Aasonn Insights: The 2018 HCM Horoscope

By: Katie Obi – VP, Strategy & Transformation at Aasonn

The HCM world is changing rapidly, with a large focus on disruptive technologies. Key themes you should expect to see in 2018 are…

  1. A continued trend towards virtual working and disruptions to Onboarding

We’re increasingly adopting a virtual working environment. According to Global Workplace Analytics’ research, forty percent more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago, and 80-90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. It was hard enough to effectively onboard employees while everyone was co-located. Having a virtual workforce makes onboarding much more challenging. We anticipate seeing more adoption of onboarding software, combined with bite-sized and engaging eLearning. We also anticipate seeing the use of disruptive technologies such as RPA and chatbots to help with the administration of the onboarding process, anything from issuing paperwork and setting the person up successfully in the right systems, to being available to answer questions about the company during an employee’s first days.

  1. Continuous performance management

Performance appraisals are dead… long live performance appraisals! The predicted trend for the obsolescence of performance appraisals has, in general, not come to pass. What we are seeing though is a desire for more regular feedback, from varied sources and perspectives. Many HCM systems are set up to support the annual appraisal but are not yet geared towards regular, project-based feedback throughout the year. We anticipate this changing during 2018, with new solutions being developed and fully integrated with the annual performance process to fill the .  Aasonn has developed a best-in-class approach providing Customers with Continuous Performance Management and Annual Performance Management Solutions powered by SAP SuccessFactors.

  1. Personalized and video learning

The video revolution has already happened on social media. 82% of Twitter users watch video content on twitter, You Tube has over a billion users and more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years. In our personal lives, we are used to accessing content in short, bite-sized chunks in video format. Video creation is now remarkably easy and can be done in someone’s lounge rather than needing expensive equipment, software and studios. From a single promoter to top-tier university ’s (massive open online courses, such as those offered by Coursera, Udacity and EdX), people are able to quickly learn new skills rapidly and in an engaging format. We predict that we will see more of this personalized, microlearning concept blending into the realms of corporate training and learning management systems, solutions and purchasable curated content (such as OpenSesame) during 2018.

Gamification has been discussed for a long time. . Research conducted by Dr. Traci Sizmann, at the University of Colorado Denver Business School showed that employees who used video games during their training had “an 11 percent higher factual knowledge level, a 14 percent higher skill-based knowledge level and a 9 percent higher retention rate than trainees in comparison groups”. We predict that in 2018 we will start to see more gamification solutions incorporated into existing HCM solutions or major HCM software providers will start to consider opening up their platforms for gamification extensions.

We also anticipate there will be advances in emerging AR/VR technology in the learning space. These will be unlikely to go mainstream in 2018; but watch this spaceto see how this evolves.

  1. Digital distruption

Spend a few minutes on the internet and you’ll be hard pressed not to find someone talking about Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some consider it to be the magic bullet to efficiency and profit while others believe it to be overhyped. The answer is probably somewhere in between. According to the Horses for Sources New York Service Buyers Summit (2017), over 75% of executives expect digital transformation to rapidly change their business operations.

This potentially impacts HR in two ways.

The first, more obvious, way is managing the change associated with digital transformation programs in the workforce. This could mean managing the fear and uncertainty that comes with a disruptive technology, but also working out what the future workforce looks like and ensuring the organization has the right skills to be able to thrive in the post-RPA environment.

The second impact is on the HR function itself. We have seen a great move towards Cloud HR technologies in recent years, but there are still manual processes in HR that need to be administered. There are still a lot of companies with highly customized, on-premise solutions, and others with very limited HR technology. RPA can be a great addition to any system landscape and can significantly reduce the administrative burden on the HR teams. RPA technologies are relatively cheap, proofs of concepts can be created pretty quickly, and cost of failure is, as a result, fairly small. In 2017, there has been a tendency to kick the tires with the technology, to automate without fixing process issues first, and to focus on the automation of the finance function. In 2018, we anticipate RPA becoming more mainstream (including into HR), with more emphasis being placed on fixing the processes before automating (most likely combining RPA initiatives with lean six sigma skillsets and programs).

While some companies will still be assessing the value of RPA, others will be further in their digital transformation journey, starting to consider other forms of AI, including chatbots, process optimization tools (that monitor the execution of processes and make recommendations for good automation contenders), utilizing algorithms to remove bias while screening candidates, and using artificial intelligence to analyze and gain meaningful insights from large volumes of data.

    1. System extensibility

Major Cloud HCM companies are opening up their platforms to their customers, partners and independent software vendors and developers. This provides the opportunity for cohesive digital workflows across business processes and applications, and will likely lead to a very innovative 2018 as partners and customers develop and market extensions that fill the gaps of existing software. The SAP app store already has over 80 extension apps available for SuccessFactors, and we expect that number to continue to . This will provide customers with additional options for increasing functionality of their SAP systems quickly and cost-effectively by purchasing pre-built, pre-tested extensions.



Katie Obi is the Vice President of Strategy & Transformation at Aasonn. With over 15 years of experience in the HR technology and services space, and a passion for innovation, she is responsible for defining, leading and driving key strategic growth and change initiatives for the organization. Katie has a Masters degree from Cambridge University and is a Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources. You can follow her on Twitter: @ak_barnard