from disparate systems and tapping into available training, research, and operational services support resources.
  • Solution Adviser—“understands” desired outcomes and leverages all available internal and external data to design and propose an optimized solution for the HR customer.
  • Human Adviser—“empathizes” with the human emotions and feelings likely involved in the HR customer’s decision process, and provides support—or referral to an actual human—as required.

Future forward to Gen Z

Jamie, an employee and a new mom, along with her husband, Liam, kick off the enrollment workflow in Jamie’s digital workplace and are greeted by the chatbot who will be assisting them through the workflow.

The chatbot explains that, set at the level of Workflow Adviser, it has the capability to listen, understand natural language, and talk back, and is also able to interpret the context of Jamie and Liam’s questions in order to suggest relevant training, research, or operational services assistance as they work through the open enrollment process.

As a bonus, the chatbot explains, it has recently been upgraded to a beta version of the Solution Adviser level. So if Jamie would like to explore this advanced level of digital workplace engagement, the chatbot will be able to understand desired outcomes and leverage Jamie and Liam’s demographic, health, and financial data, as well as cloud-based benefits solution provider data, to effectively personalize a recommended package of benefits.

Jamie authorizes the chatbot to use its Solution Adviser capabilities for her open enrollment process. After a structured conversation driven by the chatbot, she is rewarded with a customized portfolio of company benefits that are customized for her family’s unique health needs and financial resources. After a discussion with the Solution Adviser chatbot to clarify the details, Jamie verbally accepts the recommended portfolio of benefits and completes the open enrollment process.

Toward a true AI model for HR

So, what’s going on behind the scenes in our futuristic scenario, and how far are we from being able to deliver this hyper-personalized experience? Let’s drill a bit deeper into the chatbot’s capabilities at the Solution Adviser level by considering one element of the benefits package—long-term disability insurance—the chatbot recommended.

At the Solution Adviser level, the chatbot was permitted to leverage Liam’s personal health records, (which included information about a mild attack of unexplained vertigo that sent him to the ER six months prior), as well as financial income and liabilities information (indicating the couple was living paycheck-to-paycheck with very little savings). By leveraging this information, along with the context gathered through a structured conversation with Jamie and Liam, the chatbot was able to conclude with a reasonable degree of probability that covering a portion of Liam’s expected future income in the event of an unexpected disability made sense for the couple.

Impressive to be sure. But this ability to use natural language to understand context in order to make reasoned judgments about desired outcomes isn’t even the end of the line. Interestingly, and perhaps just a bit frighteningly, true AI is reserved for what we call the Human Adviser level. Here, the chatbot actually understands the human situation, demonstrates empathy with HR customer feelings, and even engages in humor opportunistically to build a deeper bond of understanding with those it has been designed to serve. Of course, at this level of sophistication, the chatbot would also discern, given the nature of the HR customer’s questions, when a referral to an actual human on the operational services team may be in order.

Hacking the disruption

While the advanced cognitive and empathetic capabilities we are ascribing to our next-generation Solution Adviser and Human Adviser digital workplace chatbots are in the infant stages today, we are making rapid advances at the Workflow Adviser level of sophistication for Deloitte’s own digital workplace solution.

As we increase digital workplace capabilities, however, we may find that the process of benefits enrollment itself has become disrupted by our technology advances, and a complete rethink of how benefits are packaged, priced, and administered will likely not be far behind. After all, disruption tends to breed more disruption—which, by the way, is why achieving sustainable HR is so imperative.

About the Authors:

Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He focuses on helping clients fundamentally change how they operate, often working with large, complex, global organizations to guide transformation programs that enable HR organizations to reinvent the way they leverage digital to improve the employee experience and business performance.

Daniel John Roddy  is a specialist leader with Deloitte Consulting LLP and a member of the Digital HR & Innovation team. He focuses on leveraging his decades of global HR transformation experience to develop and promote thought leadership that helps create breakthrough opportunities for our clients. 

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


Source: HR your way | Michael Gretczko | Pulse | LinkedIn

Securing Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning | The HR Tech Weekly®

Securing Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning

How to Secure Your Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning | The HR Tech Weekly®

Business dynamics are evolving with every passing second. There is no doubt that the competition in today’s business world is much more intense than it was a decade ago. Companies are fighting to hold on to any advantages.

Digitalization and the introduction of machine learning into day-to-day business processes have created a prominent structural shift in the last decade. The algorithms have continuously improved and developed.

Every idea that has completely transformed our lives was initially met with criticism. Acceptance is always followed by skepticism, and only when the idea becomes reality does the mainstream truly accept it. At first, data integration, data visualization and data analytics were no different.

Incorporating data structures into business processes to reach a valuable conclusion is not a new practice. The methods, however, have continuously improved. Initially, such data was only available to the government, where they used it to make defense strategies. Ever heard of Enigma?

In the modern day, continuous development and improvement in data structures, along with the introduction of open source cloud-based platforms, has made it possible for everyone to access data. The commercialization of data has minimized public criticism and skepticism.

Companies now realize that data is knowledge and knowledge is power. Data is probably the most important asset a company owns. Businesses go to great lengths to obtain more information, improve the processes of data analytics and protect that data from potential theft. This is because nearly anything about a business can be revealed by crunching the right data.

It is impossible to reap the maximum benefit from data integration without incorporating the right kind of data structure. The foundation of a data-driven organization is laid on four pillars. It becomes increasingly difficult for any organization to thrive if it lacks any of the following features.

Here are the four key elements of a comprehensive data management system:

  • Hybrid data management
  • Unified governance
  • Data science and machine learning
  • Data analytics and visualization

Hybrid data management refers to the accessibility and repeated usage of the data. The primary step for incorporating a data-driven structure in your organization is to ensure that the data is available. Then you proceed by bringing all the departments within the business on board. The primary data structure unifies all the individual departments in a company and streamlines the flow of information between those departments.

If there is a communication gap between the departments, it will hinder the flow of information. Mismanagement of communication will result in chaos and havoc instead of increasing the efficiency of business operations.

Initially, strict rules and regulations governed data and restricted people from accessing it. The new form of data governance makes data accessible, but it also ensures security and protection. You can learn more about the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law and unified data governance over here in Rob Thomas’ GDPR session.

The other two aspects of data management are concerned with data engineering. A spreadsheet full of numbers is of no use if it cannot be tailored to deduce some useful insights about business operations. This requires analytical skills to filter out irrelevant information. There are various visualization technologies that make it possible and easier for people to handle and comprehend data.

Want to learn more about the topic? Watch replay of the live session with Hilary Mason, Dez Blanchfield, Rob Thomas, Kate Silverton, Seth Dobrin and Marc Altshuller.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more interesting updates about machine learning and data integration.


Source: Securing Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Enterprise Journey to Becoming Digital

Do you want to be a digital enterprise? Do you want to master the art of transforming yourself and be at the forefront of the digital realm?

How can you change your business to achieve this?

Derive new values for yourself, and find better and more innovative ways of working. Put customer experience above and beyond everything as you find methodologies to support the rapidly changing demands of the digital world.

Your transformation will be successful only when you identify and practice appropriate principles, embrace a dual strategy that enhances your business capabilities and switch to agile methodologies if you have not done it already.

The journey to becoming a digital maestro and achieving transformation traverses through four main phases.

  • Becoming a top-notch expert with industrialized IT services – by adopting six main principles
  • Switching to agile operations to achieve maximum efficiency – so that you enjoy simplicity, rationality and automation
  • Creating an engaging experience for your consumers using analytics, revenue and customer management – because your customers come first; their needs and convenience should be your topmost priority
  • Availing opportunities for digital services – assessing your security and managing your risks

Becoming a top-notch expert with industrialized IT services

There are five key transformation principles that can help you realize the full potential of digital operations and engagement.

  • Targeting uniqueness that is digitized
  • Designing magical experiences so as to engage and retain your consumers
  • Connect with digital economics, and collaborate so as to leverage your assets
  • Operate your business digitally, customer experience being the core
  • Evolving into a fully digital organization through the side by side or incremental approach

Initially a digital maturity analysis has to be performed, followed by adoption of a targeted operational model. Maturity can be divided into five different levels: initiating, enabling, integrating, optimizing and pioneering, which are linked to seven different aspects: strategy, organization, customer, technology, operations, ecosystem and innovation, of which the last two are the most critical. The primary aim should be to cover all business areas that are impacted by and impact digital transformation.

Before taking a digital leap, the application modernization wheel should be adopted. Identify your targets, which will act as main drivers. Determine application states, and then come up with a continuous plan. This is referred to as the Embark phase, during which you understand the change rationale of your applications, and then improve metrics, which drive changes. During the Realize phase, you analyze ways in which you can change your operations and speed up your delivery. In the process, you have to improve quality, while ensuring your product line is aligned with your business needs. You establish DevOps, beginning from small teams, and then moving forward using new technologies.

The third phase is Modernize, during which you plan and implement your architecture such that your apps are based on API services. The last stage is Optimize in which performance is monitored, and improvements are made when and where they are necessary.

Switching to agile operations to achieve maximum efficiency

Data centers now feature several applications, suitable for the IT, telecommunication and enterprise sectors, but their offered services have to be responsive to the changing trends and demands. Ericsson brings agility into the picture so as to achieve efficiency through automation. This can be made possible with the NFV Full Stack, which includes a cloud manager, execution environment, SDN controllers and NFV hardware. The solution is capable to support automated deployment while providing you flexibility through multi VIM support. Check out this blog post to see a demonstration of a virtualized, datacenter and explore their vision of future digital infrastructure.

NFV’s potential can be fully achieved only when the hybrid networks are properly managed, which dynamic orchestration makes a possibility. The approach taken automates service design, configuration and assurance for both physical and virtual networks. Acceleration of network virtualization is being realized through the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV), a collaborative project under the Linux Foundation that is transforming global networks through open source NFV. Ericsson is a platinum-level founding OPNFV member, along with several other telecom vendors, service providers and IT companies leading the charge in digitalized infrastructure.

Creating an engaging experience for your consumers

Customer experience is the central focus when you are in the digital realm. Customer experience should be smooth, effortless and consistent across all channels.

Design a unique omnichannel approach for your customers. This means that you should be able to reach out to your customers through mobile app, social media platforms and even wearable gadgets. Analyze real-time data, and use the results for improving purchase journeys obvert different channels like chatbots and augmented reality. Advanced concepts like clustering and machine learning are used to cross data over different domains, and then take appropriate actions. For instance, if you were a Telco, you should be able to offer a new plan, bundle or upgrade to each customer at the right time. All of the analytics data can also be visualized for a complete understanding through which the customer journey can be identified, and the next best action can be planned out.

Availing opportunities for digital services

Complexity increases when all your systems are connected, and security becomes a more important concern. You should be able to identify new vulnerabilities and threat vectors, and then take steps to protect your complete system. And this protection should extend to your revenues, and help you prevent fraud.

A Security Manager automates security over the cloud as well as physical networks. The two primary components are Security Automation and 360 Design and Monitoring. New assets are detected as security is hardened, which are then monitored continuously.

Additionally the Digital Risk and Business Assurance enable your business to adapt in the dynamic environment while reducing impact on your bottom line. Assurance features three levels: marketplace, prosumer and wholesale assurance. The end result is delivery of a truly digital experience.

Want proof that the above methodologies do work wonders? Two of Ericsson customers, Verizon and Jio, have already been nominated as finalists for the TM Forum EXCELLENCE Awards.

I also encourage you to join and/or follow TM Forum Live this week. If you’re headed to the conference, be sure to check out the Ericsson booth and connect with the team to learn more and discuss your digital transformation journey.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and IoT please click 'Follow' and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Source: Enterprise Journey to Becoming Digital | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Global HR Innovation and Strategies 2017

For a long period, Innovation is at the top of CXO agendas, yet many executives continue to be challenged with the hit-or-miss pace and results of their programs. The challenge isn’t usually a lack of good ideas. Initiatives take too long, non-strategic projects get green-lighted at the expense of game changers, good ideas remain confined in the heads of employees.

What is missing? A system of enablers that work together to support innovation. When the right people, processes, and metrics come together, they can transform how innovation happens, stimulate employees’ creativity, and create long-term competitive advantage.

Innovation is not inherently unpredictable, and it does not require a heavy portion of providence to be successful. When companies take a systematic approach, they can pursue innovation in a way that reliably generates repeatable results.

Business Innovation Strategy
Image: Management Guru

According to Management Guru, an innovation is the Buzz word that has defined the paradigm shift in the approach of management practices and thinking. This has helped organizations grow and sustain regardless of competitor and market pressure and challenges. Innovation management gives entrepreneurs the liberty to think out of the box and come up with new ideas leading to the development of new products, processes and services.

Change is unavoidable and change is the one that never changes. People like variety and it is the responsibility of business people to satisfy the customer wants and requirements. New approaches are required to avoid monotony and stereotyping. “Old wine in a new bottle” concept may come in handy when you feel that your product has reached the saturation point and about to decline in its life cycle.

Human Resources have not played a very strategic role in innovation so much. This needs to change. HR needs to support the culture change to enable innovation; and the upcoming generation isn’t going to settle for an ‘administrative-only’ role. Future of HR is definitely going to change for sure.

Many companies who are good at managing tangible, concrete, known assets, they try to manage humans the same way. These are changing a lot and if we get some opportunities to know how this is happening, I think there is no better place than Global HR Innovation and Strategies conference.

BCF Group is glad to announce that the applications for the Global HR Innovation and Strategies 2017 are now OPEN. This is an open invitation from BCF Group to be a part of this event in Barcelona, that will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of June.

At the event, you will have the opportunity to listen and to interact with top HR leaders and innovators.

Don’t miss the chance to get inspired from experienced HR speakers, who worked in some of the most successful companies and even founded their owns. Topics that will be discussed are of current interest that in the future will have impact on the companies, such as Millennials, Mobility, HR Digitalization, Gamification, Mobbing, HR role in the Boardroom and in the relation with the employees.

At the conference, you will also have the opportunity to interact will HR people and make new contacts, with which you can share experience.

The list of speakers you can find on our website or check the Poster: https://bcfgroup.eu/?iwevent=global-hr-innovation-and-strategies-conference-2017

Global HR Innovation and Strategies Conference 2017

Do you have friends or colleagues who would like to attend the HR Conference? Forward this invitation them. For more details, feel free to contact Alice Levi: alice.levi@bcfgroup.eu.

When: 22nd – 23rd of June, 2017

Where: 08039 Edif. Este, Moll de Barcelona, World Trade Centre, Barcelona, Spain

HR Tech Conscience is glad to be a Media Partner with BCF Group for this conference. Looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!
How Machine Learning is Revolutionizing Digital Enterprises

How Machine Learning is Revolutionizing Digital Enterprises

According to the prediction of IDC Futurescapes, two-thirds of Global 2000 Enterprises CEOs will center their corporate strategy on digital transformation. A major part of the strategy should include machine-learning (ML) solutions. The implementation of these solutions could change how these enterprises view customer value and internal operating model today.

If you want to stay ahead of the game, then you cannot afford to wait for that to happen. Your digital business needs to move towards automation now while ML technology is developing rapidly. Machine learning algorithms learn from huge amounts of structured and unstructured data, e.g. text, images, video, voice, body language, and facial expressions. By that it opens a new dimension for machines with limitless applications from healthcare systems to video games and self-driving cars.

In short, ML will connect intelligently people, business and things. It will enable completely new interaction scenarios between customers and companies and eventually allow a true intelligent enterprise. To realize the applications that are possible due to ML fully, we need to build a modern business environment. However, this will only be achieved, if businesses can understand the distinction between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Understanding the Distinction Between ML and AI

Machines that could fully replicate or even surpass all humans’ cognitive functions are still a dream of Science Fiction stories, Machine Learning is the reality behind AI and it is available today. ML mimics how the human cognitive system functions and solves problems based on that functioning. It can analyze data that is beyond human capabilities. The ML data analysis is based on the patterns it can identity in Big Data. It can make UX immersive and efficient while also being able to respond with human-like emotions. By learning from data instead of being programmed explicitly, computers can now deal with challenges previously reserved to the human. They now beat us at games like chess, go and poker; they can recognize images more accurately, transcribe spoken words more precisely, and are capable of translating over a hundred languages.

ML Technology and Applications for Life and Business

In order for us to comprehend the range of applications that will be possible due to ML technology, let us look at some examples available currently:

  • Amazon Echo, Google Home:
  • Digital assistants: Apple’s Siri, SAP’s upcoming Copilot

Both types of devices provide an interactive experience for the users due to Natural Language Processing technology. With ML in the picture, this experience might be taken to new heights, i.e., chatbots. Initially, they will be a part of the apps mentioned above but it is predicted that they could make text and GUI interfaces obsolete!

ML technology does not force the user to learn how it can be operated but adapts itself to the user. It will become much more than give birth to a new interface; it will lead to the formation of enterprise AI.

The limitless ways in which ML can be applied include provision of completely customized healthcare. It will be able to anticipate the customer’s needs due to their shopping history. It can make it possible for the HR to recruit the right candidate for each job without bias and automate payments in the finance sector.

Unprecedented Business Benefits via ML

Business processes will become automated and evolve with the increasing use of ML due to the benefits associated with it. Customers can use the technology to pick the best results and thus, reach decisions faster. As the business environment changes, so will the advanced machines as they constantly update and adapt themselves. ML will also help businesses arrive on innovations and keep growing by providing the right kind of business products/services and basing their decisions on a business model with the best outcome.

ML technology is able to develop insights that are beyond human capabilities based on the patterns it derives from Big Data. As a result, businesses would be able to act at the right time and take advantage of sales opportunities, converting them into closed deals. With the whole operation optimized and automated, the rate at which a business grows will accelerate. Moreover, the business process will achieve more at a lesser cost. ML will lead businesses into environs with minimal human error and stronger cybersecurity.

ML Use Cases

The following three examples show how ML can be applied to an enterprise model that utilizes Natural Language Processing:

  • Support Ticket Classification

Consider the case where tickets from different media channels (email, social websites etc.) needs to be forwarded to the right specialist for the topic. The immense volume of support tickets makes the task lengthy and time consuming. If ML were to be applied to this situation, it could be useful in classifying them into different categories.

API and micro-service integration could mean that the ticket could be automatically categorized. If the number of correctly categorized tickets is high enough, a ML algorithm can route the ticket directly to the next service agent without the need of a support agent.

  •  Recruiting

The job of prioritizing incoming applications for positions with hundreds of applicants can also be slow and time consuming. If automated via ML, the HR can let the machine predict candidate suitability by providing it with a job description and the candidate’s CV. A definite pattern would be visible in the CVs of suitable candidates, such as the right length, experience, absence of typos, etc. Automation of the process will be more likely to provide the right candidate for the job.

  • Marketing 

ML will help build logo and brand recognition for businesses in the following two ways:

  1. With the use of a brand intelligence app, the identification of logos in event sponsorship videos or TV can lead to marketing ROI calculations.
  2. Stay up to date on the customer’s transactions and use that behavior to predict how to maintain customer loyalty and find the best way to retain them.

How Enterprises Can Get Started Implementing Machine Learning

Businesses can step into the new age of ML and begin implementing the technique by letting the machines use Big Data derived from various sources, e.g. images, documents, IoT devices etc to learn. While these machines can automate lengthy and repetitive tasks, they can also be used to predict the outcome for new data. The first step in implementation of ML for a business should be to educate themselves about its nature and the range of its applications. A free openSAP course can help make that possible.

Another step that can bring a business closer to ML implementation is data preparation in complex landscapes. The era of information silos is over and there is an imperative need for businesses to gather data from various sources, such as customers, partners, and suppliers. The algorithms must then be provided open access to that data so they can learn and evolve. The Chief Data Officer of the company can oversee the ML integration process.

To start with completely new use cases for Machine Learning is not easy and requires a good understanding of the subject and having the right level of expertise in the company. A better starting point for many companies would be to rely on ML solutions already integrated into standard software. By that it will connect seamless with the existing business process and immediately start to create value.

Lastly, businesses should start gathering the components necessary for building AI products. Among the requirements would be a cloud platform capable of handling high data volume that is derived from multiple sources. The relevant people are as important to this step as are the technology and processes. After all, they would be the ones who will be testing the latest digital and ML technologies.

If you want more information on SAP Machine Learning, then go here to subscribe to the webinar on Enabling the intelligent Enterprise with Machine Learning.

The presenters include Dr. Markus Noga: VP Machine Learning Innovation Center Network, SAP SE. You can follow him on Twitter. Ronald van Loon is the other presenter for the webinar. Mr. van Loon is counted among the Top 10 Big Data expert and is an IoT Influencer. You can also follow him on Twitter.


Source: How Machine Learning is Revolutionizing Digital Enterprises | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Is AI Really A Threat To Jobs?

Artificial Intelligence | The HR Tech Weekly®

Has the future obliteration of jobs by automation been over-exaggerated? At the end of last year Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned that up to 50% of UK jobs could be wiped out by automation. A recent report suggests that so far the AI-jobs apocalypse has yet to materialise.

Recent research from the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) together with CV-Library found that two thirds of businesses had not yet witnessed job losses due to automation. Over a third believed that automation had actually increased the number of jobs available.

This is a view broadly supported by Deloitte. In 2015, it highlighted the benefits of automation and its ability to create better quality jobs by removing tedious and dull work which increases the potential for errors due to boredom and distractions. Its research also noted that as a result of automation:

  • 3.5 million low risk jobs have been created since 2001, compared to 800,000 high risk jobs lost.
  • Each new low-risk job pays a salary £10,000 higher than the high risk job it replaced.

This does not alleviate concerns over automation. The CIPD’s Employee Outlook Survey also notes that nearly a quarter of employees are concerned that their job – or parts of it – may be automated within the next five years. Similarly, PwC’s UK Economic Outlook predicts that 30% jobs in the UK are at risk from automation by the early 2030s. Like Deloitte, however, it notes that the nature of available jobs will change. Sectors at highest risk of job losses through automation include transport, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail. Education and health and social work and education are at the lowest risk of being replaced.

Ongoing resistance to AI

The CIEHF/CV Library survey reports a ‘resistance’ among employees to automation as employers are failing to communicate its benefits effectively and HR remains one of the most reluctant to positively embrace automation within talent management strategies. Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Survey found that progress towards people analytics in the last year remains stubbornly slow. This is perhaps unsurprising as nearly half of recruitment professionals are still not using applicant tracking software in hiring processes.

HR must first acknowledge the advantages of automation in recruitment to communicate its benefits more effectively. In hiring processes, this means the automation of mundane procedures, including personalised e-mails to job applicants, effective, streamlined screening to reduce unconscious bias and insights into key hiring metrics that impact your ability to hire. It also enables hiring teams to create a more effective onboarding processes to improve retention of new hires.

But why is HR so reluctant to embrace technology?

An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that the resistance to AI is twofold. To accept and take advantage of automation, consumers must trust both in the technology and in the business delivering the innovation. In recruitment that means HR must have confidence in the supplier of recruitment software and its ability to deliver benefits to its hiring process.

The article also highlights three key points which are essential to gaining that confidence:

Cognitive compatibility : In other words, make it easy to understand. The more complex the nature of the technology, the less likely consumers are to trust its ability achieve desired goals. For HR, that goal is to streamline hiring processes to ensure not only faster hiring but a better quality of hire.

Trialability : A trial of potential new technology helps to understand the benefits and reduce any reluctance to embrace technology.

Usability : To encourage buy-in among tech-resistant hiring teams, technology, especially HR software, must be easy to use.

Recruitment software aside, as companies continue to invest in technology it is vital to maintain employee buy-in and foster trust by investing in upskilling employees to equip them to use digital skills in the workplace. The UK faces a significant digital skills crisis in addition to a wider talent shortage but employers are failing to invest in the necessary training to equip employees with vital skills. Training and development is essential for businesses that wish to not only retain but to continue to attract talent to their brand. It will also go some way to overcoming ‘resistance’ to technology in the workplace.

Ethical concerns

Overcoming ethical concerns is an issue that HR must consider in the future.

The EU[1] has proposed the creation of a European agency to provide technical, ethical and regulatory advice on robotics and AI, including the consideration of a minimum income to compensate people replaced by robots and a ‘kill switch’ for malfunctioning AI systems. A similar concern was recently expressed by the International Bar Association which warned that AI could ultimately lead to the introduction of legislation for quotas of human workers in the future[2].

While the debate over the benefits of AI at work continues, there is no doubt about the struggle that employers face to hire and retain qualified candidates. HR software is HR’s first step towards embracing the benefits of automation and creating more effective talent management strategies.

[1] MEPs vote on robots' legal status - and if a kill switch is required

[2] Rise of robotics will upend laws and lead to human job quotas, study says

A version of this article first appeared on Advorto’s website.

 

3 Ways HR Will Evolve in the Future

3 Ways HR Will Evolve in the Future

Believe it or not, automation is changing our entire lives, the way we live, think and work. As quoted by Mr. Abhijit Bhaduri, author of Digital Tsunami, “Humans resist change, machines don’t.” We are at a age where we no longer can nor should resist change. That said, technology is also massively impacting the HR functions. Most of the traditional support functions of HR, such as payroll, attendance etc. are being automated. Adding to the progression, chatbots are further driving more engagement with its personalized attributes, and is further adding up to redefining the HR role.

Ripples in the Water

One might wonder, will the rapid pace of digitization re-define HR? Of course yes, with millennials making up more than half of the current workforce — and predicted to make up 75 percent by 2020 — HR has to embrace technologies to keep at par with employee and business demands.

The Effect of Big Data

A lot of work in HR used to be related to adherence to compliances and therefore, huge amount of work related to paperworks was involved. But, now things have changed. Online portals and platforms provide HR with all the information that they need. Today’s technology gives HR professionals access to the power of Big Data and changes the way businesses understand their customers, build their own brands and communicate to prospective employees.

One of the boons of Big Data is Predictive Analytics. In big corporations, it is very difficult to keep a track of each employee. Predictive analytics enables HR to understand which employee needs an additional training.

High Up in the Clouds

Another technology which is impacting HR in a big way. Gathering and storing of information has always been a major function of the HR department, and the stack of files not only waste office space but are very difficult to trace as well. Can you even imagine, a millennial, who is always glued to his smartphone will have the patience to go through all the piles of paper?

High Up in the Clouds

Thanks to cloud technology, all of this information can instead be stored in the cloud. No longer does an employee need to tick the boxes while filling up a feedback form which again runs the risk of getting lost. All the employee information like tax documents, payroll, feedback etc can be stored online securely.

Cloud-based systems and Big Data go hand in hand. With Machine Learning emerging steadily, all these data will make a lot of sense few years down the line, it all depends how well can one derive relevant information out of it.

Chat with the Bots

There are some information which are very subjective in nature, like how to fill the Form 19 or file for the income tax returns. It makes no sense if the employee walks up to the HR managers for day-to-day queries or any concerns they might have regarding their pay, leaves, performance etc. To narrow down the gap of communication between the employees and the HR, PeopleStrong recently launched India’s first HR chatbot ‘Jinie’. From a transactional interface with employees to a conversational interface, Jinie the India’s first HR Chatbot will be able to provide the next level of experience to its employees.

In the era of smartphones, this will be a great boost in employee engagement.

These are few of the many ways in which the HR domain will change and adapt itself to digitization. With the burden of a lot of paperwork gone from the shoulders and with new data in hand, HR department will be fully equipped to make the employees life much easier and will add more value in business.


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Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

It’s quite surprising how many company’s HR departments haven’t yet joined the digital revolution. These companies seem to think that how it was done is fine and has worked perfectly well in the past, so why bother updating anything?

The thing is that often the people in HR feel differently, with 70 to 80% of their time spent on low-value administrative tasks. I feel that’s shameful, particularly as a huge amount of that work can be automatized and digitized. This would allow HR to be massively more productive and play a more strategic role in the company by creating new opportunities, learning methods and more for their companies.

If you agree with me, consider embracing these digital solutions.

Peer to peer recognition

Often a big part of the modern HR department is validating the newer employees, who are in many ways far more demanding than previous generations. That can be taxing for both managers and the HR department to do.

A good solution that has recently come out is Tapmyback. The idea here is to allow people to recognize each other’s work, so that people are no longer looking to management alone to validate what they’re doing.

This will make it far more likely that your employees will receive the recognition they need, while freeing up the HR department to concentrate on offering opportunities for staff to grow and excel.

Non-traditional reviews

Many people do not like to be reviews. And that’s not really that strange, is it? For that reason, OrangeHRM is a good go-to product, as it makes reviewing a far more effective and less stressful affair, where people don’t have to sit in front of their manager but can instead read the process online.

It can, in fact, do far more than that including track time off, help with recruitment and offer training suggestions – which are all very useful services to automate. The good news is that there is a 30 day free trail so that your company can see if it’s suitable.

Resume analyzers

One of the biggest tasks you’ve got to do in the HR department is to manage resumes. Fortunately, that’s gotten a lot easier today with the resume parsers. These will go through piles or resumes, looking for keywords and key skills that you need and discarding the huge pile of useless crap that often comes with it.

In fact, they’ve become such a common occurrence that resume writing services are completely ready for them. And so, you won’t actually miss out on any of the good resumes while cutting down on the time that hiring new personal consumes substantially.

Social media recruiting

Here’s a surprising statistic 73% of 18 to 34 year olds have found their job through social media. That means that if you’re not yet trying to recruit though these platforms, you really are missing out on a huge slice of the younger market out there (and though there is something to be said for experience, diversity is useful too).

For that reason, make certain that you start using services like linkedin to get the word out there that you’re looking. Only in that way can you be sure that you’ll find the right person for the position that you’re looking for.

Online educational resources

Another great new technological wave that every HR department should introduce is the one taking place in online education. For example, there are now dozens of online courses that are available for free or only a little money at such places as EdX.

These offer you a great opportunity to both offer your employees a chance to boost their skill set, while cutting down on costs as well as travel time for them to get those skills.

In fact, some companies have taken to offering employees a certain time during their day or week where they can study these courses, all while never leaving the office. In this way, they can get on with learning without forcing their companies to find ways to work around their absence as they’re still there in case of emergencies.

Last words

In truth, it surprises me that companies would ever think HR isn’t ready for the digital age. There are huge gains to be made in the HR department by coming in to the 21st century. And the great thing is that the more effective your HR department functions, the easier it is for them to help the rest of your company get a head and upgrade their skillset.

And that matters. After all, the modern world is changing ever more rapidly and it’s vital for any company that their workers are changing and improving along with it. Otherwise you might just find that your company’s skillset ends up obsolete.

There really is no recovering from that.

Sylvia Giltner, Blogger, Artist, Student

Technology and art are a big part of my life, and I enjoy integrating them into everything I do. — Sylvia Giltner


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