Can HRO be Social, Smart, Quick, and Effective?

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Smarter Workforce and Smarter Commerce are the two major themes of this year’s conference for customers and business partners at IBM Connect 2013.

IBM is Messaging, Managing, and Delivering

First, I want to complement IBM on the clarity and alignment of its strategy with action. I have not seen this level of aligned organization and action across such a large and complex corporation before.

Building out under the Smarter Planet umbrella, IBM is bundling its many products and services, coordinating internal research and development, making targeted acquisitions, working across product and organization lines, and communicating clearly in its go-to-market campaigns. Given the great number of successful Smarter Workforce client case studies being presented, the proof points are already building to show business value can be delivered.

Smarter Workforce Supports Smarter Commerce

Smarter Workforce and Smarter Commerce are each separate service lines that can be coordinated to achieve greater business impact. Each is a combination of the IBM Platform for Social Business (social networking, social analytics, and social content) bundled with other new and existing products and services. Under the hood is a myriad of product lines making it work operationally, all tied together by messaging:

  • Smarter Workforce: Activate the workforce to improve productivity and unleash innovation
  • Smarter Commerce: Delight customers to increase loyalty, advocacy, and revenue.

Balance Individual Focus with Collective Value

Jonathon Ferrar, IBM vice president of Smarter Workforce, talked about the need to be social, smart, quick, and effective. Other words that were used a lot included community and relationships. Connecting communities of practice and building relationships, not for social intimacy, but for learning, leveraging, and leading to delighted customers and achieve business success.

Embedded throughout the social aspects of the services is a focus on the individual user that takes into account ease of use, mobile device access, points of need, and other behavioral aspects that are built in to increase collective business value creation.

Kenexa is Key to Smarter Workforce

The Kenexa acquisition closed in December 2012 and it is already being integrated into current offerings and it will be a key to plans for enhanced Smarter Workforce services as early as the second half of 2013:

  • Kenexa’s software platforms for recruiting and learning will be used for RPO and learning BPO services as well as integrated with the social business platform
  • Kenexa’s behavioral science expertise will be used to inform leadership, organizational, and talent management services and add to the analytics component.

IBM’s HRO services will be impacted by the changes. New options will be available to existing and new clients as talent management, learning, and RPO are brought together.

A lot of complexity remains to be managed, but it would be great to see IBM set a new high bar for making its services, client workforces, and HRO social, smart, quick, and effective!

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