Why HR is betting big on technology?

Let’s just say this upfront. Technology implementations are hard. A lot of research and evaluation goes into every tech purchase. Aside from racing against the clock for roll-outs, there is organizational change management to be considered as well. What this does is set the enterprise up for some seriously high expectations of their technology implementations. Most of the time, they’re seen as a potential silver bullet to a tech problem that has risen from a business problem. A lot of the time, they’ve been disappointed.

In the current HR tech scenario, this has panned out as follows:

An over-reliance on platforms as a single point solution for program administration has led to lower satisfaction
Programs have not necessarily been designed with an adoption mindset – without this, it his near impossible for meaningful people experiences and actionable insights to emerge
The increased prevalence of organizations that are yet to figure out their HR Technology strategy is indicative of organizations where HR does not lead the thinking on technology decisions.

It is no wonder then, that our APAC wide study, shows that organizations in the region are struggling to get value out of HR platforms they have invested in. Only 45% of the respondents say they are either highly or somewhat satisfied with their HR technology. And while giving up would be easy, we still see a fair bit of optimism emerging out of the learnings from legacy tech investments.

For one, consolidation of HR platforms is on the rise in APAC. With a dip in prevalence by nearly 10 percentage points from the previous year, the shift from the ‘best of breed’ mindset is evident. Besides platform maturity, the benefits of consolidation for organizations include optimised cost of ownership, better user experience and seamless data integration.

Secondly, over 60% of the respondents are considering fresh technology investments over the next 1-2 years. In fact 80% are already evaluating advanced technologies such as AI and automation use cases and building scale for future investments. Process automation, machine learning and chat-bots are likely to see the maximum growth when it comes to robotics adoption in APAC.

What all of this is driving towards is some key tipping points that APAC HR leaders believe will define HR tech by the time 2020 rolls around.

80% believed that decision making will be analytics based: This is an area that will probably be the most important for HR, and possibly its most difficult habit to break. Data-backed governance has the least confidence of CHROs. Yet, the willingness to act and improve based on data will critically impact the future of the HR function.
50% are certain that performance management will be AI based
80% said transactions would be voice enabled
50% said wearables could drive HR processes

Lastly, companies are now looking at the total cost of ownership of IT platforms, based on the value they deliver, as opposed to merely looking at licensing and deployment fees, which indicates improved maturity and supports the shift to cloud. In fact, analytics engine, suite comprehensiveness and user experience now account for nearly 50% weightage in evaluation processes.

It is evident therefore that HR tech is a space where the adage “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger” holds true in more ways than one. Not only are HR leaders considering new investments, they’re also looking at a large portion of these investments going into cutting edge technologies that will enhance HR’s service delivery mindset and drive the ultimate user experience.