Team Zalaris

On Digital Dexterity, Everyday AI and the End of Humanity

— My reflections from the Gartner Digital Workplace Symposium 2018 in London 

“Something was not right. After the symposium’s final keynote speech, while leaving Waterloo — facing Big Ben and the setting sun — I was crossing Westminster Bridge on the north side and came face to face with crowds of kids. In order to avoid having to plough through them, I crossed the street (looking left, of course, and nearly killing myself in the process). Once on the south side of the bridge, I found myself facing the entire refurnished Parliament building and the glamorous Big Ben under restoration. THE Big Ben! Oh, how magical it was to see Big Ben IRL for the first time! Tick that off my premature teenage Bucket List. I snapped a ridiculous selfie with the famous landmark halfway across the bridge behind me — a selfie I deleted moments later and have replaced with the free Pixabay one below since my daughter hates my selfies anyway…

 

…On the tarpaulin in front of me I read that Big Ben has 239 steps. 239! That many? Wow! I crossed Westminster Bridge again, looked left again, and almost killed myself in the process again when I heard an ambitious two- or three-foot tall kid running up from the Metro station with his entourage screaming: “There it is! THERE! See it?? “The Eye! T-H-E EYYYE!! C’mon! RUUUUNNN!!!”

…Running…Shirt & tie flapping out of sync…

I turned around, facing the big wheel I had left only minutes before, puzzled, bags-in-hand posture like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down,” realizing…behind me, Big Ben, 239 steps, policemen…where history was created. The Old HR as we know it. In front of me, the next generation: cafés, experience, excitement, entertainers, wedding pictures, the Eye, the future, where magic will happen.

Behind me? Gartner and all their “CIO clients” at the symposium, frantically running across the bridge. In front of me? HR & cloud HR, still not taking the lead on stage, showing the way…Why?

…Now, hold that thought for a moment! I promised to share my takeaways from this event in “Three Reasons Why Zalaris Will Join the Gartner Digital Workplace Symposium in London.”

So that’s where this brings me. The symposium was great from a content perspective. Gartner rocks there. However, it was a big eye-opener for me on how it was delivered — by whom and for whom.

1. We Must Build Digital Dexterity

“Digital dexterity is the ambition and ability to apply technology to improve business outcomes in order to drive digital transformation.” — Gartner

I don’t think “dexterity” will survive outside UK, if at all. Replace it with “savviness.” That’s crisper and hipper — what you expect from a digital nomad that does not work in the office but from where he or she is, collaborating globally. Dexterity is a tough and stiff word (like dyslexia is a humiliating word for people who use it, if you ask me…which you didn’t, but I told you anyway).

Let Big Ben represent compliance and process-centric, as-is, rigid HR, which, as we know, is being restored. As a matter of fact, cloud HR has reached the tipping point from a license perspective. Great news. HR is currently settling on the Waterloo side, pondering over the next thousands of agile releases in their ever-turning wheels of reinvention, whereas CFOs and the CIOs are still battling by the foot of Big Ben’s 239 steps. Hard stop.

Let the London Eye represent an organisation that’s increasingly focused on employee experience, engagement and contribution capabilities, one that leverages the benefits of a role-based networked organisation.

If so, the Gartner Digital Workplace would typically represent the bridge between these two realities, a connecting bridge we all must cross to close any increasing productivity gap between what is possible and what we currently leverage from the digital version of ourselves, working side by side with peers, externals and a growing digital workforce. The survival of the fittest companies.

HR is getting there but still does need to transform many organisations — not only their processes — and capture data that was not captured before. Crossing the bridge was just the start. Hearing Gartner and their CIO entourage communicate that we need to “build a digital workplace” feels like kicking in open doors. It’s not about technology. It’s about people, emotions, innovation, collective learning.

So…who should take the lead for digital “savviness”?

Gartner claims “digital dexterity” is the ambition and ability to to build a digital business while also working digitally. Like my hipster friend. Like me. One should, and I quote from one of Gartner’s excellent reports…

  1. Use a digital workplace initiative to drive long-term cultural change in the workplace.
  2. Focus on key moments in the employee experience where cultural values are paramount, such as employee onboarding.
  3. Exploit short- and long-term planning to maximize the impact of cultural change in the digital
  4. Make the connection between the physical workplace and cultural change.

…How should we build that bridge? How do we make our staff cross it and love it?

You’d think HR would own and set the scene for such an organisational change and its design criteria for an agile digital workplace. Not really. I hardly came across any HR or genuine HR perspective. CIOs overshadowed HR here with their toolboxes, how to use embedded analytics, and so on.

I am not critical. The axe is sharp. It can be deadly and useful. But why spend so much time talking about the axe itself rather than focusing on what to use it for and why?

The Gartner overall business model is 70 percent about technology selection and 30 percent about its implementation, I learned in the VIP session. The two-day digital workplace symposium reflected this revenue stream in words, titles and sponsors, with a general heritage CIOs mindset of technology selection, its implementation and featuring (thank you) good elaborations on the mastery of aspired behaviour-related critical success factors around digital savviness from Gartner’s Claire Moncrieff (ex-CEB). Some of the things she covered:

  • We need networked leaders (yes, to survive in a de-centralised, role-based network)
  • We need a connecting manager (yes, to enable collaboration and collective innovation)
  • We need staff who embrace new technology (yes, not just because, but because it is possible)

Our learning consumption will also change as smarter automation replaces adequate tasks:

  • 37% of the skills employees use today were learned in the last year!
  • 66% of employees expect to learn and develop just in time!

Just these five insights are compelling enough to call for an assessment of your organisational fit within current challenges. It’s about people and change. For any classic, cost-oriented HR practitioner who is cognitive by design, this is not news. This is what HR wants to do and should do, but many times does not dare to do, lacking support and investments, stuck with restoring their Big Ben stuff.

Technology is not providing something new, per se. HR can finally get what they have been missing for years. CRM, SCM, ERP and finance has been transformed radically over the last three decades, but HR is still stuck with compliance reporting.

Now it’s HRs turn, and HR is actually leading the race to the cloud! It’s as if the CIOs of the world are finally catching up with the realities of cloud-based HR. Cloud HR licensing has reached the tipping point and now exceeds on-premise HR.

I believe we can expect both the CIOs and CFOs to do even more in future HR transformation projects, reinventing what HR already knows. It does not change the fact that CHROs should own this, from process to employee experience.

My view: HR is already there in the cloud. We have crossed the bridge of no return. CFOs and CIOs are stuck with their on-premise system and obviously need to catch up or defend their historical power. But I hope HR’s focus will change the digital workplace in terms of ambition and capability. They hire for attitude and train for skills. That is not a technology or CIO discussion, even though the CIO has major challenges amidst the transformation of their own organisation when we cross the bridge.

HR is the one facing these changes fastest. Or should, at least. However, we all need to become more digitally “savvy.”

2. Embrace Everyday AI

Yup. If you can’t beat it, join it. The future is clearly on the Eye side and not the Big Ben side.

Will the productivity gap reflect the polarisation gap in the world? Gartner showed the “Match of the Century” when Lee Sedol was almost fully beaten by Alpha Go in Go. Beware of God’s move 78.  The end of humanity as we know it is close.

Go is the most complex game in history. Winning is about creativity and intuition. It’s true reflection of life. If AI can beat humans in Go, we may be nearing our expiration date. Scary? Suck it up! It’s time to embrace everyday AI. Denial is not the way forward — acceptance and adapting is.

 Through 2022, few jobs are fully replaceable, but most occupations will have at least some activities augmented by AI; most AI technologies will be embedded in broader products rather than assembled or created from scratch.” — Gartner

With a relaxed and smiling Matt Damon-like performance, Adam Preset walked us from prediction of horror to acceptance of everyday AI. Great pitch. We can’t stop it. It will come. So why wait? You can and should do something, learn something and discover something on a daily basis with what you already have.

AI will not come as an evil robot with fierce eyes and useless teeth, representing the worst version of ourselves. AI will come as an algorithm and (hopefully) be something you can reason with. Remember, it can beat you in Go, so it probably knows better what food is better for you.

I liked Adam’s approach, too, because you need to become someone that is able to co-work with a digital workforce — like Siri, Alexa, or your personal Watson/Henry. Try out voice recognition, digital assistants and embedded bots. Everyone should have one. The capacity is there already.

His message was plain, though. Don’t fret. Start small. Augment over time. Learn from your kids.

Helen Poitevin also reinforced the same message, referencing her — and one of my favorite — recent Gartner document, “Future of Work Scenarios 2035.”

Scenario planning is a useful exercise for outlining general direction as well as indicators of necessary immediate actions for an uncertain future. This approach must be relevant for any company to lay out their own AI roadmap pragmatically and start embracing benefits and mitigating risks from AI. At least have a structured discussion about any unknowns in order to make informed decisions.

Since this is about employees — the total workforce, external and internal — one would think HR again should own this future clarity on digital savviness working side by side with toothless algorithms. After all, 50 percent of HRs baseline workforce will be external in a couple of years and 20 percent of the manual tasks will be automated. That leaves 40 percent of the current baseline workforce that you will retain.

“Who are the 40 percent? What are you doing to retain them? What are you doing with the CPO, with the other 40 percent, and the CIO with the rest? Will you let the external workforce accumulate all strategic skills?” — Here I actually quote myself, Sven Hultin, just because I can (great fun)

 The scenario planning from Gartner follows the two dimensions for demand & supply outlined by BP in the 70s, which is the normal and useful approach. Here, they considered the impact of AI, the gig economy, emerging business models, evolving skills needs, and the level of inclusiveness. The factors are:

  • Demand: Will people reject or accept Machines?

VS

  • Supply: Will technology have strong/broad or weak/narrow capabilities?

It leaves the reader with four scenarios, good, semi-good, bad and really bad, including the scary-teeth versions of ourselves. Gartner names this scenario the “Minibot Proliferation”: I’d rather have a bot do it/Bots can’t drive/Bots have gone bad.

I recommended any Gartner client go read and do the exercise.

3. Buying CEB was the best thing Gartner has done recently

Gartner research is comprehensive and succinct, but it is still not aligned with the emerging buying process of services and compelling experiences. At Zalaris, we have been HR pioneers in the cloud, with steady growth since our founding in 2000. We sell a service.

I still hear uninformed, smaller advisors saying it’s not possible to do what we do. Gartner doesn’t really target our clients since they’re looking for a service provider, and not a system, even though that is where the emerging market is.

Having said that, Gartner and CIOs around the world — their historical key targets — need to speed up their own value proposition with a growing revenue contribution from cloud-based service providers and related implementation increases. Gartner’s acquisition of CEB 2017 makes a lot of sense because of this. I realise now I should have gone to the ReimagineHR event instead, hosted by CEB, as it is more aligned to HR and the other LoB that must cross the bridge with CIOs in the coming years. Bummer.

The Bottom Line?

I do value Gartner’s insights and contribution to Zalaris’ overall direction and success. As an old advisor, taking selfies with Big Ben in the background that my daughter would hate, I must ask, though: Who is advising Gartner on their own value proposition and customer experience?

My reflection is, like any reflection, in the eye of the beholder. Like the kid in Westminster, I came running for the Eye but ended around Big Ben.

Please reach out to me to continue the dialogue on HR’s continued transformation. I don’t care if you’re inside Big Ben, hesitating, or running across Westminster Bridge, or sitting still in one of the cabins on London Eye wondering, “Now what?” — Call me!

At minimum, we can tell you what not to do as a trusted advisor. We started 18 years ago. We’ve been on your journey.

Sven’s responsibilities at Zalaris focus on value creation and go-to-market strategy for the company’s cloud HR/talent management business. He joined the company in 2014 and also manages Zalaris’ global advisory relationships. Reach him on LinkedIn, @klingerii, or by phone at +46-72 544 42 61. E-mail at sven.hultin@zalaris.com.

 

Industry 4.0 Premiers in HR Mission

When it comes to buzzwords, this one breaks all the box-office records.

Even if you’re not familiar with the Industry 4.0 label, what it encompasses likely weighs heavily on your mind and is hopefully gaining traction in your enterprise. Suffice it to say, the business world is afire – or some may say under assault – as multiple i4.0 subplots converge and collide: mobility, analytics, cloud computing, automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things, to name a few of the stars.

It’s like an adventure movie through “cyber-physical systems” that never stops unfolding.

You’re probably familiar with preludes such as the Industrial Revolution, when water and steam mechanized production. Electric power debuted next. The Digital Revolution, which has already riveted everyone for years, is segueing into an i4.0 blockbuster you can’t help but see emerging everywhere you look. And it’s just beginning, although it’s a lot easier said than done.

How will it end?
Most enterprise leaders struggle with everything that’s happening because all the “studios” producing the software, devices and ingenuity to make i4.0 breakthroughs possible didn’t exactly write a fool-proof script to make them work together. Nor would you expect them all to conspire behind the scenes and share trade secrets and innovations with a unifying purpose. That’s pure fantasy, of course.

Your company’s i4.0 success depends on an unprecedented level of vision and methodology.

I suggest a short intermission. Forget the hype and clichés. Catch your breath. This perpetual-motion picture won’t be ending in our lifetimes.

One of the most intriguing plot twists centers on the HR function. In a sense, this shouldn’t be a surprise that the area concentrating on your people serves as the main story line. They are the audience, and your success in this i4.0-manic society depends on your management and staff making better, faster decisions while getting more efficient access to reliable information.

Turn up the lights
Before going on with the show, it’s time to seriously assess where you’re at – and if you have an overarching i4.0 strategy in place. Keep in mind that the systems you deploy, whether ascending in the cloud or traveling on the road, will have profound HR implications. In fact, the narrative should literally emanate from your people to the customers you serve and partners that help set the stage.

Mobility has shifted into high gear, from choice to imperative. Legacy solutions likely ran their course long before you could think about altering them. Security challenges have grown epically in scale. Sophisticated analytics enable deep meaningful dives into data previously shuttered in darkness. Factors like these will make or break your business, and past revolutions should fuel your i4.0 motivation.

Being left behind in the wake of i4.0 advances will have disastrous consequences. Customers will ultimately head for the exits if you can’t keep up with fast-evolving related demands.

Although it’s not as simple as flipping a switch, you should consider all that i4.0 entails to illuminate comprehensive strategic direction. It also wouldn’t hurt to have at your side the guidance and perspective of a multi-industry expert in cross-border human capital management solutions. HCM should be a fundamental platform for your company’s i4.0 future.

Rolling, speed…ACTION!
For most anyone at the helm of a large or midsize company, i4.0 looks more like a daunting cliffhanger than a sure bet. In a way, it’s planning for the unexpected by establishing a cost-effective long-term means of dealing with the innovations of today as well as tomorrow.

Most critics agree that outsourced HR solutions are a big part of the answer. Among many reasons is the commensurate ability for your company to focus more sharply on core competencies, with internal HR resources devoted to the most strategic aspects of people, processes and productivity development. You naturally want all these elements to harmonize as i4.0 accelerates in your environment as well as in the competitive landscape.

We welcome the opportunity to have a lead role in the i4.0 undertaking with you. After nearly 20 years specializing in outsourced HR and payroll solutions, Zalaris’ experience and partnerships can put your i4.0 future on an ideal course. We’ll help you separate the facts from fiction – and deliver on budget as well as on time.

Give us a call, and we’ll come audition for you!

Ingrīda Štālberga is the Country Manager for Baltics at Zalaris. She is in charge of local service deliveries in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as nearshore organization across all Scandinavian countries. She joined the company in 2008.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the SAP SuccessFactors Q3 Updates

The gig economy. Analytics. Design thinking. At Zalaris, we understand better than anyone that navigating the digital transformation journey is the key to the future success of your business.

That means enabling and empowering your people with modern tools to unleash their full potential. That means SAP SuccessFactors, the integrated, cloud-based HR software that helps streamline global HR processes and take advantage of today’s innovations with respect to your workforce.

Last month, SAP rolled out their quarterly improvements to the SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite in a series of announcements. As a partner of SAP for nearly 20 years, we used our expertise in HR best practices to dive deep on the latest changes and study how they will affect you.

In fact, our team broke down the updates in-depth through a series of blog posts, offering full reviews, additional insights and bonus materials related to the release.

This Q3 release certainly called for the red-carpet treatment. It contained more changes overall than each of the previous two quarters and included a higher proportion of changes (50%) than before that require user action.

SAP is working to upgrade SAP SuccessFactors in many ways, from improving systems for end users and administrators to creating new functionality in the suite’s foundation to enabling a more rapid return on investment from your most flexible resources.

Throughout our blog series, Zalaris’ HR specialists discussed specific new updates to the suite, including:

  • Wider SAP product capability
  • Improvements and design changes in the Android app
  • HCM module platform rationalisation
  • Fiori design improvements
  • New Visa and Permits Management application built on SAP Cloud Platform and integrated with Employee Central

Our UK Insights page has nearly 13,000 words of content on the subject split into five parts, so go check it out if you want to stay up to date on all the changes to SAP SuccessFactors.

Remember, while the series is over, this is just the beginning. If you are interested in SAP SuccessFactors, please reach out to us via our contact page or by email. We look forward to sharing our expertise with you soon.

Stephen Burr is responsible for the successful delivery of HCM consulting projects by the Zalaris HCM Consulting Team in the UK & Ireland. Having originally joined ROC in 1998, Stephen transferred to Zalaris following the company’s acquisition of ROC in 2017.

 

Three Reasons Why Zalaris Will Join the Gartner Digital Workplace Symposium in London

The demands of the digital transformation are clear and present for any executive attending the 2018 Gartner Digital Workplace Symposium in London.

A successful approach calls for engaging with employees in new ways — and literally valuing people. Research has shown that prioritizing employee experience during your digital transformation drives better customer experiences and leads to greater revenues.

However, you also know that this is much harder than it sounds. It’s easy to get caught up in standard processes and basic infrastructure and find yourself stuck in the past. To get the most out of digital, you have to break out of the box.

A successful approach to the transformation calls for a multifaceted strategy that spreads across your people, processes and technology.

That’s where we can help at Zalaris. Our decades of expertise in HR and commitment to maintaining best practices and processes ensures that your employees will enjoy a holistic experience that leads to high value and productivity.

Whether you are part of your HR management team, architecture, infrastructure & innovation, or application management, learning to value people can transform your company’s success.

The Gartner Digital Workplace Symposium is a great opportunity to do this. How can you make the most of your time? Here are three reasons why we view the event as a necessity for us that may give you a few ideas:

1. We want our clients to stay on top of the digital workplace, using what we call “smart automation”

At Zalaris, we believe it is crucial to leverage the benefits of ongoing digitization early in the maturation process. Doing so drives innovation across all aspects of our value proposition — how we sell, how we deliver, and why we deliver.

That’s why our work focus is on people. We want employees to thrive, and our experience in HR and HCM outsourcing gives us insight — and advantages — when it comes to common engagement struggles.

You don’t have the time to keep up with HR trends. That’s our job.

We work hard to create an integrated employee experience through our solutions and services that propels greater engagement, retention and productivity. We also focus on remaining digital-savvy at all levels to help you face the new reality that more and more, tasks and processes will be completed by algorithms and supported by embedded intelligence.

That means we’ll be thinking often about topics such as:

• Combining best processes and practices to guarantee a culture fit when scaling your digital business, especially in the cloud

• Helping you adjust what you do effectively and efficiently in order to keep up with the best software solutions

• Targeting behaviors and attitudes in the digital workplace to ensure employee and customer satisfaction

• Processing the full impact of artificial intelligence in the workplace and beyond

Zalaris is dedicated to helping you create value, reduce costs, and ensure low-risk operations. We didn’t become a European leader in HR transformation, outsourcing and BPO on accident. But we also will not become overconfident — rather, we are extremely humble. Constantly looking for ways to improve our process and our own transformation is the fuel that guarantees your continued success with your employees to close the productivity gap of what is possible.

2. Our clients in the HR space trust us as an advisor and enabler for success

Zalaris is transforming our clients’ HR operating models into fully digital, “one-truth” realities. You need to focus on what drives value while learning how to manage today’s developments, such as treating the contingent gig workforce the same as your core workforce.

This is still just the beginning. Getting to the cloud is not the destination but the entry point.

Working with a trusted partner and advisor in multi-year, multi-country, end-to-end engagement leads to less risk for you, and more room for success.

Which leads me to our final reason for attending the Gartner Symposium…

3. To meet you!

We need — and want — to be alongside our clients at every stage of the process. Whether you’re utilizing applied design thinking to unlock the employee experience, “future-proofing” the workforce with digital dexterity, or preparing an HR roadmap once in the cloud, we’ll be right alongside you.

In the modern business world, everything from the selling of the idea to the evolution of your company to running the company to adapting alongside technological innovation is business as usual. We want to run the race with you for each new release of your HR model.

If you’re in London for the symposium, you’re there for a reason. Your reason is why we do what we do. Always start with that. We’ll take it from there.

Sven Hultin will be at the Gartner Digital Workplace Symposium for two full days. Find him on LinkedIn, @klingerii, or by phone at +46-72 544 42 61. E-mail him beforehand at sven.hultin@zalaris.com.

 His responsibilities at Zalaris focus on value creation and go-to-market strategy for the company’s cloud HR/talent management business as well as its global advisory relationships. He joined the company in 2014.

Fasten Your Seatbelts and Click into HR 2020 – a Clear Vision of the Future

As we look ahead to 2020, the future of human resources has already become abundantly clear.

The “people experience” takes on unprecedented importance and value. Technological innovations align, streamline and optimize service levels on an international scale. Routine administrative tasks continue to reap the benefits of automation and self-service options in highly secured online portals. Sophisticated human capital management (HCM) solutions will be pervasive in enterprises of all sizes.

Yes, this HR outlook has its roots firmly entrenched in today’s trends. The “promise of cloud” and “one truth” – with fully integrated HR systems – has already arrived. Related best practices bring the advantages into sharp focus along with stronger privacy controls and regulatory compliance standards.

To help illustrate the opportunities, realities and expectations, we developed this HR 2020 guide that also covers keys to successful business process outsourcing (BPO) partnerships.

There’s plenty to look forward to in the HR years ahead, as well as no shortage of concerns and challenges, including shifting workforce expectations and an increasingly gig-oriented economy awash in dynamic mobile demands. These are progressive yet daunting circumstances, to say the least.

Where’s Your HR Transformation Today?

Companies that delay modernizing their HR functions, however, have a lot to lose and nothing to gain by waiting. The time to act is now.

We’re not advocating this stance just because Zalaris has emerged as a top provider of HR, HCM and payroll solutions. We are passionate about helping companies transform HR in ways that are ideal for their environments and objectives. Our experience makes a profound difference, regardless of industry type, backed by local-language experts and specialists for all dimensions of the HR equation.

Our new HR 2020 report leverages extensive market research combined with Zalaris’ HR best practices and industry knowledge. It offers extensive insight into the trends, strategies and primary considerations that all enterprise leaders – not just HR executives – face today and as the future unfolds.

Here are some of the topline takeaways you can learn more about in HR 2020: Key predictions and guide to successful BPO best practices and solutions:

• Shared Services will continue to grow, increasing efficiency and cutting cloud costs

• Automation will create more strategic HR functions — not fewer overall jobs

• Advances in analytics will drastically improve recruiting, onboarding, training and more

• BPO value, design thinking, mobile, and security will drive HR decision making

Milestones Worth Celebrating

2020 will be a milestone year for Zalaris – our 20th in business, focused entirely on HR, HCM and payroll solutions throughout our history. These are our core competencies, all powered by one common IT solution with harmonized processes.

Such distinctions enable our customers to focus more intently on their own products and services…what ultimately differentiates or creates competitive advantage for them. That’s among the rewards we both derive from partnership. It’s a collaborative process with clearly defined milestones and ROI at every juncture.

To sum it up, we are more than ready for HR 2020 today, and we will continue to work hard at improving every aspect of what we do until then and beyond!

Download HR 2020 here.

Hans-Petter Mellerud is the founder and CEO of Zalaris.

HR Analytics: Let’s See How Far We’ve Come

If we’re being honest, the way HR used to do analytics was kind of a mess.

Managers dedicated hours to a frenetic process based largely in old data, wading through a web of disparate solutions to try gleaning insights that, frankly, weren’t all that illuminating. All of the time spent manually inputting information and building custom reports mostly failed to teach us anything useful about the future.

HR professionals were left gasping for air, weighed down by overly complicated, outdated solutions that were stuck in the past.

Things have changed.

Now, user experience is at the core of HR analytics solutions. You don’t have to be a BI expert anymore to overcome logistical difficulties. Anyone can collect, analyze, simulate, plan, predict and report using any data, in one screen, at any time — without waiting for IT support.

This shift has been spearheaded by analytics tools with predictive capabilities, capturing data for the purposes of forward-looking budgeting, collaborative revenue forecasting, long-range strategic planning and more.

These new solutions are also based in the cloud, enabling better integration, clearer visualization and real-time data management.

Doesn’t sound like so much of a mess anymore!

We recently implemented a leading cloud-based analytics solution, SAP Analytics Cloud, for an 8,000-employee enterprise client in the UK. Our expertise in this kind of solution also led to a substantially faster rollout relative to traditional BI projects of just six weeks.

It’s innovation in action with deeper value.

Additionally, think about just a few benefits of cloud-based analytics that older approaches simply couldn’t provide:

• Instant access from desktop and mobile
• Personalized dashboards that tailor the user experience to specific roles
• Collaborative workflows that optimize resources while increasing engagement, accountability and productivity

That last point is crucial. This new approach to analytics empowers all workers across the spectrum to do their jobs more effectively. In turn, your organization can elevate its strategic value through the HR function, utilizing unique insights and predictive outlooks through data.
A commitment to a more sophisticated approach to analytics in the cloud will benefit your entire organization. Embrace this shift.

If we’re being honest, it’s the only way to go.

Thomas Meis is Executive Manager of Analytics & Business Intelligence at Zalaris. He joined Zalaris in 2017, following the company’s acquisition of ROC Global Solutions Consulting Limited. You can follow him on LinkedIn.

The New Route of ‘Design Thinking’

Perhaps you’ve not yet heard of the concept – design thinking – but I think you’ll be familiar with the rationale behind it.

In a world where so many different types of technologies and methodologies are converging, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters. When it comes to intelligent enterprise transformation, the objective is to change with the times, but that doesn’t mean change for the sake of change.

It’s about change for the sake of progress, of course, but more importantly it’s still all about solving complex business problems. Suffice to say, most company leaders understand their challenges and opportunities better than anyone else. The reality is they typically don’t know how to most effectively address either side of the spectrum.

That’s where partners like Zalaris enter the equation. We provide independent perspective and the advantage of understanding best practices across multiple industries and platforms. Design thinking begins with exploring what needs to be done and why – not just from an IT standpoint. In regard to HR design thinking, this point is extremely important.

1+1 = Ideal Outcomes

The melding of technology and processes should be seamless on any HR transformation journey. By starting with design thinking, you get to the heart of the issues and requirements while developing solutions that are both long term and squarely focused on what matters most to you, your people and the company’s future.

Design thinking takes into account how both processes and technologies are evolving to achieve the right overall outcomes. After completing the exploration phase with all relevant stakeholders, the actual design stage proceeds based on the ideas and desired end state. This is where prototypes and validation occur, followed by actual delivery. Testing, implementation and deployment complete the cycle.

What’s different about the cycle today, however, is that the cost of “missing” your targets can be catastrophic. Moving to the cloud, for example, can create more difficulties than it solves when done wrong. We’d also like to think that we can innovate with the flip of a switch someday. This wish is likely moving further away in the digital universe instead of getting closer.

Now more than ever, the call to action is design thinking.

Little Room for Error, Huge Opportunities

Back up. Know where you’re at and where you want to be. Planning and execution have little room for error. And if you don’t take into consideration how the tech world is evolving in parallel – or not – with fundamental process engineering and advancement relative to HR and other functions, your approach is immediately at a disadvantage. Too much is at stake if you fall behind before even getting started.

Labels of the future are already here today, from AI and machine learning to far more sophisticated analytics capabilities and the Internet of Things. All of these factors and more need to be part of your thinking today. Your design thinking.

Smart Design, Intelligent Enterprise

The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Zalaris has decades of experience empowering its partners on the path to success. We will be there to support you every step of the way.

You also should not view the notion of design thinking as all that foreign. As outlined above, it’s not entirely new thinking. It’s in many ways a return to roots, pragmatism, solid planning and well-tested execution. Disruption without the disruption. Innovation that’s well-grounded in purpose, contributing to the overall intelligent enterprise direction.

Do you view your enterprise through the lens of design thinking? If not, now is the ideal time to open your eyes – and HR future – to this approach. We are ready to help you go from mere thinking to design thinking with a resolute purpose that will radically improve your people processes and performance!

Balakrishnan Narayanan, Executive Vice President APAC, Zalaris ASA.

 

Are You AKTIV Against Cancer?

— Value People

The phrase isn’t just something we say at Zalaris. As a company dedicated to HR outsourcing in more than a dozen countries, it’s something we live out every day.

We also practice this within our own company. Creating a positive and uplifting work environment has long been a primary focus at Zalaris. We strongly encourage our employees to stay in good physical shape. Workplaces that motivate and encourage exercise are proven to improve employee job satisfaction, reduce sick leave and increase the opportunity to live a long, fulfilling life.

Since 2007, AKTIV Against Cancer has also worked to encourage physical activity, albeit for a different — yet often overlapping — group of people: Cancer patients.

Heartfelt Contributions

We are currently conducting a fundraiser supporting AKTIV Against Cancer. I have seen many people affected by different forms of the disease over the years, and we cannot stand by and do nothing. We have long worked to help cancer research, including through participation in “Movember” and partnering with AKTIV Against Cancer since 2014.

Our goal is to deliver a big check to the organization on the 4th of August 2018, at the finish line of the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon (in which I am participating, to ensure I put my money where my mouth is!).

All of the money raised will go toward building more AKTIV Against Cancer physical activity centers called Pusterom (“Breathing Rooms”) in hospitals throughout Norway, where courageous patients can carry on with physical activity despite serious diagnoses.

Join us in this great cause by supporting our fundraiser or creating your own! Together, we can show cancer just how much we value people.

 

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