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Benefits of IoT and Cloud in HR

Manjushree M. Badlani, Chief HR & Administrative Officer, Jhpiego

Manjushree M. Badlani, Chief HR & Administrative Officer, Jhpiego

Benefits of Cloud Computing for HR

As the vice president of a global human resources department with 3,000-plus employees, I appreciate the benefits of the cloud to share information across countries with limited data storage. The cloud is affordable, requiring minimum infrastructure investment. This simplifies business processes, such as recruitment, and allows us to have easy access to information, such as legal documents, that we need to do our work. The cloud has enhanced security. That makes the protection of information and privacy easier—two key concerns for HR.

"The cloud has enhanced security. That makes the protection of information and privacy easier—two key concerns for HR"

Effective and Proactive use of Data

Jhpiego is a nonprofit, so we do not spend a lot of money collecting large data sets. We rely on our industry associations for that kind of trend information. We collect data on our organizational performance in bite sizes that we can then really use. We look at how our employee brand is performing. We look at retention. We study the impact of particular market trends on our recruitment efforts. We also look at these kinds of data points across time.

Focus Points for Innovation

Since Jhpiego’s founding 44 years ago, innovation has been at the core of our mission to save the lives of women and families. We have learned that innovation must be mainstreamed to truly reap its benefits. We have used rewards to incentivize innovation and held competitions to launch ideas. We also have hosted hack-a-thons, which bring diverse groups of people together to investigate a problem. For a global nonprofit organization like ours, the key areas of technology we look at across the myriad of evolving options are communication technologies. How can we communicate with each other better in the global workspace, where your office is literally in the palm of your hand, depending on your communication device?

Changing role of CHROs

My role has changed as the definitions of the workplace, workers, and work teams have changed. It has become more focused on individual needs, rather than just an organizational focus. The role is very much that of a business partner who helps drive decisions for the business based on an understanding of human capital. Previously, my role was to drive human capital decisions based on our business needs.

Lessons Learned

Jhpiego has invested in technology in the past decade, but technology is no longer just the job of the chief information officer. Rapidly changing technology provides a huge array of choices for me as a top manager. But understanding that there are choices to be made and different needs within an organization is essential. Articulating your needs and then letting your chief information officer make a choice makes the most sense.

IoT for the HR

IoT “refers to the use of sensors, actuators, and data communications technology built into physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—that enable those objects to be tracked, coordinated, or controlled across a data network or the Internet.” 

• For a global organization, IoT means everything.  
• This will be very disruptive because real-time information will be available, which will influence decisions that were already made. At the same time, it will make us nimble and help us be accurate decision-makers.
• On the supply side, the skills that are required to find the workforce that can work on these platforms are scarce.
• New job roles will be created, and old ones will become obsolete.

Mobility Needs

For me, mobility is not so much an infrastructure challenge because most people can function wherever their device is. What we need is more guidance and understanding of what laws apply to the use of mobile devices, what our business vulnerabilities are, and how they impact HR and employees. What are the protections employers and employees have in these new arrangements, where the workplace is no longer relevant but the employer-employee relationship still exists? In terms of technology infrastructure, there are always the questions of who is responsible for providing backup and answering service calls, and how they respond to growing demands for service.