Sep 23 2021

The Role of HR in Digital Transformation

“HR plays a very critical role in shaping the Digital HR strategy within an organization, not only from understanding stakeholder needs, but planning for the roadmap. ”

by  Sriram Iyer, Founder & CEO,'s Tech Talks focuses on engaging with HR & HRTech Subject Matter Experts to unearth trends & insights in the realm of HR Technology.

In this edition, we talk to Sujay Bhat, Director- HR Technology Strategy Advisor, SAP SuccessFactors.

Sujay is an HR Strategy Advisor at SAP SuccessFactors and has over 20 years in the Human Resources space. Sujay works with organizations to help them define their Human Resources Technology Transformation roadmap and craft out the integral role of SAP’s Cloud HR Technology to support in executing people practices and driving transformation to achieve business results. This involves working with organizations from the design to project execution stage.

Here are some excerpts from the discussion with Sujay:

Significant business and talent trends in the marketplace: The trend that bleeds into HR is that employees are consumers as well. So, when they are experiencing digital automation and digitization in their lifestyle as consumers, they would require the same level of consumer-grade experience or consumer-grade experience within HR as well.

Role of HR in the digital transformation journey for the hybrid workforce: HR plays a very critical role in shaping the Digital HR strategy within an organization, not only from understanding stakeholder needs, but planning for the roadmap, looking into change management, and looking into adoption….So, in a nutshell, we're talking about Agile HR with the impetus on the quick digital transformation.

Why do organizations hesitate to invest in HR Technology? Some of the challenges that cause enterprises to delay the adoption of HR digital transformation initiatives are:

a. Articulation of the need or building that value case within the organization.

b. Understanding the current landscape, how to blend new tech with old/existing tech

c. Ownership conflict of HR digital transformation: is it an HR project or an IT project?

d. Quantifying and communicating to the business about the various benefits, value points, value levels, or value drivers that you'll be able to unlock over time.

How to present a business case for HRTech Investment? For organisations to build a business case and present an ROI on the proposed investment, it has to be a completely holistic view. I call it the ‘5W Approach’:

a. Why do you need to do it?

b. What needs to change? Are you changing the experiences of employees, culture, or mindset of rapid automation to better interact with business?

c. When do we do this digital transformation?

d. Where do you start this initiative?

e. Who are your internal champions and internal stakeholders?

Last but not the least, what is the total cost of ownership? What are the tangible and intangible returns for a 3- or 5-year period?

Advice for enterprises looking to embark on their Digital HR Journey:

a. Start where it is most significant to the organisation; it's very important to show quick wins

b. Having a roadmap is very critical.

c. Do not underestimate the importance of change management.

d. Understand what is significant in material to you (and your organisation and employees) rather than the long list of features and functionality that exists there today.

e. Invest in a centre of excellence (COE) for technology to be able to maximize your investment.

Sriram Iyer is a Human Resources practitioner with around two decades of experience in the areas of HR Technology, Workforce Planning & Strategy, Talent Supply Chain, Employee Engagement, Talent Branding and Acquisition & Client Management. Based in Singapore since Jan 2012, he has strong exposure to the JAPAC region and has a knowledge of the cultural nuances of the region. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he has also played leadership roles with NCS (Singtel Group Enterprise) and Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions in Singapore, running large scale talent initiatives across regions. He is a proud alumnus of National University of Singapore (Singapore) and Symbiosis Institute of International Business (India).


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