HONO Chairman Rajesh Padmanabhan and COO, Co-Founder Randeep Singh @ SHRM Webinar
As organisations are looking at deep transformation in terms of business models, clients centricity, agility, digitalisation and more, here are thought leaders Rajesh Padmanabhan, Chairman, HONO and Randeep Singh, Co-founder & COO, HONO, along with Amit Sharma, Vice President, Head People & Culture, India Volvo Group and Sudeep Luthra, Head – Human Resources, Orange Business Services, India taking questions from Nitya Vijaykumar, Senior Knowledge Advisor, SHRM, on ‘Enabling Business Success through Business Transformation’. This conversation was a part of the SHRM Webinar Conference held on July 26, 2022.
Nitya - Business success is often the right balance between prioritizing people transformation and organization outcomes so what are some of the ways that organisations can achieve this?
Sudeep - It is a very interesting question; it is relevant to today’s times. We have seen a lot of disruption the last two years due to COVID. And the way we do business, it has gone under a big transformation. And people transformation become much more important because people have to change with changing times. Today, I would say, people transformation is one of the key elements for the business success. Because we are living in a VUCA world. When we talk of transformation, there are a couple of things that come to mind. First of all, transformation is to unlock opportunities, or it is to drive growth – growth for the organisation, or may be to deliver new efficiencies. So, we need to build models that will actually deliver efficiencies. Because our macro environment has changed. And now when you talk of transformation, for me, it should happen when everything is going normal. As a business, as a business organization, we should not be reactive. It shouldn’t be reactive transformation, it should be very productive transformation. And this transformation must be planned by leaders much in advance, when the business is operating at an optimal level. Now the question is how you foresee. Some changes are abrupt, but a lot of time we can foresee and as leaders we need to foresee what others can’t foresee. So that’s going to help us prepare for transformation. Now how should it happen? The preparation should happen much in advance. Where there is buying from the top leadership. Leadership behaviours are going to drive the transformation. And we need to have the buying from the influencers. Every organisation would have certain number of influencers, and definitely the leaders, so leaders need to be prepared, the influencers need to be prepared and then we should actually strategize, how we are going to put that transformation into action. Now what should be covered in the transformation, definitely it is the technology solutions for any organization today, whether it is into manufacturing or services or any other sector, technology is the key element. And we need to have a focus on the technology solution that any organisation is using so that has to go under a little bit of transformation. We also need to focus at, in order to achieve efficiencies, processes and tools that we have. So, processes and tools also need to undergo transformation. The kind of infrastructure we have, that needs to undergo transformation. But when we are transforming our processes, our tools, our infrastructure; we need people transformation as well because ultimately people are going to run these processes or they are going to be impacted because of these processes and tools. So people transformation becomes very important. And when we talk of people transformation, what comes to my mind is the skillset. We need to actually foresee what’s the skillset that is required by the organization in the future; where we are today? So, if we are operating in a certain way, and we have to move from point A to point B, how fast I need to move my people skillset, from whey they are and to where we want them to be.
Because people are going to drive this transformation. So, improving and working in people’s skillset for tomorrow, I think, that’s very important. Transformation, the way I look at is, not a continual improvement. Continual improvement might happen in a little bit slow manner. But, transformation, when we talk of, is something which happens at a much faster rate. It’s a planned intervention. And it has to happen at a faster rate. And there, people need to play very crucial role. Also, I would like to link it with the cultural aspect of it. We need to build a culture where the changes are not restricted – when we talk of transformation, there is going to a change, and we need to build that culture to communicate the value of transformation. Communication is going to very important. Communication that we have just started with transformation is not going to serve the purpose, to tell people why we are transforming, and how people are going to be impacted because of this transformation. And also make it very clear how people are going to contribute to this transformation journey and then what’s in it for them. What our employees and team members gain out of it? So, I think these are some of the areas we need to work upon and definitely to implement we should have co-construction approach – a more transversal approach when you talk of people transformation, organisational transformation, rather than top-down approaches. Unless, everybody is involved – so it has to be a movement within the organisation. It can’t be imposed on everybody – that you have to transform. It has to come from within. So, everybody in the organisation should see that value that yes, ‘we are transforming because there is a change in the business environment, a disruptive competition that has come up, or there is some change in the government regulation. This could happen due to various reasons, may be the scale and size of business has undergone a major change. Earlier I was a 5000 employee company, but today I am a 20000 people company, and my geographical reach has changed. So, there could be various reasons. So we need to have definitely people’ involvement. This has to come with a lot of trust and may be with empowerment to the people. So that’s my little take on this question.
Nitya – Amit, what are your thoughts on these?
Amit – Apart from what Sudeep just has talked about, and those were pretty relevant points. The larger intent, if I look at, when we say balancing priorities, people transformation, organisational outcomes. In my view, there is nothing to balances between the two. It’s very simple. People transformation will lead to your organisational outcome. Also, it’s a cause and effect – this entire process. One leads to another. I can’t expect an organisation to change if I am not having my people to change in terms of their ways of working, their behaviour, or mannerism or whatever.
So for me, there is nothing about balancing between the two. This is a critical step towards it. So for that, one of the fundamental things according to me – Is there a common purpose in this transformation? At an organisational level, is there a larger horizon which everybody is chasing – which is a purpose – and if that’s aligned and then we’re able to create that alignment in the people; the organisational outcomes will automatically start to happen. People know where we are going. In large organisations, people are doing their things within their own silos without having a larger picture that what is the magnet we are chasing, what is the larger picture around the horizon. So that’s for me, is the point number one in terms of this process.
Second piece is, very critical about – continue to focus on what really your values are at the organisational level. If you’ve defined certain values – those values have to be linked with what as a business you want to achieve. See, there is nothing right or wrong about value. Sometimes organisations put some nice fancy words out there, but sometimes they are in complete conflict with what your daily behaviours are, or what you really manifested on ground. So that is very important. Let’s say in the organisation, speed is the value; your people processes also need to be focussed upon. In some organisations, consensus is a value – that we will do things which is in alignment with everybody – we’ll not go solo; then speed will get compromised, let’s call it out. That is perfectly fine. So, be very clear, what organisational outcomes you want to achieve; what values are in alignment with that. Start inculcating that in the people. Then people will also see congruence and they will also see a larger purpose of alignment around it.
The third piece – I would say is – identify what are the behaviours required to achieve the business outcomes; what are the values that you would want to display, now that’s again equally important. If there’s a behaviour that is biased for action, then call it out. But in some places, it may be, let’s have a more thoughtful plan of action. They will be two different sides of spectrum. So, what behaviours are you trying to inculcate in employees. So create that and start working towards it. So outcome has to define the behaviour and those behaviours are then need to be transmitted and people are supposed to exhibit that in the organisation.
Then, create those right reinforcement mechanism to see that if that is really happening or not happening. If it is happening, how do you really further reinforce it and if it’s not happening; are you giving power to everyone to call it out and say this is not happening in alignment with the behaviour that we have set. And then we need to do something about it. So that empowerment needs to be all across the organisation. We just can’t leave it to the leaders to do it.
The last piece I would say is, as a leader, you need to walk the talk. Without that, things really don’t work. I can put 100 of things in terms of people transformation but if I am, myself as a leader, not following that, people will very clearly call out the bluff and say, may be we are not serious about it.
Those are the things, I would reiterate – it’s not balancing, it’s one that leads to another. We really need to focus on what behaviours and what kind of transformation we need in the people, based on what is required by the business. So, it first goes back and then goes front. That’s the way, to me, it works.
Nitya - On that note, let me move to Randeep. What factors do you think should organizations keep in perspective before identifying right technological solution for adoptions so as to ensure business success before we’ve clearly called out that technology is the way to go about this?
Randeep - Transformations are built bottom up. Now-a-days, it not at the top or bottom – it is the middle where the transformation really happens. It drives that. Building on to that, what you’ve asked me is a very potent question that every organization that embarks on transformation have to answer mandatorily. The first point – it is five or six point’s agenda that one needs to drive. When you have to look at factors which need to be kept in mind while you identify the right technology solutions.
First – the biggest factor which I always propagated with my client- with the kind of industry segments – diverse industry segments we are working with is – have you identified the right problem that we are trying to solve? I think it is the biggest factor – It could be a strategy, it could reflect on process – it could reflect on anything inward-out. If you are solving the wrong problem, you’re definitely going to go wrong in the technology. That is the first consideration that we to put. The calls for leadership to get together or the entire organization to put their thoughts through, the organizations need to consider.
Second point of the course is – do we have the backup to be leading this transformation? Now the backup could be teams, it could be processes, it could be talent, and it could be anything that could us embrace the change or transformation. For me, are we prepared to take on this transformation – of course it comes to communication, it comes to very good clear thoughts the management percolays down and bottoms up – everything is so resonant in the organization that you’re for a change. This is my second point that one needs to consider before you even, adopt or look at any technology solutions that you would want to get into.
Also, from a technology perspective, and from a thought perspective, - are we future ready? Do you want technology just to be a project or do you want technology to be a value system? That makes a difference. You have to look at both these axis when you are plotting you transformation journey for an organization. So, are we there in terms of taking technology or the transformation to the value system of the organization because projects roll in and they roll out? That’s how it is in the organization. But transformation once in, stay with the organization and they decide the future. I think that is the critical factor – which is – are we future ready in terms of thought, and also in terms of the technology we are trying to adopt. That is point number three.
Also of course coming on to the numbers of technology, are we really clear about the total cost of the ownership of technology both from softer side to harder side. Have we done cost-benefit analysis, have we put our numbers in pace, do we have right stakeholders who are sponsoring this transformation or technology adoption in the organization is something that clearly defines business success. Because till the time you are not engaged, you are not sponsoring; technology just becomes a pocket where you would try to build some excellence which just fizzles out. This is the third or fourth point for me.
Also, we almost take the industry or competitor analysis for granted. I think, we need to do a research right there. What is my industry segment actually adopting to? Of course, that should not be the bench mark. But what is it that is the trend that is setting in the organization or in the industry or of course the practises that are being set up in the market. I think, that really defines the real perspective that the organization needs to take in identifying the technology solutions, Also, I believe, user experience – because technology and transformation bringing a lot of feedback that comes from users who will adopt to that technology.
First is adaption, second is adoption of technology. Are we keeping user experience in mind? Are we future ready – And we are going to talk about disruptive technologies – AI/ML. deep learning, so on and so forth. But are we really keeping that user in mind who could be the personas which could be diverse, because we are dealing with at least three to four generations in our work culture. How do we blend that? How to fizzle or how to transition it out in terms of adopting the technology.
And, finally, of course the partner you choose to implement the technology. It is very important. What’s the competitiveness level, how do you look at the strengths that the partner brings in while you are actually adapting a technology or buying a technology. And you are clear that this partner is going to take you through the entire transformation journey and not leave you in between. It is something very important for me. I mean, top of the mind, these points which I can think of. But out the panel, if you want to add to it.
Nitya - Randeep mentioned about clearly trying to understand whether we are ready for this transformation; clearly calling out the cost-benefit analysis, having the right leadership support. In such a dynamic environment, there are so many things are changing in a day-in and day-out. Do you really think when an organisation steps in to a transformational journey, it is really easy to call out all these aspects. You are leading one global organisation. From your experience, do you really think it’s possible or you would want to call out top three-four things, that you know (Baki Sab Dekha Jaega) but at least let’s have these when we move ahead.
Amit – It is difficult and there is no good time to start a transformation, because when things are going good, the reason is why we need a transformation as everything is going good. When you are in bad times, you will say, things are not good this time. Let’s not disrupt anything. Let it stabilize, and then we will do it. But the points Randeep raised are very critical and it is really important to call out the need.
First and foremost thing, which I would say is, what is the need that you are trying to solve or what is the burning platform – where is the issue. Otherwise, what will happen is, it will come as a fad, be there for some time, and after that people will stop using it. Because there was never a need for it. And I’ve seen many organisation, where we’ve brought in technology, thinking that there is a need, but when we went into it, we didn’t see people really hooking onto it; realized that probably the need was what more we thought is the need. Let me give you an example. Personally I would call it a failure. We lost an internal collaboration tool – like a Facebook kind of a tool - in one of my previous organisations. We said, let’s have an internal platform where people will interact with each other, collaborate with each other, share good moments, happy moments, stories, all of that. Why? Because we thought it is good for collaboration, bring people together and it is good for good larger cultural building. After a year, we had to drop it and said that we aren’t renewing it because the usage of that tool was hardly about eight to nine percent, and in spite of our best efforts. And we realized that probably people didn’t need it; it was organisation who thought it was the need. We thought people need more collaboration and we thought this is the way it will work. Whereas in terms of people, they were anyway having other means to come and interact with each other so it was really not a solution.
So I think, it is very important to understand that what the real need in the organisation is; without that anything wouldn’t work.
The second important piece is where you are – what is the larger culture in the organisation. Again, I come back to one of my previous experiences. I remember when we moved to emails for the first time, we still had certain senior people who would still ask their assistants to take a print out and insert that into the input tray and say – this is my mails for the day and what is that you need to do.
Because the culture was very paper-driven and even when you send communication by mail; it was not really accepted. Rather, sometimes there was communication that was sent by mail and then it was fax that used to happen later. Fax was considered more authentic because it had signatures rather than email communications. From the culture stand point, you need to think where you are, without that things will really not work.
The third important piece is the middle management – and Randeep talked about the key here – We conceptualize things at a senior leadership level but where it really touches the employees, is through the middle management. If that layer is really glued onto it, and if you are really understanding what you need to do, and championing that technology transformation – things will get cascaded down. If that layer will be cynical, and say, there is other thing that is coming up and let’s continue with our internal processes the way we are doing; you will never have that transformation – or that digital transformation or a technology solution.
And the last piece is about – what are your internal workflows. Are you willing to change your internal workflows or not. I will give you another example. In one of my experiences, we had a huge headcount requisition process. At any hiring, you need to go till the level of global business head to take a sign off. And when we implemented that technology, it was a grandparent principle – a manager will do it, it will go to manager’s manager – as a technology tool, we said we are empowering.
But what happened was, two systems were created – there will be an offline process which will go to all the way to business head, it will get signed up from there, it will come back and then this manager will raise a record there and then it will go to the grandparent and will get an approval. Then what’s the point of having a technology.
So understand what your internal system is, are you willing to take that change or not – it is very critical. Otherwise things don’t work. When you look at the solutions – what are really the do’s and don’ts; you have to take care of it internally. That will make it effective.
Nitya - Thank you Amit and Randeep for giving some beautiful examples. Sudeep, very quickly – any thoughts on this?
Sudeep - Just to add – I was listening with great interest – what Amit just said, in my opinion, transformation should bring in value for the customers and for the employees. Also, it should create simple processes, and reduced time-taken, and great efficiency. If you’ve efficiency and simplicity out of it, it will be successful but if it is more complex for the employees or the customers, it will be challenging.
Nitya - So keeping things simple is what should be the mantra as we start exploring solutions in this transformation journey. Let me move to Rajesh. Rajesh, you have worked with multiple organizations, and in your experience how can data analytics be used guide this people transformation.
Rajesh – Let me try and bring out what data analytics can really do. I will start with a little bit of context on data analytics as sometimes it is loosely understood in terms of analysis and analytics.
First and foremost, HR as a function has been immensely qualitative. Qualitative when I say, I mean a lot of heart and soul we bring along to the mind to function. But this is the first time when there is a lot of demand as far as the quantitative aspect of the HR is concerned. There is a good amount of stuff that we would have created in the last decade with respect to the art of the job but now is the time to blend science along with this.
Can we get a little predictive? Can we use data that is actually giving a lot insights to build our foresights into the future? Etc.
That’s the context. And I am glad we have done good amount of work at HONO. By no means am I trying to say we are successful at every single aspect of it but we are trying.
Let me try and bring to the applicability level so that it doesn’t remain just a technology language or remain a domain language. Let’s look at the lifecycle.
I am not going to touch some of the conventional stuff. Let me get to the recruitment part of it. The recruitment part of it, the way, the sourcing. The screening and the selection part of it is done. A lot of movement has happened on it. But some of the newer stuff is coming into play. Which again will become if not now, there will be a huge realization, a future coming and that is relevance of data analytics.
People are demanding – show me the show rates. There is a lot of now show happening so you roll out so many offers. Can you with reasonable amount of predictability predict what are the kinds of show rates that we are going to have? Can you predict good amount of success rates so that we do a lot of external hiring. With the belief that this guy is going to settle it and will be the really integral part of the organisation. That’s the intuition, that’s the belief that’s the endeavour. But can you predict it much in advance whether this guy – and I remember Amit speaking culture quite a bit. So can we get a little bit of success rate with respect to the quality of hire – the cultural blending part of it? This is where science come in, this is where tech with cognitive can really help. So this is one.
Let’s move to the capabilities part of the org. capabilities is fine, we have current capabilities but are we in state to predict future capabilities. So the predictive capability of tomorrow – we do have the skill repository – we do build the huge kind of warehouses as far as skills and inventory are concerned but can we reasonably predict what the organisation will need. And typically the churn we see in future capabilities is as high as 20-35 percent in each industry. That being true, can you silently sit back and not look at predicting capability. I am not saying you get a 100% success but even a 30 % success, 40 % success will set your trajectory right.
Let’s move to the third part of it which I think no one is even talking about – which will become a need maybe five years from now- but have you started to think. I am talking of quant derivatives through data analytics. What it means it- you bring in people, they do their work, and you pay them, right? Now the variables are – the person, the skill, the role, the currency and eventually the contribution. All of this actually are variables that usually come into play. There will be multicurrency compensation. It is a derivative. Just look at an IPL for example. We are betting on people to perform for the next few matches and you actually train them way ahead. That’s what I am talking for the compensation area as well. Again, a very small example, just to leave an impact. People draw on experience. Who on earth said, you need a 15 years-experience guy, a 20 years’ experience guy or a 25 years-experience guy. There is no science behind it. Just comfort.
We get an ‘x’ number of experience, we are comfortable. Now if I can challenge this through data analytics to show that a 15 years-experience guy can be substituted for a 5-years’ experience guy. It is not just to prove a point, the impact is cost. You are liberating 10 years of experience and that is how it is coming into play. So with data analytics, how do you bring, how do you blend productivity and excellence. Let’s get to talent – even in the space of talent, I think that talent to value is the question being asked. Show me the talent to value roadmap. Now these are all hard stuff, right? Which were never asked but being asked now. I am not saying all the answers are there but the sooner people start looking at the mirror, the better it gets. And – predictive attrition is something I possibly tried and tested around 10 years back – road to code – fortunately I had lots of business intelligence guys working for me, they were on the bench, did that. But again this is the need. Nobody is worried about what has already happened. Can you tell me way ahead of time, can we do something about it, and is the real ask. Organisational outcomes, I remember, Sudeep talking about quite loudly. I think those are the stuff we really need to do. So cultural capability’s contribution with credibility and cost is the future, which data analytics can reasonably make an attempt at. I leave you with that.
Nitya – It was truly insightful. And very clearly tying it back to what Sudeep started of this conversation with. Very clearly talking about - anticipating what the need of the future is. It actually is going to fuel your transformational strategy, your business success and in the end it is also going to talk about what is really relevant for the people today. How are we able to use technology, how are we able to use the intelligence to fuel tomorrow is what is going to be the key. Sudeep, any thoughts here? Anything that you would want to add.
Sudeep – In my opinion, transformation is going to be there, it is not going to stop. We need to identify the time and right methodology how to bring about transformation. And as Rajesh also mentioned about data analytics vs data analysis – so we need to keep in mind how technology can help us to identify right solution provided we have the right problem identified. Then see how technology can help us achieve our business objectives and the desired outcomes.
Nitya - So while we are at it Sudeep, we clearly understood that there is the top leadership, there are these people whose lives this transformation is actually impacting. The middle layer is actually where action happens – they are a key set of people who are going to drive this transformation. But having said that, how important or how critical is leadership or top management’s support here. What is the role that leadership actually plays in keeping this as a success?
Sudeep – Well, I think leadership is going to set the tone – I mean, it all starts from the top. Displaying the right behaviour, right commitment, definitely the middle management layer would be convinced that this transformation is for good. So today, it is a question of survival. We are living in a VUCA world. Now, leadership has to convince the middle layer; middle layer has to convince the bottom layers. Basically, it has to percolate down. It is not going to be top-down but somewhere but somewhere it has to percolate down so that it is for the overall good of the organisation; and see that people were sceptical of the change. Their queries and their apprehensions are well attended to. It should be answered. And then, we also need to see that how open and willing people are to adopt new technology. So, it all depends on nature of the industry we are in. We need to set a benchmark – where are we today and what’s the skillset, what’s the level of digital penetration that organisation has seen. So there are certain industries where digital penetration is very high – if you talk about IT sector, telecom sector – it is very high. If I talk about hospitality industry, there – 70-80 percent of people may be don’t have email ids, they don’t have access to the IT systems. There are people working in the front but they don’t have access to IT tools. Each industry will have its unique propositions so we need to see where we are today and where we want to reach and also we have to look at the demographic profiles. So if we have a much younger generation, they are open to adapt a new technology, new solutions. Because they know it’s for their own growth. They want faster growth and adopt digital solutions. Whereas we have people in 50+ age group – let’s look at the public sector banks – 20-30 years back when the digitization happens in the public sector banks, people were not willing to use emails or there was resistance in the railways sector and others. So what kind of demographic profile you’ve and how open they’re to adopt to a new technological solutions – I think – that’s going to make a difference. And also we need to identify at the same time – if we are bringing in new tools, new processes; what do we do to the legacy tools and processes. So can they coexist or do we need to do away with these legacy tools and bring in new ones. So these are some of the things we need to keep in mind.
Nitya – Rajesh, I will jump to you. What is the role that leadership plays when it comes to implementation of the right people-tech transformation strategy? Because, they have the vision, they know what this can actually do. What’s your take on that?
Rajesh – I am going to take you straightway into the boardroom now. From the strategy’s standpoint, there’s got to be a clear technology vision that’s got to be that is really drafted and ensured that there is dissemination. So technology vision is absolutely a leadership responsibility. Now, vision is never over unless you actually put goals behind it.
You’ve got to ensure that this vision translates into technology goals which in turn get translated to scorecard and KPIs.
Number 2, the goals are as good as it can be, only if it is backed by tangible actions. Now, you got to get into the operating plan and ensure that the operating plan really backs up these particular goals. And then finally tracking the result of this entire technology stuff is essential. So again coming back to vision, goals, action, results complete the entire strategy as far as leadership is concerned. I will give you simple stuff which leadership could possibly focus on. First and foremost – leadership needs to listen. They often get into too much of talking and too much of preaching, it is very essential that they really understand and listen. And listening is not just internal to the organization, listen to the outsiders’ news as well. Seldom have you seen processes that get built internal to the organisation. Taking a customer view or a stakeholder view, why not? Who stops you? Supposing, I am sitting in a leadership room, as the CEO of the enterprise, no one is stopping to speak to my customer to say this is my technology mission; this is my vision; can you give me a view around it. I think that will possibly be the best thing because customers are going to tell you directly on your face, they are going to be straight about it. So we never do it. We are shy or we are possibly conscious of the fact that we don’t want to be exposing ourselves. But this is the responsibility of the leadership. Number 2, I have practised this and I have done this – technology to be not looked as a capability but why not – and Amit did speak a lot about organisational values and the culture part of it – why not make technology a value?
We see the kind of change it needs and when you convert it a value, it’s a denominator; it’s no more just a capability or it’s no more a skill. But it’s something which really imbibes and unites the entire organisation together. So technology as a value rather than a capability is number 2.
Number 3 is leadership got to ensure that they really bring in cross-functional teams and technology is not something where it is being driven by only techies. You got to get the domain guys, users; and I’ve heard time and again, the belly of the organization – the middle organisation – which really is responsible for the change has got to bite into it, otherwise technology - you grasp the best of vision and then you leave it to the doers but somewhere in the middle, no one understands what’s happening. Do not be shy to borrow expertise. When it comes to technology, a leader can be as clear and as binary as – whether I know it or I don’t know it. There is no shying away from the fact to say that I don’t understand this but can I learn this. And that is where the strength of reverse mentoring is also very essential. People, mostly organisation are divided into four stacks – and rest of it are all streams. There are influencers, there are decision makers, there are team managers which is the value of the organisations and then there are doers. How do you really ensure this dissemination to make it happen? Reverse mentoring plays a massive role.
The last point is not just showing the agility part of it but the adaptability part of it also. We will fail a hundred times but the agility to get up again and to ensure that what is right, what is needed, what is doable; are the stuff that you need to keep going through iteratively, many times before you’re really in. All this is entirely a leadership. And so long the charter is clear, you will get there.
Nitya – Quickly to Randeep, What are the top three challenges that you think AI-enabled tech is to solve for organisational success?
Randeep – I was just trying to barge in to the analytics part and say one thing that every organisation actually goes through its own evolution cycle whether they hop on to the diagnostic way of analysing HR data or looking at that as a predictive way and then a prescriptive way which is a very advance stage. It is also a function of the evolution as an organization, as a HR function, you are, driving the changes and transformation.
I want to second thought of RP that till the time technology doesn’t become the value system, you can’t achieve transformation. Whether it happens through top, it happens through bottom-down, middle.
Coming back to your question – I don’t see any challenge that the organizations are trying to solve using AI. See, AI has been an overly convoluted topic of discussion in the market. I say, convoluted, because I have seen market, I have experienced market, leading HONO as an organization of course, from a business point of view trying to adopt to AI.
Now, any business, if people think of, would be composed of three things or three elements – one is your product or your service, second is the processes within the organizations and third is people of course which is a very critical element. So, for me, it is not a challenge but of course an opportunity for an organization to look at these 3 perspectives, wear these 3lenses and see what is it that we can do transformative, when it comes to AI or adoption of AI. Because, AI is just an overarching definition. There are so many technologies that lie beneath AI – which could be machine learning, which could be cognitive abilities, which could be deep learning. There are ‘n’ number of terms which will confuse any organization that would want to embark on transformation. But for me, I will come back to the same thing that I started earlier. What are we trying to solve which will define the level of transformation we reach to. Whether through AI or not through AI. But anyway, once upon a time we thought that email was too advanced for us, internet was too advanced for us but we have to adopt it right. So, AI is going to become the truth. Now from these 3 lenses which I can talk about – The first – Product in Strategy. If for example, we go in a home and say, Hi Alexa; now if that gets imbibed in your product, you are reaching to a new level of product innovation. So for me, product gets the first impact when it comes to overall transformation. Also, for a service organization, how are you trying to transform services using AI ability, ML abilities or deep learning abilities in the organisation. For example, in HONO, what we do is, we have integrated Alexa, and Siri Google Assistant in a chat bot. So, I can just talk through a chat saying ‘Who are the people who are on leave in my team for the next week. Can I apply for a leave or not?’ That’s a product innovation, right? That’s how you build your product on AI, so one needs to reflect, what is it that will really take my product to next level, when I am infusing AI into it and of course offering that to the market, as a business, that’s one proposition.
In terms of services, you could think of – anything – transactional level services, you could think of predicting risks, you could think of delivering experiences in terms of services. All that can be enabled through AI and we have got the disruptive technologies in market available to do this disruption. The second touch point is your processes part. When it comes to machine automation, we talk about cyber securities, we talk about so many touch points in processes. You could have a deep impact on that. You could actually be looking at transforming your entire business adopting this AI technology. The entire point is, of course, it is spoken a lot in this webinar is, are we ready to embrace that change? Are we ready for a business as a business to be looking at how do progress forward and how do we adopt those AI technologies. You could look at actionable insights is one process changed, which is deeply impacted through ML or probably AI that you could adopt to. So for me, the keen process is, am I creating a governance, probably a decision making ecosystem which is assisted by AI, which could give you some actionable insights as a leader or leader in your capacity at any level to be driving change and transformation in business.
That is my point number 2. From Process Side.
And finally, from people’ side, it is a Pandora box. You could be looking at experiences, you could be looking at engagement – which we do beautifully at HONO – We are adopting a lot of ML and deep learning that we are going through as a product itself. Where we are able to do some kind of sentiment signatures of whatever gets written in the technology platform - Analyse it and share with people for whom it really matters and who could take decisions on what could be the action that we could take to be handling such kind of sentiment signatures. Right! For me it is product services, processes and people that could get impacted while you are looking at what are the three-four major things, AI can help businesses on. These are all very larger global terms, how an organization needs to pick up what’s it that it is trying to solve in these three pockets. We will come at the level of transformation an organization wants to go through. It is a deep science. Some of the organizations, for example, Amazon in 2017-18, did away with their artificial intelligence program on recruitment because there were some biases.
It depends upon what you want to adopt to. What is it that you want to achieve at the end of it? But, yes, certainly AI, with the kind of creative augmentation that it could give to any current resource in the organisation has the capacity to lead a transformation in the organisation.