While the idea of transformation or terms like the digital enterprise are vague, the business need to use technology is very clear. Source: Shutterstock

While the idea of transformation or terms like the digital enterprise are vague, the business need to use technology is very clear. Source: Shutterstock

How to create a realistic roadmap for your HR digital transformation

DIGITAL transformation, especially within the human resource (HR) functions, can get really tricky.

This is evidenced by the fact that despite best intentions, the failure rate for technology projects within the HR space is still relatively high.

And the truth is, HR departments rarely follow up on their lofty ambitions with appropriate planning, change management programs, and training, which eventually brings their expensive and time-consuming digital journey to a disappointing halt.

Meanwhile, consultants and analysts have not slowed down prescribing many models and guidance to help companies create business cases and subsequent rollout strategies, but they often come a bit too late, or worse, insufficient to facilitate a significant workflow revamp.

Besides, some of the guides are highly technical and do not transcend industries as much as one would like.

Though digital transformation as a concept could be unclear to some industries, there is nothing more vague about the demand to deploy technology to improve workflows and boost productivity.

Furthermore, a robust HR tech solution could not only solve the issue of redundancy and resource wastage but will also lead to better operational efficiency and enhance their functions to become a strategic business partner to the enterprise, rather than merely being an administrative unit.

A case for a clear roadmap

While many HR leaders are eager to deploy cutting edge technology to bring their operations and workflow up to speed with the rest of the business units in the company, they rarely have a comprehensive roadmap towards achieving the goal.

This roadmap, should not only be made up of implementation models or processes but also integrate broader aspects of transformation, such as dealing with changes as well as understanding and subsequently removing the barriers to transformation projects.

According to a book by Brian Sommer Digital With Impact: Realizing Transformation Payoffs, models for approaching technological and business changes could be summarized into four main components: seeing, thinking, reconciling, and subsequently transforming.

First, HR leaders have to figure out the long term vision of their department and see how they fit into the organization and what they would like to contribute.

Following that, they need to think and learn how technology could help them achieve their vision, before reconciling with the challenges and the realities of their environment.

Subsequently, upon looking into all details, opportunities, and obstacles, they need to create a transformative action plan, with realistic timelines and the right team to drive the project forward.

Using this approach, businesses could traverse through the visions while taking into account of all the details and consider the realistic outcomes, and finally, draft measures that make a successful digital transformation.

In short, a transformation project within the HR department is always going to be difficult and while there are a lot of guidelines and frameworks are out there, no one approach will guarantee a sure-shot success.

Thus, HR leaders must have a practical understanding of the digital journey and the challenges ahead, and draft a feasible action plan before setting sail on any digital transformation journey.