Across industries it is now evident that to build a sustainable advantage, the Human Resource function of an organisation has to take on a more strategic role, rather than spending time with iterative administration functions. This is where IT has proved to be the great enabler. In larger organisations we have seen simple functions like payroll and leave administration, to the more complex but process driven functions like performance management systems and learning & development, being automated, thus allowing HR managers to focus on aligning HR strategies with overall business strategies. As the HR outsourcing space becomes more and more competitive, we will see smaller outfits benefiting out of HR automation without having to shell out stupendous amounts in building their own systems.
Planning your company’s HR technology needs for the future is an easy task – if you have a crystal ball. We cannot offer you a crystal ball, but we will try and make sense of the emerging trends and thus try to envisage where technology in HR is going.
The need to control costs will, as always, drive key trends in 2007 and in the near future, while companies strive to optimise their HR technology investments and gain greater returns. In identifying these dominant trends, The Human Factor looks beyond the latest ‘gee-whiz’ gadgets and brings you those which are actually solve business needs and produce tangible bottom – line benefits. Although ability to deliver rapid ROI was a consideration, some trends suggest that best practices can be made even more effective and accessible through technology.
The top trend includes increased access to technology, at the workplace and away, while keeping ROI in mind. Access to virtual workplace systems is becoming a given for most technology or technology - driven organisations. The growing focus is also on optimising current HR systems. Interestingly though, quite a significant number of HR leaders still felt that while investing in technology systems, HR was still a backbencher, and investment came either as an afterthought or because of zealous HR champions within the senior leadership.
For HR managers who have still not been able to garner significant investment in HR systems, the best option possibly is to show the cost – benefits of the system - the ‘numbers’ which are easily understandable by the ‘bean counters’ rather than esoteric workplace benefits. It then makes sense to concentrate on systems and processes that have the biggest budget impact – processes that affect most people the most number of times. When the cumulative impact saves hundreds and thousands of Rupees, people sit up and take notice.
At Human Factor, we will continue to bring you the latest in HR from across the globe, our abiding principle being that we deliver articles that are relevant, robust and rewarding to the HR community. Your candid feedback as always is sincerely appreciated.