In a conversation with People Matters, Tarik Taman, General Manager and Managing Director, Infor IMEA talks about the evolving technology landscape of HCM technologies, the potential of technologies today, the disruptive changes in the talent marketplace due to AI and automation and the business readiness to tackle change.
Q. Can you tell us about your early career journey, and how you got interested in solving people related problems?
I graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts and specialized in Economics and Political Science. After graduating, my first job was in health care technology. I helped Doctors and Nurses take care of patients to have a better understanding of their patient’s needs. And this is what hooked me to business systems, especially HR software and technologies that could help people further help people. And that’s what I have been doing for close to 25 years, helping customers look after people in healthcare or any other businesses.
Q. How has HCM software evolved technology in the last five years?
In the last five years, HR as a function and HR Technology has come a long way. The first generation of HR technology software only helped with basic operational management. It was aimed at questions such as how do I hire people? How do I pay people? In the last five years, HR technology has evolved to help line managers directly, whether this is to do with hiring better resources, providing training or to help map succession planning.
Take the finance function, for example, which witnessed significant growth in the last few years. From merely being retrospective accounting function a decade ago, it has become the hub of planning and forecasting. It is because the function has embraced science and analytics to predict the future and to make impactful decisions. Similarly, HR as a discipline has now embraced talent optimization, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are being used to hire, promote, train, deploy and even retire better.
Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can help you understand what it means to have the right DNA for every role in the company
Q. Would you say that HR has achieved the same maturity level as finance concerning technology? Or will we witness further disruptions?
HR has not reached the same place of advancing itself. In the past, hiring people was purely based on skills and experience. A third element, emotional quotient was missing. At Infor, we help organizations create that next generation competency model which brings together the behavioral, cultural and intellectual identity of the individual.
With a pool of over 150 million employees measured against their success within our customer base, at Infor, analytics tools use Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence to understand what it means to have the right DNA for every role in the company. The impact is that rather than interviewing 100 candidates, we now have a system that shortlists the top 10 candidates that you need to interview, it can also suggest the questions you need ask prospective candidates. This helps fasten the recruitment process, increase the happiness and longevity of the hired employee, it also enables supports the lifecycle of the employee right from recruit to retire.
Q. Could you share some examples?
If you look at the health care industry, the use of big data analytics by Infor would not only help in hiring a good nurse but it can also help determine the appropriate ward or unit to be assigned to them, using factors such as their abilities, their nature, and energy levels. And this helps both the employee and employer in a successful and efficient hiring process.
People are moving from one career track to another more often.
Q. Could you talk to us about Infor’s Best Practice Deployment Model, what is unique about it and how do you keep it updated?
Almost a decade ago, whenever a new software system was being implemented in Finance or HR, any changes to that system could be made only at the very initial stage. After that - making changes was almost impossible. That’s because these systems were more like cement; we could modify them only when they were wet, once set, nothing much could be done.
HR software today is much more flexible, it instantly starts working from day one and it keeps on automating and updating itself. It is always there for you. It helps organizations to embark on a cycle of ‘Crawl, Walk, and Run’ and incrementally adopt, continuously improve and optimize. To keep up with the current dynamic nature of businesses, the ‘Best Practice Deployment Model’ allows continuous improvement and optimization of the business processes.
Its uniqueness lies in that fact that HR in itself is a whole enterprise, it has almost 12 -14 operational practices ranging from different pay roll systems, background checks, onboard systems, etc. At Infor, we cover the entire gamut of HMC from assessment to retirement, talent optimization, etc.
Q. There is a lot of talk about automation especially in the context of jobs in the IT Industry, what is your perspective on this?
In the next decade or two, automation is going to make a huge difference to the labor force. As companies are continuously improving themselves, employees need to reinvent themselves and improve their skills. In many advanced countries of North America and Europe, people on an average have three separate career periods. This idea of moving from one career track to another is occurring more often. And all this is happening not just for personal growth and success, but also to cope up with constant changes in the economy. With technology and automation becoming pervasive, this number will increase from 3 to 5-7 career periods. I feel it’s not just the government’s responsibility but also an individual’s responsibility.
Q. Are we agile enough to tackle the disruption due to automation? What needs to be done from a people enablement perspective?
Human beings are very dynamic and persistent. I believe a majority of them are and will be able to keep pace with the ever changing technology, skills, and cultures in countries and companies. Individuals should be passionate about learning; they need to invest in themselves. The responsibility lies not only at the government level, but it goes all the way down to a school teacher.
I would close by saying that people think that change is hard and technology could be threatening. In my opinion, it’s a matter of perspective. It comes down to the relationship between me as ‘individual’ and society I live in. When society as a whole makes a positive change to improve the nature of life from education to commerce, we as individuals also need to contribute to the society and in words of John f Kennedy – “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” It’s a two-way street.