Spending Wisely

By: | August 31, 2018 • 6 min read
David Shadovitz is editor of HRE. He is also co-chair of the HR Tech Conference and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. He can be reached at [email protected]

As I’m sure you heard, Apple became the first American company to reach a $1 trillion market cap last month, beating out the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet. (It was the second time in history a company hit that milestone: PetroChina briefly topped $1 trillion on the Shanghai Stock Exchange back in 2007, before plunging back to earth.)

To be sure, Apple has come a long way since it almost went bankrupt 20 years ago. Not long after founder Steve Job’s famous return, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company began its comeback, introducing a series of new and innovative products such as the iMac (remember the “Say Hello to iMac” ad?), iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad. (More than a few Wall Street analysts thought either Amazon or Alphabet would reach the $1 trillion mark first. Apparently, they were wrong.)

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The fact that Apple was the first U.S. company to reach the $1 trillion milestone—and that the others on its tail were all tech companies—is unquestionably a testament to the prominent role technology plays in our personal and work lives today.

How easy would it be for you to part with your iPhone—or whatever smartphone you’re currently using? Not very, I suspect.

In a similar manner, the HR profession’s own reliance on technology has also continued to intensify in recent years. Sure, many of the systems and tools are far from perfect. But that said, there’s no denying how far HR technology has come over the past two decades and how it touches pretty much everything the profession does these days.

This new reality will again be on full display at this month’s HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, where representatives of hundreds of vendors will be on hand to discuss their solutions and tools. (Hopefully, many of you are already planning to attend the event to deepen your own understanding as to what’s available today—and coming down the pike tomorrow. For more on the conference, see Driving Success with HR Tech.)

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As I began to map out my own plans for the conference, I couldn’t help but notice the findings of Hackett Group’s latest study on digital transformation, which speaks directly to the impact technology can have on HR effectiveness and an organization’s bottom line.

The research—titled Forging a Digital Path to World-Class HR—reports that world-class HR organizations, with the help of technology, operate and deliver services much more effectively than their peers. Moreover, it found that these companies experience transaction error rates that are two to five times lower than other organizations; fill jobs internally more frequently than their traditional peers; and enjoy significantly lower turnover rates for first- and second-year hires.

It also found that technology enables typical HR organizations to cut process costs by 24 percent, allowing them to match the cost levels of world-class HR organizations. The latter, meanwhile, are using digital transformation to reduce their process costs by an additional 21 percent.

Certainly, there’s ample reason for HR organizations to continue their investment in technology. Indeed, the financial and productivity benefits are obvious and compelling. So, too, are outcomes such as better employee experiences, improved processes and workflows, and more meaningful data analytics. But at the end of the day, the real winners will be those organizations that are able to target their investments to those areas that matter most to their businesses’ success.

Get that right, and your HR organization will be truly world-class.

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