Is technology an enabler for HR?

In the last decade, technology’s impact on the way the world lives, interacts and engages has changed every rule of the game. For industry, and HR, the impact is two-fold: If done right, technology’s ability to support scale and minimize risk is unmatched, potentially enabling CHROs to focus on key strategic areas as processes are enabled at the back end by technologies, now available on tap, as it were. Equally fundamental is the ability of technology to predict employee behaviour patterns and link massive amounts of data that emerge out of our corporations and teams to yield critical insight that supports decision-making. At another level, however, technology is changing the manner in which today’s talent makes its choices, engages within its own community, expands knowledge and collaborates for individual – and often, collective - gain.
Linked to this is the growing reality that company reputation today lies not just in one controlled area, rather, it lies in the hands, more than ever before, of every employee. As the science fiction series said – the truth, today, is really out there.

Many organizations use the term SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) to describe how they are leveraging technology for innovation. Ramco prefers to define its efforts as MUSIC: mobile, Ux, social, in-memory, and context-aware. The last part – context-aware – is especially important. A great deal of employee time and company resources typically gets wasted on inane processes: checking in or out of offices, remote locations, client meetings, and so on. When someone from one office visits another, time gets lost in making register entries, enabling laptop access, etc. Instead, if one’s systems are more context-aware, it is possible to bring in huge efficiencies. NFC and GPS technology has indeed made the attendance systems efficient contributing to organization’s efficiency.

While NFC based attendance enables the employees at the project locations to mark their attendance, GPS-based check-ins and check-outs from different locations, client offices, and dealerships has been extremely useful during client visits. The system automatically calculates how long someone may have spent, for instance, at a client’s office, and this helps avoid time-consuming cross-checks and manual entries. Attendance registers are almost wholly GPS-based, and integrated fully into payroll – which cuts out discrepancies in billings, as well as delays in pay-outs. Supervisors, meanwhile, can view real-time dashboards on their smartphones, allowing them to move resources across locations quickly and effectively.

For instance, sales guy informs the system (his boss) that he’s checked-in at a specific client location. This enables the manager to know what clients his team member has visited in a week. The duration of the meetings can be indicative of how productive the meetings were – perhaps the manager can start with meetings that took a longer time – which means that the customer should interest etc.

At another level, Ramco is embracing technology by moving from human capital management (HCM) to human social capital management (HCSM). Like many firms, it actively uses social technologies – from LinkedIn and Facebook to Twitter – to recruit people, or to run background checks. More crucially, it has put on the Cloud – even its EPBX system is Cloud-based – to the extent that very few hard disks spin in any of its offices.

In an environment of disruptive technologies and fast-changing business models, what companies need, more than ever, is to be able to attract – and hold on to – the type of talent that can drive them forward. As important, however, is to create the conditions that allow Gen Y-ers to work effectively and in the manner they want.

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