Why HR Needs To Embrace The Digital Age

Susan Walker

Stack of File Folders on Businessman's Desk --- Image by © Helen King/CorbisIs your Human Resources (HR) department stuck in the dark ages?

While businesses race into the digital age at breakneck speed, the HR departments attached to those companies are often running to catch up, or are simply forgotten (or left behind) in the company’s quest to get ahead.

There are a few reasons why HR departments have been a little slower to the technology table:

  • HR systems are often separate from sales or operations networks, which need to keep up with the competitive pace of business. Since HR is an internal system, it may have lower priority than customer or operations management.
  • Some HR divisions use legacy systems that contain several years of highly personal employee data, and the thought of disrupting that can be overwhelming.
  • Some companies have multiple systems for different areas of HR, such as one system for training purposes, another for compensation and benefit packages, and yet another for employee performance reviews.

If these systems have been working for years, why should HR change?

According to a recent report by Accenture and SuccessFactors, an SAP company, HR operations need to change to be more streamlined, and more agile to keep up with today’s ‘always on’ workforce.

The report, called Building the Digital HR Organization, states that digital technology is shaping the future of Human Resources, and it outlines three ways that technology will disrupt how future HR departments operate.

Digital technology is driving change for HR in 3 key ways:

  1. Allows new approaches to delivering HR services. Employees already engage with social media and other mobile tools regularly, so why not engage employees on their own terms? HR can use familiar technologies to reach employees in new ways, and use multiple channels to provide HR services anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
  1. Makes talent management easier. Technology can help extend HR to the organization, allowing managers and employees to manage their own profiles and perform many other processes in a self-service format. This can help with recruitment, onboarding, training, performance reviews, and even career path strategy and succession planning.
  1. Enables HR customization. The HR department can use technology to act more like a marketing department, by tailoring messaging to specific groups, customizing employee options, and focusing on individual or group performance measures.

The report warns that if HR departments don’t adapt and embrace some new digital technologies, they run the risk of becoming obsolete, which could deter some potential employees in today’s tech-savvy market.

The above information is based on the report, “Building the Digital HR Organization,” by Accenture and SuccessFactors, an SAP company. Copyright ©2015 Accenture.

Learn more about How Digital Technology is Disrupting HR (And Why It’s A Good Thing).

For an in-depth look at how digital technology is changing business, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

Discover the multiple factors driving digital transformation in the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

Want more on cutting-edge HR technology? See The ATR Alone Is Not Enough.


Susan Walker

About Susan Walker

Susan Walker leads SAP’s Global Strategic Technology and Global Strategic Services Partner Marketing organization. She is responsible for SAP’s alliance marketing vision, strategy and execution across the company, with a strong focus on leveraging and extending leading-edge innovation to enable customers to transform their businesses.