In Conversation with Nishchae Suri on HR Digital Transformation

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The impact of technology is evident in each business function and HR is no exception. Technology is driving both transformational as well as disruptive changes in the industry today. HR function has to play a crucial role in helping organizations and their workforces navigate through the maze. We are privileged to have with us Nishchae Suri, Partner & Head of KPMG Academy to share his thoughts on both transformational as well as disruptive changes in Industry.

Nishchae has over 21 years of rich experience in the areas of leadership development, HR transformation, talent management and strategic rewards for large global and Indian multinationals across more than 25 countries.

Nishchae – a Gold medallist in MBA from SIBM started his career with Hewitt Associates where he became the youngest ever global principal at the age of 30. After spending 12 years in a variety of leadership roles, he began his journey as an entrepreneur where he served as a founder member and President of an innovative business school – School of Inspired Leadership. Prior to his current role at KPMG, Nishchae was the Managing Director of Mercer.

Nishchae is an eminent member of the CII Leadership and HR Council; and has served as the President of National HRD Network (Delhi-NCR Chapter), along with being a board member in his capacity as National Treasurer. A teacher at heart Nishchae serves as a faculty member of ‘World at Work’. A thought leader in the HR fraternity, Nishchae is an invited speaker to numerous national and international industry bodies and associations.


Q-How do you see HR is evolving and what is role of technology?

Technology advances, changing nature of jobs, rise of the gig economy and the hyper-connected workplace are trends that have led organisations to reconsider the how, who and what of work. With the growing bond between people and technology, the foothold of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, automation, robotics, virtual reality (VR) and analytics is expanding in modern workplaces to effectively hire, manage and retain the workforce. Technological deployment has gained grounds in candidate sourcing, onboarding, employee communication, engagement, learning, talent analytics and performance management. This technological wave is what will allow HR the freedom to make work radically more human: personalised, collaborative, flexible and meaningful to the workforce.

Q-Where have we reached in AI & machine learning, is best yet to come?

There have been huge advancements in the fields of AI and machine learning, however, the future possibilities are innumerable. Healthcare, E-commerce, financial services, transportation and manufacturing are few sectors which are globally accepting and implementing them. Despite the progress made so far, AI still has a long way to go before achieving what is known as artificial general intelligence – when machines are able to think and act in such a way that they can be mistaken for humans. Some future trends that are expected to have a huge impact in this space are deep reinforcement learning, automated machine learning and language learning.

Q-Are AI, machine learning and blockchain technologies ultimate? What’s ahead you see to come?

Technology is constantly evolving, and for better or worse, is making progress towards ease, speed and sophistication each year. Apart from these three technologies, advancements in internet of things, augmented reality, virtual reality, 3-D printing, drones and robots are poised to reshape our world. It is important that business leaders begin to learn and think about how to harness their potential.

Q-How to structure an effective & successful digital transformation plan?

The key ingredients of a successful digital transformation plan are developing a digital mindset, gaining stakeholder commitment, design thinking, moving to agile HR, using data to inform decisions, creating a change management strategy and cultivating a climate of learning. There are some common denominators that must underline all transformation decisions. One of the most important of these is to have a ‘business first’ paradigm. By adopting a business-integrator view, rather than a systems integrator one, organisations can see through trends and help ensure a suitable fit. As a checklist, the business lens must consider people, service delivery model, functional process, data and reporting, and governance. Further, while structuring the plan, it is useful for organisations to consider value opportunities such as marketplace advantage, productivity and quality. A fit for the purpose solution could then unite strategy with the available market-driven options.

Q-How do we bring about greater adoption and minimize resistance towards technology within the HR team?

Technology may supply us with the insight to solve problems, but only people can provide ingenuity, judgment and experience. Leaders can convey this message by investing in leadership development programmes and executive coaching sessions to create an environment where technology is not viewed as the be-all, end-all, but leveraged to aid productivity.The onus is on all of us to reflect the ethos of technology amplifying and not replacing human touch to emerge as the ultimate winners at the forefront of this revolution. Clear communication, engagement, phased implementation and a feedback loop are crucial elements to secure buy-in for new technology within the HR team.

Q-HR technology is undergoing a disruptive period, what are HR technology disruptions ahead?

 Some of the biggest disruptions that are expected to shape the future of HR technology are HR in the cloud, mobile enabled HR solutions, people analytics, continuous performance management, AI-based systems in corporate learning and recruitment and virtual reality.

As these technological trends gather speed, organizations must reconsider how they design jobs, organize work and plan for future growth.

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