Because my life is much, much less interesting than yours, I am spending my Sunday night doing two things: Watching NBA basketball and reading this - The Accenture Technology Vision 2016 report.
There is some really interesting information, research, and conclusions about the most important tech trends for the coming 3 - 5 years in the Accenture report, as well as a (probably unintentional) nod to my friends over at Ultimate Software as their slogan 'People First', is literally all over the Accenture report.
Accenture identifies 5 big themes in their technology vision for organizations, and there is one in particular, actually Trend #1, 'Intelligent Automation', that I was most interested in, and wanted to explore a little bit. A few weeks ago I posted my 'What HR should be talking about in 2016' piece, and in that piece, (written over the holidays and before I became aware of the Accenture report), I had this to say about 'Intelligent Technology' - pretty much the same thing as 'Intelligent Automation':
But this year, I hope that HR and HR tech expands not just the capability but the conversation in this area just a bit further, into something more akin to a kind of 'intelligent' set of tools and workflows that will help HR, managers, and employees complete processes, tasks, and hopefully allow them to make better decisions. This technology would not just predict the likelihood of a potential outcome, but would 'learn' from usage patterns, history, preferences, and more about what you (the employee) should do next, given a set of data and process conditions. That could mean surfacing the 'right' learning content when you get assigned to a new project, suggesting you make an internal connection with a specific colleague when you run a search in the corporate knowledge base for a specific topic, or if you are a manger, provide you intelligent recommendations about how to handle coaching conversations with your team members, adapted to their individual profiles and preferences.
Pretty heady stuff, right? I spent at least 20 minutes on that post. For real.
Now let's take a look at the above-mentioned Accenture Technology Vision 2016 report and take a look at a bit of what they have to say about 'Intelligent Automation':
On the surface it may appear to be a simple transfer of tasks from man to machine. But look a little closer. The real power of intelligent automation lies in its ability to fundamentally change traditional ways of operating, for businesses and individuals. These machines offer strengths and capabilities (scale, speed, and the ability to cut through complexity) that are different from—but crucially complementary to—human skills. And their increasing sophistication is invigorating the workplace, changing the rules of what’s possible so that people and their new digital co-workers can together do things differently. And do different things.
Machines and artificial intelligence will be the newest recruits to the workforce, bringing new skills to help people do new jobs, and reinventing what’s possible.
Although the two pull quotes are not exactly the same, mine is kind of narrow, and talks about some HR tech-specific use cases while Accenture is talking really big picture kinds of things, at their core they are really talking about the same things. Technology, automation, and intelligent solutions that will do what machines can do best, (collect, analyze, and synthesize large data sets), and which will in the most effective organizations combine with human intelligence, experience, and social understanding to lead to the most effective outcomes.
I have to admit is was pretty cool to see the Accenture report this weekend and read that Intelligent Automation/Technology was featured so prominently in their take on 2016 as it was on my, HR-centric take from the beginning of the year. It feels kind of validating in a way. Now both Accenture and I could be wrong about this I suppose, but at least I don't feel crazy for positing the idea.
Ok, enough, the Knicks are about to start. Check out the Accenture Technology Vision 2016 report for more information on this, and after you have checked it out, send a note to your HR Tech provider to see what, if anything they are working on towards a future of 'Intelligent Technology'.
Have a great week!