Digitalization is a hot topic. I had the opportunity to explain its profound difference from digitization in a number of events and discussions during the last few months, and definitions seemed to resonate well with HR and IT leaders. Their next question was: What we should be then doing differently with our HCM technologies?

Let’s take a step back. As CEOs embark on the digitalization journey, they have to optimally blend the characteristics of the business and the workforce. This inevitably points to the following questions:

  • Talent: How do we ensure that we are acquiring and retaining skills in vital roles with extreme shortage?
  • Organizational structures: How do we enable our talent to engage and perform within organizational structures other than the typical hierarchies?
  • Diversity and inclusion: How do we make sure we have the proper workforce diversity across its aspects, coupled with an inclusive culture to make our people thrive?
  • Digital dexterity: How do we enhance the ability of our workforce to leverage and manipulate information and technology in unique and highly innovative ways?
  • Flexible and personalized HR services: How do we move away from “one size fits all” or redundant HR services into more intelligent, personalized, tailored approaches, which save time without compromising effectiveness?
  • Data and insights: How do we leverage business intelligence to provide actionable insights rather than intuition to make the right people management decisions?
    Many of these constructs will likely continue to transform as organizations figure out how to work effectively as digital businesses.

And as those evolve, three elements combined make up the ideal HCM technology framework for digitalized HR:

  1. Robust, consistent operation of technologies on a day-to-day basis.
  2. Orchestration of technologies into concrete, role-driven experiences.
  3. Relevance of experiences to the organizational purpose to deliver business outcomes.
    In our latest research “Focus on Business Outcomes When Leveraging HCM Technology in Your Digitalization Journey“, with colleagues Mike Burden and Ron Hanscome, we propose a different way to evaluate HCM technology providers than putting together an RFI/RFP packed with technology features. Technology providers have to be assessed, among other criteria, on their ability to:
  • Drive continuous innovation and flexible solution design
  • Orchestrate features around experiences while keeping their architecture simple
  • Provide robust cloud infrastructure and ecosystems with complementary partners.
    These elements will make a huge difference toward key ingredients of the digitalization journey: agility, personalization and data-driven decision making.

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John Kostoulas

John Kostoulas

John Kostoulas is a Gartner research director focused on human capital management technologies and processes.