Artificial Intelligence Looms Larger in the Corporate World


AIG’s corporate headquarters at 175 Water Street in Manhattan, NYC. PHOTO: MICAH B. RUBIN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNA

Spending on AI technologies by companies is expected to grow to $47 billion in 2020 from a projected $8 billion in 2016, according to IDC

Artificial intelligence, long a subject of fanciful forecasts, is starting to enter the corporate world in a much bigger way, as costs decline and the need increases to identify patterns within ever-growing troves of business data.

Once a mainstay of startups and big-tech firms such as International Business Machines Corp. and Alphabet Inc., technologies such as machine learning are taking a larger role inside corporate giants including American International Group and Fannie Mae, which are deploying AI to automate and augment tasks previously done by humans alone.

Chief information officers say the technology helps them complete routine tasks faster and often without human help, saving money while freeing their employees to focus on value-added activities.

But as the technology becomes both less expensive and smarter, and more advanced technologies continue to emerge, companies will extend AI use beyond routine jobs to aid in decision making and spot trends and patterns that wouldn’t be evident to the sharpest data scientist.

Spending on AI technologies by companies is expected to grow to $47 billion in 2020 from a projected $8 billion in 2016, according to market-research firm International Data Corp.

CIO Explainer: What Is Artificial Intelligence?

“We’re at a point where artificial intelligence has finally come of age,” said Philip Fasano, executive vice president and chief information officer at AIG. “Any CIO (Chief Information Officer)…has to be considering what AI and knowledge-based systems mean to their business.”

AIG launched a number of AI projects in 2016 and will continue to invest in the technology, Mr. Fasano said. He has cut spending on outsourced projects, allowing the company to redirect money to AI initiatives, and plans to hire more programmers with AI development skills.

Less expensive, more abundant data storage, increased processing power and advances in deep-learning technology could lower the cost of artificial intelligence and make it possible for machines to learn with minimal programming from humans.

One common deep-learning tool, the neural network, uses layers of interconnected nodes to roughly mimic the operations of the human brain.

Nova Spivack, founder of AI startup Bottlenose, said the latest versions of deep learning employ hundreds of layers of neural networks. That power can be used in areas such as weak-signal detection, or the ability to spot trends more quickly.

Artificial intelligence has grown in fits and starts since the 1950s, but has become more viable as less costly and faster computers have made it possible to store and analyze massive data sets. Cheaper computing power also means companies can direct more money toward developing algorithms and acquiring new data.

Any CIO has to be considering what AI and knowledge-based systems mean to their business

—AIG CIO Philip Fasano

In broad terms, artificial intelligence encompasses the techniques used to teach computers how to learn, reason, communicate and make decisions. Its applications span technologies that can recognize images and process human speech, to name a few.

Applications range from practical, highly targeted virtual assistants to broad-based artificial intelligence such as IBM’s Watson system. Facebook Inc.’s Messenger service supports at least 33,000 chatbots, including one from Mastercard Inc. that allows Messenger users to check activity on their credit, debit and loan accounts.

New applications across industries continue to crop up. Massachusetts General Hospital plans to use a system that draws on a database of 10 billion images to identify anomalies on CT scans and other medical images. Industrial conglomerate General Electric Co. uses computer-vision systems to quickly identify cracks in jet engine blades.

AIG said it recently deployed five “virtual engineers” inside its IT infrastructure that work 24 hours a day collecting and analyzing system performance data and spotting network device outages. They work alongside human engineers to learn patterns in the network data and eventually act on their own to solve technical problems.

A network device outage, for example, typically would go to a queue and take human engineers about 3½ hours to address, an AIG spokeswoman said. Using the virtual assistants, nicknamed “co-bots,” there is no queue and most incidents can be fixed within 10 minutes, she said. If a machine can’t solve a problem on its own, it is kicked back to a human engineer.

The ability to automate routine tasks and quickly analyze larger data sets has allowed human employees to do their work faster and focus their energy on activities that computers can’t do on their own, CIOs say.

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae employs a team of analysts who crunch data and write industry reports about the credit standing of individual companies. With limited people and mountains of SEC filings and other published data, Fannie Mae analysts only had time to write reports for their 100 most important customers, said Bruce Lee, senior vice president and head of operations and technology.

The company now uses technology called natural-language processing to electronically “read” those documents, find relevant information and create reports for more than 6,000 potential customers. Many analyses that happened once a year now occur every quarter.

“The AI is doing all of the heavy lifting and is able to cover all companies,” Mr. Lee said. “It also freed up our analysts to perform in-depth assessments where they could add the most value.”

CIOs say artificial intelligence is in the experimental phase inside many companies, but they envision the technology playing a larger role over time.

To be sure, many companies are puzzling over how artificial intelligence technologies might impact their workforce and operations. As AI advances, firms may face tough questions about when humans do or don’t need to be involved in decision-making.

This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal and was writeen by Steven Norton

10 HR Trends for 2017


The last two years we published an overview of the HR trends of which we expected that they would have an impact on HR in the coming year (“9 emerging HR trends for 2015” and “11 HR trends for 2016“). Number one on the 2016 was “HR embrace agile”. Although we have seen this topic appearing on the agenda of many conferences, the reality is that many HR teams have great difficulty to work in an agile way. Here we present the 10 trends we think (and partly hope) that will be important for HR in 2017. The list could have been longer, but this year we stick to the magical number 10.

1. Consumerisation

In her excellent article “Consumerization of HR: 10 trends companies will follow in 2016” Jeanne Meister captured all the trends she describes under the label “Consumerisation”. People are more and more expecting an experience at work that is comparable to the experience they have at home. Netflix knows their movie taste and makes good recommendations. With the help of Tinder they are able to find new partners, and all their devices at home are connected through the internet. What most people experience at the workplace is still far from ideal. The percentage of people who are not very happy at work is still remarkable high. Where is the algorithm that has suggestions for new opportunities? (“You like these type of assignments, you might also like …..”). The “Employee Experience” is very much related to this trend. The organisations that consciously design a positive employee experience, for the complete life cycle of an employee, are still scarce.

2. Performance Consulting

Redesigning the performance management cycle was high on the agenda of many organisations in 2016. Earlier we made a plea (“HR: don’t kill performance measurement!“) not to stop with performance measurement. It is positive that we get rid of the traditional paternalistic process, where a boss who had limited observations has to give feedback to her employees. It is positive that we are getting rid of labelling people with performance ratings (“You are a 3.5…”). 2017 can be the year with more focus on performance consulting: how can we help good people to become better, by providing very concrete feedback and very concrete suggestions on how to improve performance. Most people want to improve their performance, and frequent relevant feedback from various sources is an important element of performance improvement.

3. From individuals teams to networks of teams

In their article “Organizational Design: the rise of teams” McDowell et. al. describe how new shapes of organisations are emerging. From static hierarchical organisations to networks of teams that are able to adapt to the continuously changing environment. Traditionally the focus of HR has been on individuals. Many of todays HR practices (as recruitment and performance management) take the individual employee as the starting point. The view of HR is also often limited to the people on the payroll of an organisation, with less or no focus on people and teams who are important for the organisation but not on the payroll. The focus of HR is slowly shifting, from individuals to teams. Looking at networks of teams and how to improve the way teams are working together still gets less attention.

4. Man Machine collaboration

The notion that it is less about man (woman) versus machine than about how men and women can benefit from machines is slowly gaining ground. Dirk Jonker of Crunchr told me about a recent experiment in the area of succession management. The MD officers of a multinational were asked to take a pile of cv’s of employees and rate them to what extend they were considered to be candidates for certain positions (1=highly unlikely, 5=highly likely). The results were fed into the computer. The next step: the computer was asked to look into  the HR information system, and suggest candidates that were not in the initial pile, but were comparable to the profiles of the people with high ratings. MD Officers and machine working together to crate a richer succession bench. It is still early days, but the signs are there that artificial intelligence will enable HR to increase their impact in various areas.

5. Algorithm Aversion

Alas. Even when an algorithm beats human judgment, people tend to trust human judgment (especially their own judgment) better. When you sat next to the driver in a Tesla, you have probably experienced the feeling. You prefer the driver to keep his/her hands on the steering wheel, above trusting the Tesla technology. Algorithm aversion is also one of the obstacles in the use of people analytics. If HR provides solid insights, many managers still tend to rely on their own judgement. How to overcome algorithm aversion is an important topic for 2017. Additional reading: Walter Frick in HBR: “Here’s why people trust human judgment over algorithms”.

6. HR Operations

HR operations has been highly undervalued. Of Ulrich’s HR roles “Administrative Expert” certainly got the lowest ratings. All the HR professionals wanted to be a strategic business partner, the role with the most positive connotation. The last years we have seen an upgrade of HR Operations that will continue in 2017. Most likely HR can add most value in the HR operations area. The requirements for the people in HR operations are different though, and probably we need a new breed of HR professionals who can run HR as a service organisation. Read: 6 major trends in HR Shared Services

7. Data ownership

In 2014 we wrote (“9 emerging trends for 2015“) that privacy seems to be less of an issue. For 2017 our prediction is that there will be more discussions about privacy and data ownership. As part of their effort to improve people analytics, organisations are capturing more and more data of their employees. There are numerous new instruments available that can capture people data realtime, and use it to give an indication of the mood in various parts of the organisation. In the discussions about people analytics we sense a growing resistance. Employees are starting to wonder what is in it for them. Who is the owner of the people data? This trends is clearly related to trend number 1 (“Consumerisation”). People are willing to share data, if the benefits are clear. You don’t mind Netflix to measure what series you are watching, if they use the data to give you good suggestions.

8. The end of Open Space

In 2015 we mentioned as trend for 2016 “Back to the Office”. If people return to the office, they do not want to work in open space. They prefer an individual approach, where they are able to choose their working location in line with their individual preferences and personal needs. Not one-size-fits all. and this will require more creativity and flexibility of the office designers. Tech can help to make the best match between current needs and available space. Generally individualisation continues to be an important trend, and HR has difficulty to cope. HR likes equality, transparency and neatness, and these values do not always fit well with an individual approach.

9. The battle of the Apps

The amount of clever HR Tech solutions is increasing rapidly. The list of successful HR Tech companies is not so long yet. The big HR systems have not lived up to the promises. Implementation is expensive and takes a long time. If you have the money and a relatively stable organisation, the investment in one of the big core HR systems can certainly be worthwhile. The providers of the neat modern HR solutions are struggling to convince HR to add their solution to the mix. HR does not want to take risks, and the IT department still does not like to have too many providers. But increasingly HR gets the notion that currently a good mix between a solid core HR system, payroll solutions and focused innovative HR solutions might be most effective. This leads to the questions: which solutions to choose, and how to capture the data from the different systems for your people analytics?

10. Choose your own

Many more trends are emerging. Add your own, or choose on of the list below, to make this a list of 10 HR Trends for 2017.

  • From vacancies to opportunities
  • Selecting on value fit
  • The end of classroom training
  • No more leadership journeys
  • Purpose, purpose, purpose….
  • Less multitasking
  • Working from 9-5
  • …………………………….

This article was written by Tom Haak and originally posted in HR Trend Institute Blog.

Developing Leaders using Virtual Reality


2016 has been heralded as the the year of VR. After a few high profile flops in the ´80s and ´90s when the term virtual reality was first coined, VR is back in the headlines with the Spring launch of two high-end VR headsets: The Oculus Rift (launched on 28 March and acquired by Facebook) and HTC Vive (developed by HTC and Value Corporation and released 5 April). Sony will launch PlayStation VR later this year. It has sparked predicable discussions in the global press concerning the application of VR. A recent study predicts that gaming, football and porn will make up the main VR content. Daniel Terdiman writing in Fast Company says, for now, it’s likely that games will make up the bulk of what people do with systems like the Vive and Raymond Wong writes an unnerving piece in Mashable about VR porn:

I found myself transported into a bedroom. Kneeling before me was a female porn star who was seductively talking dirty to me. I looked down and saw some guy’s muscular body. Well, that’s not mine, I thought to myself. I was confused. Whose body was this? Then I realized, was now this guy.,, I dropped into a female body, a male porn star who was thrusting into “me” was so up in my personal space, I swear I smelled his armpits.

Surely there is more to VR than gaming and simulated armpit smelling? Knvul Sheikh writing in Live Science thinks outside of the box headset by exploring applications for military, healthcare, manufacturing, crime scenes and education; others see applications for advertising and marketing.

As someone who works in the field of leadership development, I see some tremendous opportunities to use VR to develop and train leaders. Here are a few ideas:

Crisis management. When I was a young and keen first-time manager I was invited to become a crisis management rep. for my department which I thought was a great accolade until I realised that nobody else wanted to do it; and I´m not surprised – the training was dull. We spent one day a month locked in a crisis management room in a basement reading scenarios from scraps of paper and making pretend telephone calls. There is a saying that you don´t know the strength of a tea bag until you pour hot water on it but the problem with traditional crisis management exercises are that you never feel the hot water. With VR, the possibility to create a programme with a real-life crisis scenario adapted to individual business reality where facilitators monitor a leader´s decision-making and stress levels in a simulated crisis is immense. I dug a little further and discovered that two or three visionary companies are already using virtual reality in crisis management training. There goes my multimillion-dollar idea.

Role-Playing. How many of us have looked awkwardly at each other in resident leadership programmes as the facilitator announces a role-playing exercise where we are required to act out various characters (underperforming team member, angry customer, disengaged stakeholder and the like) for the benefit of our equally chagrined co-participant play-acting the leader. Some companies have experimented using trained actors playing the roles which is very effective but involves high costs in hiring, prepping and accommodating the actors. Virtual reality could be an excellent substitute where participants engage in a virtual scenario and are observed by co-participants providing feedback. Such programmes could be standard or tailored to the participant´s reality.

Simulations. No leadership training programme is complete without a business simulation exercise. The problem is that so many of these simulations use duplos, blindfolds, ropes and balls that often fail to create a realistic business challenge and require a pretty sharp facilitator to draw connections back to the business and business leadership. A decent VR programme could create a realistic business challenge where participants are stretched and monitored. Such an approach could still retain the all-important group debrief.

Psychometrics. Most psychometrics are scenario based with multiple choice responses. For example: you are at a party do you mingle or stand at the side? Logistically, traditional paper-based psychometrics are cumbersome to administer: taking up a lot of time in set-up, assessment and scoring. Computer-based psychometrics are usually done as pre-work but are not facilitated. Such instruments require the participant to simulate scenarios in their mind and record preferences; wouldn´t it be more effective to do this in a simulated VR environment? With the party example, you could have a simulation of a party and the participant´s body language and reactions can be measured and instantly scored. Imagine it: no messy scoring, more data points and no word-based language barriers. VR psychometrics? Now that could be a money spinner.

Virtual leadership programme. Experts will tell you that e-learning is effective for building skills whereas face-to-face learning is effective for building behaviours (the latter usually facilitated by a qualified behavioural developmentalist). The problem with face-to-face training is the high cost (Deloitte costed global training in 2013 at $24 billion) and the time away from the office. I can imagine a future where leadership programmes are fully VR based, where the participant collects the headset, goes into a small meeting room and participates in virtual leadership training with VR psychometrics, simulations, role playing and knowledge building designed around key competences that have been programmed to suit the organisation. Such an intervention will be learner-paced, cost effective, measurable and consistent across the organisation. If this is the future, I guess I need to look for another job.

The drive to simulate reality has had a long and checkered history dating back to the panoramic paintings and stereoscopic photo viewers of the mid-nineteenth century. A new report suggests VR is still 6-8 years shy of becoming mainstream; but if and when VR does finally come of age in this second VR wave, let´s hope it finds useful applications beyond the predicted gaming, football and porn. Without doubt, it could revolutionise education, particular in the area of developing individual leadership skills and behaviours.

Article writen by Ric Kelly PhD. in Click here to see the original article.

If HR analytics are the answer, what are the questions?


More and more organisations are taking their first steps with HR analytics. A recent panel debate hosted by the London HR Connection looked at where they should set their priorities and the key issues that need to be addressed as HR builds its competence in this area.

Every HR professional knows that analytics are becoming must-have capabilities – helping the function to do anything from identifying employees at risk of quitting to detecting potential fraud. A recent survey by Deloitte found that 36% of companies are now using people data to predict business performance.

At this month’s London HR Connection debate: If HR analytics are the answer, what are the questions?, a panel of HR professionals at different stages of the HR analytics journey debated how HR can up its game even further in analytics, and what should be measured.

Dr Martin Edwards, author of Predictive HR Analytics and a statistics lecturer at King’s College London, challenged the frequently cited view that HR lacks the capability to exploit analytics.

He said: “If we look at the research that has been published in recent years, the perspective is that HR will fail to rise to the analytics challenge, that it will be a fad that passes us by. I personally don’t agree – it’s a developing field.”

Edwards pointed to an innovative project at pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca, which has mined thousands of pieces of historical data to predict the likelihood of someone resigning.

The company has also used data to discover that in one area of the business, external candidates were more likely to be shortlisted for a vacancy, but if an internal applicant was interviewed, they were far more likely to be offered that role.

Christian Cormack, head of HR analytics at AstraZeneca, explained how this has begun to change hiring managers’ perceptions: “We’re not trying to turn HR professionals into statisticians, what’s important is to get HR to understand the nuances of the metrics, to interpret them correctly to start a conversation.”

How effectively the data insights will be used can depend on how well they are explained and communicated, he added: “You really have to know the data to be credible and to tell the story with confidence.

“[When presenting data], we try to make the title of each slide a bold statement that connects with the business narrative and tells people what’s going on in the business – it takes bravery to put an opinion in the title.”

Small beginnings

Nathan Adams, HR director, partnering global risk and audit at insurance company Aviva, said the best advice is to start out small.

“Perhaps surprisingly, for an analytical and risk driven organisation, we are only just starting out on the analytics journey in HR.

“Don’t try to rule the world and say you’ll pick everything and anything to analyse. Make sure there is a business problem to solve.

“You could end up spending a lot of time trying to work something out, so make sure it’s a priority to sort and you can actually implement something off the back of the analytics. We use this as a provocation – if we found something, could we actually do something about it?”

At Aviva, using analytics has helped to challenge assumptions. Data insights revealed, for example, that the highest performing employees in its life insurance business were not older workers – who you would assume would be able to understand and empathise with the customers better – but 20- to 30-year-olds.

While the panellists agreed that it was useful to recruit data analysts to help crunch the data, it was up to HR to know how to ask the questions, and ultimately have a sense of what to do with the answers.

Mark Sheridan, global head of HR for HSBC Commercial Banking, said: “You don’t need to be a data analyst to be curious, you just need that human urge to explore what goes on around you. Or, if you’re presented with incongruity, can you use the data to try and explain?”

He conceded, however, that the quality of data could often get in the way. “You might have multiple reporting tools from different sources, systems might have a different definition of ‘surname’, and information that you acquired during the recruitment process might end up being corrupted.”

One solution might be to drop data into an operational data store, he added, rather than trying to get every system to talk to each other.

Degree of control

Edwards warned that HR should not get too constrained by trying to find tangible evidence when so much of the people function is subjective.

“When you do a business case, you can say you can reduce turnover by x% if we invest £y, but the degree over which HR has control over certain metrics can be hard to predict,” he added.

“Income generation is not the only thing to measure; there are so many things HR does that have an impact on the business.”

And with good data and the appropriate skills and tools to analyse it, the potential insights HR can derive seem infinite. But just because you can ask a question, does that mean you should? Where should HR stand on the ethical use of employees’ data?

“I think we should learn about this from customer organisations,” said Aviva’s Adams. “We all know that there are elements of personalisation that annoy us or switch us off, but we can also personalise an experience for someone’s benefit.

“There are several pros and cons that organisations need to consider, but I think it’s important to draw a line and be clear up front about what you’ll do with the data, looking at it in aggregate rather than on an individual level.”

As with everything in the fast-growing field of analytics, getting to grips with the ethical implications will be as much of a learning curve as refining and crunching the data.

Article taken from Personel Today

HR in 2020: From closed hierarchies to open networks


It is 2020. The role of HR has changed considerably in recent years. We have seen many organizations changing from tight, closed hierarchies into more open networked organizations. The place and the role of the flexible workforce has also changed. Where flexible workers were previously seen (and treated) as second rate, they are now considered an important part of the organization.

Eight aspects of the role of HR in 2020 we have seen changing:

1. HR focuses on a broader group

Previously, the focus of HR was on staff with a permanent contract. Today HR focuses on a much broader and more diverse group. The distinction between temporary employees and employees with a permanent employment has faded. The contract format is not important; it is about the contribution that someone can make to the organization, today or in the future.

2. HR masters workforce planning

Workforce planning has become increasingly important, and HR plays an important role. HR sits in the middle of the business, and therefore has good understanding of the strategic plans. What kind of people do we need? What are the critical capabilities we need to strengthen? Where can we find the people with the necessary skills?

3. HR focuses less on positions, and more jobs to be done

HR previously spent much time formulating comprehensive job profiles. Fortunately, those times are gone. It is now much more about jobs: what do we need to accomplish for our customer? What capabilities do we have in the house and which do we have to find elsewhere?

4. HR has become faster and more agile

If in the past you wanted something to happen fast, you did not involve HR. This would delay the process, as HR had the tendency to hide behind rules and procedures. Today this is different. HR is like a spider in the web. If you need help in strengthening your team and you can not find the solution, then HR is the right partner to involve. HR is firmly rooted in various relevant communities. Therefore, HR has quick access to ideas and suggestions from others.

5. HR makes creative use of technology

Technology is deployed on several fronts. High-speed mobile communication with management and staff. To provide real-time feedback. To facilitate training on the job. To measure and improve the performance of employees. HR has developed into HR Tech.

6. HR has access to a larger talent pool

If you limit yourself to the talent that you already have in your organization, you do not always get the best. Many top talent is no longer looking for a permanent contract, but wants to do interesting and challenging assignments for (various) organizations. In recent years, HR started looking more at external talent pools. Not only in their own country, but also increasingly international. Organizations are also much more willing to share their own talent pool. Employees are not always properly challenged, and can learn a lot by working temporarily for another organization.

7. HR relies on facts, not opinions

HR has learned from marketing. Measuring is knowing. By clever techniques the preferences of (potential) employees can be identified and organizations can respond better to the individual wishes and needs. HR has learned a lot in the field of people analytics, and regularly comes with surprising insights. HR knows what motivates people.

8. HR no longer needs to pamper management

The number of layers is reduced in organizations. With fewer managers life is easier. Many HR processes are automated and managers and employees love it. HR can focus more on core tasks, such as selecting talent and finding creative ways to increase productivity.

The role of HR will widen in the coming years. A key question is how HR and the organizations they are part of can play a role to reduce the gap between people who have work and those who don’t.

This article is a translation of an article published on the website of “Eerlijke Flex”, and taken from the HR Trend Institute Blog.

Success Story – 4th HRcoreLAB

At Teneo Meetings we believe that the fundamental keys to success are the sharing of experiences and learning from others. We dedicate our efforts towards the bringing together of key movers and shakers within the HR industry to do exactly that and although we focus on HR, our primary goal is the organisation of fantastic corporate events. During our 10 years in this business we have learned to rely on client feedback in order to continuously improve with every conference.


The HRcoreLAB4 is a great example of our success story and was a perfect combination of case studies from large-­scale organisations and fast-­growth companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Spotify; interspersed with Q&A, networking and interactive sessions. 343 HR executives attended from 27 countries representing 169 companies to discuss topics ranging from Employer Branding and Talent Acquisition to Leadership Development, Talent Analytics, Agile HR and almost everything in-­between.

Don’t take our word for it though. Below you can see what our clients are saying:

‘’It was a joy to see how much Teneo has grown over time in professionalism, depth and scale. Something to be proud off!’’Global Executive VP HR, Shell

“Excellent programme and great networking. The caliber of the speakers was really good this year. Great job!”  – Global Head of Leadership Development, Learning & Diversity, ING Bank

 “The event was also very inspiring and had a very good level of interactions and quality questions. Congrats to you and great job there! Always pleasure to work with you” –HR SVP Energy Business, Schneider Electric 

 “In general all of the event organization was just impeccable!” – Chief HR Innovation & Delivery, AXA

We would like to thank everyone who joined us for this 2 day conference in Barcelona; without whom we would have been unable to create the fantastic learning experience that it was.

We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Greg Miller
Senior Key Account Manager

For more information on our upcoming events, meetings and team building experiences please visit our website


Upcoming Events:

HRcoreACADEMY³ – 19th & 20th October – Brussels 2016

Learning & Development 4.0

10th annual “Talent Trends”


2016 to welcome the acceleration of agile adoption outside IT

2016 to welcome the acceleration of agile adoption outside IT

For many large organisations 2015 was the year of paradigm shift for agile, moving from a buzzword to implementation. In fact, research from Forrester found that since 2013, twice as many companies are now using agile techniques to accelerate value delivery for their business.

By using an agile approach, organisations can respond to market changes faster, deliver higher-quality products, and gain a significant competitive edge.

Agility is mission-critical to a company’s success today as businesses are challenged by nimble competitors, consumer demand and faster time to market than ever before. Additionally, with confidence in the economy continuing to grow, organisations and their CEOs have realised the need to shift their focus away from efficiencies and savings towards innovation.

The growth in enterprise agile has been supported by the increasing use of agile methodologies – whether it is Scrum or Kanban. However it’s not just within traditional IT departments that agile has been adopted, with highly regulated departments such as healthcare and finance now implementing agile too.

With agile having taken hold in large organisations, what’s next for agile?

The acceleration of agile adoption outside IT

In 2016, we will continue to see the application of agile principles and practices beyond IT, into other areas of the organisation.

Product development – This is one area where we will continue to see growth in 2016 with the application of lean and agile principles to validate market need, iterated MVPs and shortened feedback cycles. This approach allows for faster feedback to ensure an organisation can identify and adapt in order to respond to customer needs. In contrast to more traditional approaches where a large amount of upfront planning occurs, agile approaches make use of continuous planning and prioritisation of requirements.

HR – Beyond this, agile will continue to get a foothold in other departments. In HR, agile will become key to building cross-functional agile teams by looking to hire generalised specialists who are willing to continually challenge processes and norms. There are many agile HR strategies but ultimately its goal is to train managers to become ‘lean leaders’ within organisations, and align everyone with clear customer focused targets to create a working culture that is more engaged and always learning.

Marketing – By the year 2017, it is predicted that CMOs will be spending more on technology than CIOs (Gartner). In fact, through some of the world’s leading organisations, 83 per cent of marketing departments are solely responsible for choosing and managing service providers, with 75 per cent reporting that they also manage decisions on software implementation. As the rate of technology evolves, increased collaboration across enterprises ensures businesses can respond faster to meet demands of stakeholders and customers. Sales and marketing departments will evolve to harness the success experienced by agile teams, in order to improve their ability to respond to changing customer needs and unpredictable markets.

Finance – In addition, finance departments will continue to refine their approaches, ensuring the ability to embrace change and pivot successfully is not hindered by traditional project budgeting. Budgeting models based around funding stable agile teams will ensure that those teams can easily and quickly be re-deployed so they are always delivering the highest priority requirements to maximise customer value.

Developing an agile mindset

Anyone who has been part of an agile transformation knows that in order to be successful there must be support from the leadership and a desire to try a different way of doing things. Changing practice alone is not enough to drive these transformations – they require a change in the organisational culture. Whilst there will be steps towards this in 2016, businesses will take a number of years to move from adopting agile methodologies to more of an emphasis on agility as a mindset. It will take conventional management thinking to adapt and embrace this approach with a greater emphasis on employee engagement, decentralising decision making and continuous improvement in contrast to a command and control approach.

The evolution of organisational models

These trends will lead to the evolution of different organisational models that ensure the behaviours that support agile thinking are firmly rooted in the structure of the company itself. This will involve a flatter reporting structure, shared leadership models and a joint sense of accountability.

Article by: Andrew Sales, Principal Agile Consultant, CA Technologies

Don’t miss the 4th HRcoreLAB  Conference this 8th & 9th of March 2016 in Barcelona.

6th Future of Recruitment Seminar (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

4th Leading With Talent Summit (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

HR Agility (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

Leadership, Analytics, Recruitment, Development, Talent, Talent Management, Big Data, HR tech, Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, HR Agility, Agile HR, Agility.

10 predictions for HR in 2016

Yes, it’s that time of year again when Santa is readying his reindeer, Fairytale of New York is on the radio and the foolhardy amongst us start making wildly optimistic predictions for the year ahead.

The famous Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr once warned “prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future”. Whilst I fully concur with that sentiment, like an inebriated lemming being merrily edged towards the precipice of a cliff, it’s time to take the plunge and give my ten predictions for HR in 2016:

  1. People Analytics (finally) goes into orbit

Okay, you’ve got me. I also predicted this in 2014 and 2015 and it didn’t exactly come to pass. Guilty as charged, but maybe it will be third time lucky? All the conversations I am having with HR leaders suggest that we are on the precipice of exponential growth in this area. The evidence to do so is compelling. Research from Bersin by Deloitte (as reported in the Wall Street Journal) into the benefits enjoyed by the 14% of companies who have already developed mature people analytics capabilities demonstrates they generate better talent outcomes in terms of leadership pipelines, cost reduction, efficiency gains and talent mobility. However, perhaps even more tellingly, the share prices of these pioneering 14% outpaced the S&P 500 by an average 30% from 2011-14. Hence my confidence in predicting that 2016 will be the year that HR stops just talking about analytics but actually embraces it like its cousins in Finance and Marketing; not necessarily to replace traditional intuition but to validate it by making decisions that are based on insights derived from data.

  1. HR embraces an Open Source approach

Many of us realise that we are living in a time of unprecedented change. The world of work is set to experience a transformation not seen since the days of the industrial revolution and the pace of change will never be as slow as it is today. That’s quite a sobering thought especially as HR will be in the vanguard of this new age. Traditionally, HR and recruiting functions have worked in splendid isolation, but that will not suffice in the 21st Century when collaboration, co-creation and ‘open-source’ are key ingredients. The recent #HROS concept of Ambrosia Vertesi of Hootsuite and Lars Schmidt of Amplify Talent has deservedly garnered a lot of attention and momentum. Google too has opened up its HR black box in the form of the re:Work initiative. In 2016, look for initiatives like these to grow and new ones to emerge as HR leaders realise they are stronger together than alone.

  1. HR starts to destroy bureaucracy rather than cultivating it

Like those other discredited 20th century doctrines, communism and fascism, bureaucracy is way past its sell by date. Bureaucracy can be more lethal than a particularly virile dose of salmonella and eats away at a company’s very soul. Instead of protecting it and allowing bureaucracy to multiply through mindless process, unnecessary approval flows and the dreaded organisation chart, HR needs to switch camp from gamekeeper to poacher, don its superhero cape and stamp out bureaucracy wherever it finds it. Instead of Rules, Precedent, Hierarchy and Fear, let’s see more Values, Transparency, Aspiration and Peers. (I admit that this ‘prediction’ falls into the ‘wildly optimistic’ category).

  1. Organisation Charts begin to disappear

One of the key tools of the oppressors is the organisation chart, which is arguably just as defunct as bureaucracy itself. How many organisation charts actually reflect reality? As the number of flexible workers grows the ability to capture this in an organisation chart diminishes. Organisation charts also imply that the ability to innovate and make decisions resides only in the upper echelons of the business. It doesn’t. Not anymore. Not in the creative knowledge economy we are now thankfully in. It’s time to send organisation charts the way of the dodo. Again, this falls into the ‘wildly optimistic’ category, but I guess I’m a glass half full kind of guy!

  1. The eradication of the Annual Performance Review continues

Speaking of pointless and outdated tools and practices, hands up who thinks the annual performance review actually has any relevance? Not many hands. Ok, hands up who thinks they are a complete waste of time, money and effort? Nearly unanimous. 2015 has seen the likes of GE, Deloitte and Accenture bin the annual performance review in favour of continuous, real-time programmes underpinned by technology and apps that help the employee, manager and co-workers share feedback. 2016 will see many other organisations follow suit.

  1. The Annual Employee Engagement survey continues to be marginalised

As it is pantomime season, it seems apt to twin the traditional annual employee engagement survey and annual performance review as the ugly stepsisters in our own HR version of Cinderella. Josh Bersin described them as absurd at the recent HR Tech World Congress in Paris. As Bersin went on to explain, the employee feedback and engagement market is undergoing serious disruption at present with the emergence of feedback apps, text analysis and regular sentiment surveys to listen to the pulse of the organisation. Whilst many organisations will continue to run the annual survey for the time being (response rates tend to be higher), 2016 will see them augment this with what Bersin describes as a new category of HR Software. Traditionally strong providers like IBM are doing a lot of work on amplifying the employee voice, and also look out for start-ups such as Workometry too.

  1. Anyone mentioning the ‘War for Talent’ is replaced by a robot

HR is full of lazy and over-used phrases like “seat at the table”, but the vote for the most tired one has to be the “war for talent”. It was first coined by McKinsey all the way back in 1997 when reality TV mercifully didn’t exist, Manchester United actually had a decent football team and yours truly was just embarking on a career as a recruiter. When it comes to marketing slogans, analogies with wars – like sex – sells, but surely when it comes to the war for talent, isn’t it time for a new idiom? Let’s make 2016 the year that anyone in or connected to HR will be ridiculed and replaced by a robot for daring to mention this tedious phrase.

  1. Someone (anyone) gives LinkedIn a run for its money

Whilst I’m a paid up member of the LinkedIn fan club, it’s about time someone took them on before hubris or megalomania sets in (some may argue it already has). Whether it’s sport, politics or business, competition is healthy. It doesn’t matter really if it is Facebook at Work (see recent TechCrunch article), Indeed, Google for Work or some as yet unknown start-up or even better all of them. It will be interesting to see how LinkedIn reacts once someone starts to muscle in on their patch – one suspects that the cycle of spiralling costs may turn full cycle. So come on Zuckerberg et al, get on with it.

  1. I’ll write a blog that doesn’t reference Josh Bersin

Well there has to be one joker in the pack. Of all the analysts out there, Josh and his firm Bersin by Deloitte are the most omnipresent and the purveyors of the best analysis and insight on the HR space. As such, it is extremely challenging to write a blog that doesn’t reference Josh or his firm, but I can confidently predict that at least one blog I write in 2016 will have contain no mention of Bersin whatsoever. I also predict that Liverpool will win the Premier League, Donald Trump will say something sensible and a great band will emerge from one of Simon Cowell’s dreadful television programmes.

  1. HR as agent of change

This could be my most wildly optimistic prediction of all, but as the pace of change intensifies and as the old ponderous bureaucratic ways of doing things continue to fail (why else would over 50% of the Fortune 500 from 2000 no longer be in existence?), HR needs to move from change blocker to change agent. Yes, it needs to consistently talk the language of the business and change its mindset of being a cost centre, but more importantly HR needs to be brave. It needs to embrace the opportunities offered through flux, changing employee attitudes, neuroscience, HR Analytics and technology to create real and lasting change in how talent is identified, recruited, activated and retained. Will this happen in 2016? Probably not but let’s at least start the New Year with a modicum of optimism.

Article by @david_green_uk

Don’t miss the 4th HRcoreLAB  Conference this 8th & 9th of March 2016 in Barcelona.

6th Future of Recruitment Seminar (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

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HR Agility (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

Leadership, Analytics, Recruitment, Development, Talent, Talent Management, Big Data, HR tech, Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, HR Agility, Agile HR, Agility.

Will Algorithms Soon Make All the Big HR Decisions?

EscalatorFor a long time now, HR has enjoyed a relatively unchallenged position. It makes sense, of course: if you have questions about or issues regarding hiring, firing, employee engagement, or retention, who else would you go to but HR?

But things are beginning to change: HR departments suddenly have competition, thanks to algorithms that can use big data to make decisions — decisions that were once reserved for HR.

This is a little ironic, because when big data exploded onto the HR scene a few years back, we expected it would help HR become more scientific and less subjective in its decision-making. We never thought it would replace HR altogether.

Well, we don’t yet have hiring robots to replace our HR departments, but we do have algorithms that can interpret big data to make HR decisions that are, in some cases, been superior to the decisions of flesh-and-blood HR people.

The best example of these algorithms in action can be found at Xerox: the company’s call-center hiring decisions are now made by an algorithm. Xerox developed an ideal candidate profile for call-center employees, and the algorithm analyzes candidates against this profile to make hiring decisions. The algorithm’s decisions have much higher levels of predictive accuUnderpaid Scientistsracy than HR professionals’ — which is probably why attrition rates was fell by one-fifth following the introduction of the algorithm.

Aside from hiring decisions, algorithms are leading HR efforts in other arenas, too. For example, companies like Walmart, Credit Suisse, and Box Inc. now use algorithms to develop lists of “flight risks” — that is, people who are likely to leave their jobs soon.

This kind of early warning system has been taken in another direction by JPMorgan, which is working on a Minority Report-style algorithm that spots potential rogue traders before they actually go off the rails. Why wait for HR to uncover crime when computers can do it before a crime has even happened?

While Xerox and others have given their algorithms the reins, it seems that most companies are choosing to use big data to support HR, rather than supplant it all together. For example, take Google, one of the leaders in using big data and algorithms to support human decision-making. Google has developed both a hiring algorithm and a retention algorithm, but these algorithms are meant to help HR people make data-based decisions of their own; these algorithms don’t seem intended to replace HR — not yet, anyway.

Most companies probably use a similar “hybrid methods” today — that is, algorithms as support for HR people – but it’s not hard to imagine what the future could hold. Slowly, as algorithms grow more and more powerful and their predictions grow more accurate, we could see living, breathing HR people phased out of businesses completely.

PencilsHR professionals are still the best place to go for HR decisions, but how long until computers replace them entirely? I believe we can expect algorithms to become the new “go-to guys” in HR over the next 10 years. HR decisions will be automated and led by algorithms.

It is inevitable.

Article by @kazim_ladimeji

Don’t miss the 4th HRcoreLAB  Conference this 8th & 9th of March 2016 in Barcelona.

6th Future of Recruitment Seminar (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

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7 Important Big Data Trends for 2016


It is the end of the year again and that means it is time for the Big Data trends for next year. I did that for 2014, I did it for 2015 and now it is time for 2016. What is awaiting us in 2016? Which Big Data trends will have an impact on the global Big Data domain? How will Big Data affect organizations in 2016? Let’s have a look at seven of the most important Big Data trends for the year 2016.

1. The Rise of the Algorithms

The Rise of the Algorithms

Big Data is out, Algorithms are in. Data has become a commodity and every organization is capable of collecting and storing vast amounts of data. Analysing all that data is also not so spectacular anymore. Every organization can hire or train Big Data Analysts to understand the patterns within the data.

In 2016 it will be all about what actions you will derive from the data you have access to. Bring in the algorithms. Algorithms define action and they are very specific pieces of software that are very good at a very specific action, much better than humans can do. Think for example of quickly determining the right advertisement based on your profile when you visit a website or finding an outlier in vast amounts of transaction data to determine fraud.

These algorithms are very specific artificial intelligence and cannot be compared to Generic Artificial Intelligence that is still years, if not decades, away. However, very specific AI is already here and in 2016 we will see the rise of the Algorithmic Business.

2. Data-Lake-as-a-Service Solutions

Data-Lake-as-a-Service Solutions

In 2015 we saw the appearance of data lakes. Data lakes are becoming an essential big data storage tool as enterprises amass mountains of data from M2M connections, social networks, and remote workforces.

According to Gartner, “By 2020, information will be used to reinvent, digitalize or eliminate 80 per cent of business processes and products from a decade earlier.” And contrary to legacy storage solutions where we still see that the data lives in silos, data lakes allow raw, unvarnished bytes of information to live in one place where they can be integrated and analyzed for patterns. Data lakes are exactly what you need to digitize your business and become a data-driven business as Gartner expects organizations to be in 2020.

Since a data lake comes with quite a few challenges, in 2016 we will see the future of managed Data Lakes: Data-Lake-as-a-Service Solutions – a complete managed solution for your data lake.

Data-Lake-as-a-Services will offer active storage solutions that can ingest large volumes of structured and unstructured data, and make them available for processing by a multitude of applications, including enterprise data warehouses or open source technologies such as Apache Hadoop or Spark. An organization looking to use such a Data-Lake-as-a-Service will probably be paying a few cents per Gigabyte per month, which will include the total offering.

In 2016 we will see more and more Big Data vendors offer such a solution; to offer companies a complete, easy-to-use, scalable solution without all the hassle of having to arrange a data lake yourself. Data-Lake-as-a-Service solutions will be used by many organizations, due to the advantages of a data lake for storing, and analyzing, massive amounts of data. Especially smaller organizations, like for example startups in the Internet of Things domain, will benefit from a Data-Lake-as-a-Service as they get all the benefits of a data lake, without all the hassle of building and maintaining a data lake.

3. Blockchain Will Become Accepted in Different Industries

Blockchain Will Become Accepted in Different Industries

The past years, we have seen Blockchain primarily linked to Bitcoin, but the Blockchain technology offers a lot more possibilities. In 2016 we will therefore see that multiple industries will adopt Blockchain.

A blockchain can be seen as a public ledger, or record, of any digital events. The public ledger is shared between many different parties, computing nodes that are geographically and computationally isolated, and a record can only be updated if there is a consensus of the majority of the participants in the system. As soon as the new information is entered in the ledger, it cannot be erased and it is visible to anyone. With blockchain there is complete transparency to what is entered in the ledger.

A crucial advantage of the blockchain is that the system is completely transparent, anyone can see which transactions are entered in the ledger, without compromising privacy. You can record the fact that an event occurred, and even that it occurred correctly, without revealing personal details about the parties involved.

While most people link blockchain to the crypto currency Bitcoin, there are a lot more possibilities. Especially the financial industry will embrace the blockchain technology. Many of the large banks around the world are experimenting with blockchain and/or are investing in blockchain startups. UBS has created a blockchain lab, Santander is investigating how to use blockchain for their lending activities, Goldman Sachs has invested in a blockchain startup and a there is a large consortium, the R3 ’s global bank partnership, that investigates the potential of the blockchain.

However, in 2016 we will see more applications in different industries appear that use blockchain. Basically any industry where digital transactions take place can benefit from the blockchain technology, ranging from the financial industry, the legal industry, real estate, notaries, gambling, publishing to data storage. The coming year, a wider adoption of the blockchain is imminent.

4. People Analytics to Keep Talent Engaged

People Analytics Moving to the Masses

For most organizations, their talent is the most important asset and for most senior executives, talent is a top priority. According to a research by PWC, 34% of US CEOs are “extremely concerned” about the availability of key skills within their organization. As a result, senior executives are looking for hard data on their people and therefore, in 2016 we will see that people analytics is taking a big step forward.

People analytics is a new domain in the HR department, but growing rapidly because of the need to better drive the ROI in people. People analytics can be defined as a big data technology that uses snippets of people-related data to optimize business outcomes and solve business problems, is therefore growing in importance.

People analytics can help to answer questions such as: Do we have the right skills mix in our organization? How engaged are our employees and especially the top performers? Can we better predict who our future leaders will be? What is the state of mind of our employees? And many more.

In an overheated market, where the race for talent is on and where the best big data scientists and analysts are scarce and expensive and finding talent is difficult, it becomes more and more important for organizations to understand what drives their employees and to engage with them. As a result, in 2016 more organizations will dedicate employees to people analytics and the amount of startups in these field of expertise will grow rapidly.

5. Smart Governments Improving Societies and Citizen’s Experience

Smart Governments

For the largest commercial organizations, big data is already common language. Governments are traditionally slow in adapting new trends, but in 2016 we will see more national, regional and local governments embrace big data technology to improve their society and the citizen experience.

Governments are experimenting with Big Data techniques to improve citizen experience management, create frictionless transactions, improve governmental performance with government analytics and bring data-driven decision-making to frontline employees. An eGovernment, or smart government, will significantly contribute to these objectives and in 2016 we will see more governments around the globe to develop a smart government.

Already we see some create examples. The Dubai Authorities are working hard on transforming their government into a smart government. They started with the process to improve the customer, i.e. citizen, experience and drive the knowledge economy. They have created a Secure Single Sign-on to dozens of smart government services and a multitude of services are available via mobile applications.

The best example of a smart government is that of Estonia. The small Baltic state with only 1.3 million citizens has been named by the United Nations as having the decade’s best e-Government content. Every interaction with, and within, the Estonian government happens digitally and Estonians have complete control over their own data. In addition parliament is going paperless, laws are signed electronically and businesses operate completely electronically; paying your taxes is radically simple because all services are interlinked.

Although the Estonian government is well ahead of many other governments, this is a process not to be stopped. In The Netherlands the national government aims to work completely digital by 2017, from getting in touch with the government to paying taxes.

In the coming year we will therefore see more governments from around the world develop smart solutions. We will also see more governments opening up their data sets and work with open APIs to enable startups and enterprises to easily connect with governments. This will speed-up the process of becoming a smart government even more.

6. Increased Big Data Security and Data Breaches

Increased Big Data Security and Data Breaches

With everything going digital and the Internet of Things connecting the unconnected to the Internet, big data security will become more and more important. In the past years we have seen a multitude of massive data breaches including the Ashley Madison hack and the TalkTalk hack.

Basically any organization can and will be hacked in the future and if you are not hacked, you are simply not important enough.  Organizations should therefore focus on not only preventing a security breach, but also on implementing the right crisis plans when a hack has occurred.

In 2016 we will see more data breaches reach the news, we will see more screw-ups by organizations that try to cover up and we will see more attacks on physical products due to the Internet of Things. Especially the latter can have a profound effect on data security. After all, we have already seen that hackers remotely killed a Jeep while driving on the highway.

Therefore, in 2016 we will see more scrutiny on how organizations actually deal with their data security; from before a hack, during a hack and after a data breach. Organizations will increase their spending on security, they will work more with ethical hackers to improve their data security and they will improve their internal processes to make employees more aware of hackers. After all, quite often humans are the weakest link in a company’s security protocol.

7. Fog Analytics Takes Off Due to Smart Machines

Fog Analytics is Taking Off due to Smart Machines

Fog computing is gaining a lot of traction, rapidly. Fog computing refers to facilitating the storage, transfer and compute between end-devices linked to the Internet of Things and cloud computing that stores the data. With the advance of the Internet of Things, fog computing is gaining momentum as sensors are becoming so sophisticated that they can now collect massive amounts of data.

Imagine you have a network of connected devices that creates large amounts of data in real-time. Sending the data back-and-from the devices to the cloud can become too expensive and taking up too much time. Enter fog computing, or fog analytics. Fog analytics enables smart machines to perform part of the analytics locally and only send the prepared data to the cloud.

According to Gartner, smart machines are the new reality. Therefore, in the coming year we will see more smart machines with more and more sophisticated sensors that collect massive amounts of data. Organizations will have to turn to fog analytics to make the data manageable, keep the insights useable and reduce the costs as much as possible.

An Exciting Year Ahead

2016 will be an exciting year in terms of Big Data. Smart algorithms will take over the business to perform many actions now done by humans. We will see the appearance of data-lake-as-a-service solutions to help companies do more with their data with less work. Multiple industries will start to experiment with blockchain technology in order to disrupt their own industry.

Organizations will turn to people analytics in order to better engage their employees and win the battle for scarce talent. Governments will finally see the benefits of Big Data and become smart, while organizations and governments have to be aware of being hacked and take appropriate measurements. Finally, fog analytics will take off due to smart machines that will appear in every industry.

What do you think of these seven big data trends for 2016? Anything you want to add? Please join the discussion in the comments below.

Article originally by: Mark van Rijmenam

Don’t miss the 4th HRcoreLAB  Conference this 8th & 9th of March 2016 in Barcelona.

6th Future of Recruitment Seminar (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

4th Leading With Talent Summit (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

HR Agility (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

Leadership, Analytics, Recruitment, Development, Talent, Talent Management, Big Data, HR tech, Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, HR Agility, Agile HR, Agility.