Posted by Chris Havrilla on March 20, 2020.
Organizations put a lot of faith in HR technology. And collectively, they spend billions of dollars on it to drive change and generate value.1 But most organizations aren’t getting the value they expect. While almost 75 percent of respondents in Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends study rated HR technology as important or very important, just 6 percent believe their HR technology is “excellent.”2 That is a huge gap. In order to use technology effectively to help enable the transformation necessary to be competitive and meet the needs of the business, the workforce, and customers, organizations—and especially their HR leaders and technology professionals—need to act now to close this gap, or likely risk falling even further behind.
The vision versus reality
HR cloud technology offers increasingly agile, data-driven, and personalized solutions and has become a foundational part of the digital transformation strategy for many organizations. Cloud tech has helped many HR functions make strides toward cleaning up their messy back office.
The vision for HR cloud often involves lowering costs, improving productivity, and creating simple and compelling user experiences for the workforce. However, the reality can be quite different from the vision. Organizations are trying to figure out how to employ, optimize, or justify this technology—or any other technology—to actually generate value from it.
The tremendous opportunity to “rewire” an organization’s approach to HR technology was the inspiration for our first-ever High-Impact Technology Strategy study3. Our base hypothesis was that most organizations lacked having a technology strategy and the right mindset to rewire the organization to meet business goals. That hypothesis carried into the thought that many organizations were viewing technology as an “Easy button” fix and relying on the implementations themselves to serve as the strategy.
Four core findings have emerged from this study that underscore the role of an effective strategy in maximizing the potential of HR technology. Two of these findings are:
- An effective HR technology strategy targets critical outcomes, but less than one-third of surveyed organizations have one.
- An HR technology blueprint illustrates evolving investments and alignment to strategy and outcomes, but less than half of surveyed organizations have one.
Putting the focus on people and a plan
Technology is—without a doubt—disruptive, yet powerful and helpful. It is transforming the world of work. Organizations are right to expect it to be part of how they solve problems and create value. But instead of becoming masters of technology, many organizations have let technology master them. No technology or tool has ever solved a problem by itself. Humans, with tools in hand, are the problem-solvers.
To start or to change course, and move in the right direction, organizations should have a clear notion of what they are pursuing and why. What are the problems the organization wants to solve? What is the value the organization is trying to create? How does any and all of this help the organization and its workforce? Once these answers are clear, the organization can identify how technology can help it traverse from current state to future state.
The human element must be prioritized in all of this. Organizations aren’t machines; they are comprised of people and behaviors. For the organization to digitally transform, these people and behaviors will need to transform to coincide with new ways to use technology. A human-centric / worker-centric approach to complex solution development (e.g., design thinking) can help organizations navigate the strategy and outcomes.
Answering important questions related to HR technology (e.g., “Now what?” and “How?”) require a transformational mindset4 and a framework approach 5. It also requires a technology strategy—built through collaboration and integration across HR, IT, and the business—that can help the organization address disruption and the new world of work, and use behaviors, processes, and technologies to more effectively pursue anticipated outcomes.
Take the next step
Do you want to learn more? Are you ready to address the issues and opportunities associated with HR technology and HR technology strategy?
To read more about all four findings, Bersin™ members can access Four Top Findings Make the Case for HR Technology Strategy as well as additional articles, tools, and resources from the High-Impact Technology Strategy study (located within the HR Tech Strategy topic page). Our continuing articles in this series will take a deeper look into the many aspects of this subject.
If your organization is innovating in the area of HR technology strategy, we’d love to hear your story. Contact Chris Havrilla (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you aren’t a Bersin member but want to know more, visit the Bersin website.
|Chris Havrilla is a vice president and the HR technology and solution provider strategy & research leader at Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP.|
1 HR Cloud: A Launch Pad, Not a Destination, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Insights / Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz, Indranil Roy, et al, 2019.
2 Leading the Social Enterprise—Reinvent with a Human Focus, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Insights / Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz, Indranil Roy, et al, 2019.
3 High-Impact Technology Strategy study, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2020.
4 Fostering a Transformational Mindset to Maximize Disruptive, Powerful HR Tech, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Chris Havrilla, 2020.
5 Interactive Technology Strategy Framework, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP Chris Havrilla, Erin Spencer, and Charu Ratnu, 2019.