Becoming future-ready: The importance of HR application management in a new operating environment

Three key elements for cloud application management in the new normal.

This is a contributed article by Jacob Soliman, Alight Solutions.

Human resources, the accompanying technology and the teams supporting these functions have evolved greatly over the past decade — and that evolution has only been accelerated by the unpredictable global forces, which have transformed traditional work environments. This disruption has created a reckoning in the delivery of cloud Application Management Services (AMS), forcing organisations to create and execute ambidextrous strategies that require expertise, speed and agility to realise ROI and unlock new enterprise growth opportunities.

In our current global economy, businesses are not operating as usual, which means IT leaders must adapt AMS to this new normal. Here are three key elements for cloud application management:

  1. Build the foundation: Leaders should examine their systems, teams and delivery model with a reflection on how these align to the overall objectives of their business and their operating environment needs. It is imperative to assess the talent and technology available in order to determine if the proper resources and skillsets are in place. In too many cases, legacy architecture, siloed delivery models, and/or antiquated skillsets can hinder progress, and in some cases, lead to a detrimental ‘re-transformation' in the short-term.

Prepared leaders must be nimble and able to pivot at any minute. For example, teams are being asked to quickly access accurate global data and provide analytical reporting models by their business leads. During times of disruption like this, the most basic requests can be intimidating if a poorly enabled ecosystem exists. It is vital for leaders to ensure the foundation of their AMS strategy before building for the future.

  1. Integrate and engage with the whole business: Far too often HRIT or HRIS is a siloed function within an organisation that is only engaged reactively. Cloud application management teams should be a completely integrated member of the leadership team and drive a strategic role within the solution. In addition, this team can help ensure the full suite of tools is working harmoniously with the direction of the business. This can be an operational shift for some organisations, but it is worth the realignment. For example, organisations who are currently meeting their objectives, seeing ROI, and are thriving during this challenging period are likely those who have already adopted this model. The speed at which new features and functions are available in the cloud ecosystem, coupled with the volume of demand from the internal business, can easily overwhelm an ill-equipped application management team. 
  2. Embrace evolution: Whether it is cloud applications, robotic process automation, interactive virtual assistants, predictive analytics or hyper-personalisation, the list of available technologies continues to expand rapidly, and each with their own benefits. The reality is that while none of these components on their own can provide the ultimate solution, utilising none of these will lead to the ultimate deprecation of a leader's ability to deliver and meet market expectations. The answer lies within having an established foundation and defined strategy. Allowing teams to properly assess all of the available technologies to continue the viable expansion of a business' ecosystem. There is tremendous value in the power available at the fingertips of leaders willing to take on the challenge of the status quo and diligently incorporate proven solutions.  

It can be a daunting task to execute on a transformative application management strategy while teams are battling to deliver day-to-day operations in a cost-conscious way. The most successful organisations are those that recognise the value of a partner in these situations. Finding, retaining and upskilling the right level of internal resources at the right time across all of the various applications and technologies is impractical. Depending on the maturity of an organisation and the operating model, these can be true partnerships, where the level of support and type of services executed can scale up or down based on the long-term plan or adapting business demands.

The world is moving quickly and unpredictably, which can be paralysing for organisations that are not prepared for change. However, standing still will only exacerbate the challenges organisations face. Now is a tremendous opportunity for organsations to step up and transform their HR technology.

Jacob Soliman is a Senior Solution Architect for Alight's Cloud Services business. He is responsible for designing global solutions across all of Alight's strategic domains including: Service Center, Portal, Analytics, Talent, Compensation, Payroll, Time & Attendance, Human Capital Management and Application Support. He is also engaged in new product development, collaboration with business leadership and driving excellence in operational delivery.