The digitization of business is here. Customers demand a seamless buying experience with real-time access to information, intuitive interfaces, personalization, immediate fulfillment, and global consistency. The innovative technologies enabling digitization – mobile and cloud computing, Big Data and analytics, social networks, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things – are no longer futuristic concepts. They are our current reality, dictating the way business is done.
Employees expect the same experience from their working environments, which is where HR has a crucial role to play. As an HR executive with over 20 years of experience in this field, I find this to be a particularly compelling time to be in HR, since the HR function is spearheading digital transformation for employees, managers, and the company overall.
Because organizations must comprehensively redesign their businesses to stay ahead of the digital curve, HR professionals must also rethink their HR strategy and reconfigure people processes, skills, and roles. There are significant opportunities to deliver mission-critical contributions to our internal customers across the key roles that differentiate the HR department:
- As a strategic partner and change agent, HR must challenge – and in some cases reinvent – all HR activities along the entire employee lifecycle. Doing so allows HR to support the strategic direction a company takes to succeed in a digitized environment.
- As an administrative expert and employee champion, HR needs to offer its services according to employee expectations in the digital era. For example, ubiquitous, always-on mobile access to HR services is now the minimum standard. Employees want to manage their lifecycle inside the workplace in much the same way as they experience their lives as consumers on Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Skype, etc.
Digitization has brought to us the technological means to make quantum leaps in social, economic, and business development. But people enable this to happen, and HR holds the expertise to support employees in taking full advantage of this new era. What a great opportunity to demonstrate the importance of HR to the enterprise!
For more on HR’s role in the digitization of business, see How Emotionally Aware Computing Can Bring Happiness to Your Organization.