Getting ‘SMART’ About AI

Author: Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow

Global access to data is exploding. At the same time, our ability to categorise, classify and analyse this data is also expanding. As this new world of data unfolds, businesses are looking to create new data models―and their supporting data analytics functions—to directly and positively impact growth, profit and expansion.

But let’s go back to first principles for a moment. We know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)―when correctly applied—can improve the way organisations work and operate. But do organisations know where to start as they look to create these new data models?

We―and by ‘we’ I mean you as the customers, us at ServiceNow, as well as our partners, everybody basically—need to ask where to categorise and compartmentalise processes and functions to build new digital workflows. We need to examine which aspects of the business should be most directly ‘exposed’ to AI. We also need to know what is and isn’t possible in the short, medium and long term.

In other words, we need to get smart about being smarter if we’re going to bring a new era of business forward. So, what does smart really mean in modern business terms? I think it is time to look at AI and digital workflows through the lens of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives.

SMART-goals

Specificity

When we use the word ‘specific’ and demand a greater level of product or service specificity, we mean it in the most granular sense possible.

We can’t just say we need more paperclips, more salespeople, more office air conditioning or more field sales automobiles. We need to ask what kind of paperclip shape we need, what colour, what build strength and perhaps even what level of ‘clippyness’ every clip needs to exhibit.

When you are thinking about delivering AI and ML in the business you have to be really focused on what you are trying to achieve―and by that I mean, you need to be able to tie down specific use cases for each and every paperclip.

Measurability

Getting smart with new digital workflows also requires measurability. If you can’t measure it and put it in your business plan and balance sheet (a process, a service, a workflow element, anything at all) then you need to step back and ask whether you should really be doing it.

The reality is that data is often captured and not ever used. It simply falls unmeasured, and unloved, into the data lake. The real cost of this is the ‘noise’ that is created throughout the business because for one, wasted data goes crashing into the lake and secondly, there is then the splashing that occurs afterwards when users do actually realise that they have to start diving into the lake to look for the data that they might actually need in order to make work experiences better!

Attainability and relevancy

If an AI initiative is not attainable or achievable, then why has it formed a part of your current business strategy in the first place? Nowadays we can forecast how far AI will realistically be able to change any given business in real practical terms.

Similarly, if an AI business initiative is not relevant to the business and not able to exist within the context of the organisation’s current and immediate goals, then it forms no sensible part of any smart business plan.

Timeliness

Lastly, we come to timeliness. In the not so distant past, business cycles and the general approach to commercial objectives were typically annual. In this post-millennial age, firms are measuring themselves in much smaller strategic increments.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and business targets used to change year-on-year. Today, they might be calibrated to change monthly, weekly or perhaps even on the basis of individual (tickets) activities relating to individual jobs.

Your next steps

The goal for any business should be to get to the point where they can use smart digital workflows to drive greater productivity, greater quality of all services and greater experiences for all employees.

We know that an increasing proportion of organisations are already examining where they can bring AI to bear and create new value in their business. We also know that many are already on that road and creating new applications and new experiences. Factors that matter most now include service quality, cost reduction, speedy delivery and the need for geographical availability for all new products and services. These are all the defining trends that should be shaping the way we develop new digital workflows that leverage AI and ML.

As vendors, we need to help businesses identify areas for improvement, not just before they start to lose profits and market share, but more significantly, before they start to actually lose contracts. There’s a new culture for predictive business strategy that we are underpinning and making possible.

Smart is smarter if it is more productive and creates greater experiences for everybody inside and outside your organisation. It’s where the smart money is, believe me.

Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, EMEA, ServiceNow

Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow

Advertisements
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

Recruitment Tools: The Magic Lamp for HR

Recruitment Tools: The Magic Lamp for HR

Written by Sachin Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder, HackerEarth.

Sachin Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder, HackerEarth

Ask any business right now about their top challenges — chances are good that recruiting and retaining talent will be on the top three in the priority list. Smart organizations are aware that they’re only as good as their employees and will prioritize in hiring the best of the best for their organizations.

As technology continues to evolve, it is playing a significant role in the way companies approach the talent search and the hiring process. With companies not really carrying labels that say they are tech or non-tech anymore, finding and retaining great tech talent is what the hiring game is now all about.

According to a recent 2017 survey, finding and hiring top tech talent is what keeps the executives up at night. It has been the management’s greatest concern for the last five years. However, with recruiters latching on to online recruitment tools that are “smartifying” the hiring process, tech hiring was never easier, and never more reliable.

Time for a change

When LinkedIn and other online job applications first began to gain traction, they were considered as supplements to the traditional paper résumé and in-person interview. Today, the world of recruiting has gone nearly 100-percent digital. Traditional recruiting processes often fail to acquire the best and brightest. With smart online assessment tools, recruiters are no longer limited to interviewing candidates within a limited geographical radius, and they are less likely to make bad hires based just on snazzy résumés. They don’t need to put in hours sifting through résumés that are often not a reflection the saleable skills or manually evaluating tests. There is no place for unconscious bias either.

Online recruitment tools are replacing traditional methods that don’t always work. Entrepreneurs are ready to invest big in amazing technical assessment tools that automate complex screening and recruiting tasks to add real value.

Using traditional hiring methods are deal-breakers especially for companies looking at acquiring quality technical talent. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Different requirements warrant different tools or processes. Be it a campus recruitment drive or hiring for niche profiles, online technical assessment tools have an answer. So, what is the reason for these tools to be highly successful?

Scale

A leading retailer wanted to scale its hiring process across Indian cities. When its current hiring process did not support the rapid expansion, the global e-com leader opted for online technical assessment tool. It allowed them to have multiple administrators and enabled them to conduct multiple recruitment drives from several cities for various roles and functions. The tool allowed them to assess thousands of candidates remotely and the proctoring mechanisms ensured a fair assessment. In a span of six months, the company conducted 200+ hiring drives and assessed over 27,000 candidates in different cities.

Time

Minimizes manual filtering of hundreds of résumés thus saving time. Significantly reduces the number of interviews your technical team needs to take to find the right candidate. Prevents the number of candidates from becoming a bottleneck because any number of candidates can be tested simultaneously. This meant hiring managers and technical managers spending less time assessing candidates and wasting no time on irrelevant candidates.

Efficient campus hiring

Large enterprises usually hire developers in big numbers. Campus hiring is one of the many modes that these organizations use. Using an online recruiting tool, these companies can accurately measure the technical skills of candidates. Online tools will also help these companies to hire from different campuses across states thus achieving the numbers they want to.

Exhaustive Question Library

Some of the best tools nowadays supports multiple question types including programming, MCQ, subjective, android, and front-end programming. These libraries help companies to save time on problem setting and test candidates on assorted topics.

Proctoring measures

Recruiting tools come with the best proctoring measures which helps the recruiters test candidates remotely. These tools have built-in features like plagiarism detector, candidate snapshot, restricting multiple logins among others.

The conclusion

Hiring quality tech talent is the common denominator across all organizations. And the online recruiting tools are significantly better at finding them quality talent than the traditional processes that have been followed till now.

By using a tool such as the automated assessment platforms, even non-tech recruiters can conduct technical screening without a hitch. These coding platforms are significantly better than the processes that already exist in these companies. As these tools are easily integrable with the recruiting workflow of an organization, software giants should be happy to take this route.

To rephrase the famous saying from the movie Ratatouille, “Not everyone can become a great developer; but a great developer can come from anywhere” Make sure you don’t lose out on them.


If you want to share this article the reference to Sachin Gupta and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Friendship Together Bonding Unity Youth Culture Concept

The Rise of the Multi-Interface HR Application

The Rise of the Multi-Interface HR Application

The move to allowing users to interact where they already are, be that chat, calendars or email is especially relevant to HR applications.

Like project management (Trello, Basecamp) and customer service tools (Intercom, Zendesk), HR tech has been part of the next wave of a hyper focus on user experience to create the next generation of applications.

HR applications have two distinct constituents: primary users like hiring and personnel teams, and the rest of the company’s employees who are generally irregular users. Perhaps when they’re booking leave or participating in an interview for a new team member.

This creates both friction and a training challenge for the second group to get the most out of applications. No matter how intuitive a UI is, a user still must switch mental context and understand the language and mechanics.

Mobile apps were the new revolution in enabling users to interact with applications and services. However, creating another dedicated interface for applications didn’t really solve this context switching problem. User’s just don’t download or use apps for services they user sporadically.

This is why we’re starting to see the next generation of UX innovation happen outside of dedicated applications.

Slack is the most high profile crucible for this kind of innovation in the enterprise world. Slack is an app that employees will install on the phone so they can use it wherever they are. They’re already in Slack both on desktop and mobile so there is minimal context switching. And it supports the kinds of ‘chat and click’ interactions that allow relatively complex features to be access with a guided user experience.

Applications like Lever are expanding the collaboration hiring functionality into Slack. Team members who are already in Slack can easily interact, comment and support the hiring process without switching to another application. GoCo provide absence reporting and management from within Slack.

Calendars are now revealing themselves as the next interface to enterprise applications, especially in HR. So much of HR workflow is schedule based that users can’t avoid taking decisions without referring to their own or their colleagues’ schedules. Use of calendar APIs rather than read-only ICS feeds turn calendars into real-time integration points rather than delayed reporting tools.

Anton Roe, CTO of MHR who have been delivering HR software for over 20 years, said: “We’re seeing a dramatic shift in focus away from HR departments and directly on the employees themselves. The consumerisation of enterprise software and the efficiencies gained from empowering employees to perform personal HR operations requires a new approach to building software.”

With recruitment platforms connected to employees calendars, prospective members of interview panels no longer have to maintain availability in an application. They just keep their calendar up to date and this is automatically reflected to the hiring manager or the candidate when an interview time is selected.

Booking holiday becomes as simple as an employee creating an event in their calendar. That’s where they’re making the decision about when they want to take holiday. Creating the required holiday can trigger the authorization flows so the manager can approve wherever they are, be that email or via a Slack interaction.

Performance management meetings can be automatically tracked, changes responded to and follow ups triggered. All by the HR application automatically monitoring users calendars, not relying on users to keep the application updated.

Roe goes on to say “HR systems today need to have the employee front and centre and must require minimal training. Leveraging chat systems and native interfaces like calendars provide people with natural user experiences that just work wherever they are.”

Chat and calendars represent the next vanguard of application interactions. They are native to computing be that mobile, desktop, car, smart home or otherwise and are already core to users’ workflows. The most successful applications of the next few years will leverage their pervasiveness and commonality to take computing where people are.

About the Author:

Adam Bird, CEO and Founder at Cronofy

Adam Bird is Founder and CEO of Cronofy, the unified calendar API. He’s a highly technical and experienced technology entrepreneur with a passion for continuous improvement that pervades every aspect of his life.

Adam can be shortly described as a technical founder and problem solver with track record of success. Expert post rationaliser.

Entrepreneur and developer with previous success as co-founder of Esendex.

Husband, father & wannabe rock guitarist as time allows. A lover of cycling and craft beer but he never really got on with having a beard for that hipster hat-trick.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium | GitHub


If you want to share this article the reference to Adam Bird and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.