What I Learned From PeopleStrong Singapore Closed Door CXO Conversation

On 22nd of Jan 2019, PeopleStrong CEO Pankaj Bansal hosted a dinner with a dozen CXOs at Long Chim Marina Bay Sands.

The intent was to gather insights to better prep his panel session, together with Jason Averbook, Rosaline Chow and Priya Cherian, at the upcoming People Matter’s TechHR conference on the 28th of Feb.

The panel session was about designing for work in 2030 and how to make use of data and insights to anticipate future trends, their business impacts, and better actions to turn them into opportunities.

But as the discussion continues, it also diverges into other HR areas that are at the heart of the guests.

Hang on. Who is PeopleStrong?

PeopleStrong is India’s leading human resource (HR) solutions and HR technology company, enriching experience of over 250+ corporate customers and over 700,000 users.

Unlike many existing enterprise HCM providers that operate in a closed environment, PeopleStrong has a unique advantage of an open platform.

So instead of having and remembering ten logins for ten separate HR Tech solutions, a single PeopleStrong login would provide seamless access and usability of all the different solutions.

You can think of them like your iOS that makes it easy for you to install and make use of all the apps on your devices.

On the back of launching their solutions for India’s FutureGroup’s 68,000 employees across 250+ locations and acquiring Thailand’s True Corp as their first customer in that region, they would be kicking off their expansion plan with Singapore being the first office outside of India.

Back to the discussion

Pankaj kicked off the evening with a short overview of what had transpired in their experience of the space.

The digital impact that was brought about by more advanced technology and a new generation of the workforce is enormous.  

But despite best attempts, the available tools in the market clearly created a huge gulf between expectations and reality.

And with that, trying to understand what might be causing such discourse.

1. The lack of knowledge of HR Tech

Despite the best attempts to provide such information on the world of HR Tech (e.g. Singapore HR Tech Market Map 2018), the level of knowledge amongst HR professional can vary a lot.

Because of that, HR Managers don’t know what is out there and how to implement or use them.

Made worse that the deficiency of knowledge causes some to fill in their own blanks, and view HR Tech as a replacement of their job and hence putting them out of work.

2. The rigidity of existing enterprise HCM systems

Because of the high investments needed to put in place existing HCM systems, which are by default“closed”, complementary add-ons or interfacing was almost impossible.

As such, companies had to live with the limitations imposed and just slowly ride out the depreciation period.

There would be a case whereby legacy systems like SAP, Oracle was used as an expensive database and other useful products built on top of it to circumvent the limitations.

It was apparent that forward-thinking companies are open to tight integration to fully maximize the use of technology and, thus, productivity.

3. Senior management resistance to change

Due to the fear of something new and the inability to fully control it, companies closed the door on new technology/innovation that could bring their business to the next level.

On-premise instead of cloud computing. No mobile devices at work, let alone mobile apps. Such a mindset not only prevents the businesses from advancing with times, but it might even relegate them to has-beens.

And given how fast things are changing, that could happen in the blink of an eye.

4. Inability to link better HR to better bottom line

Many business leaders will automatically share that their people are the most important asset in the business.

But if you dig deeper, you may also realize that the HR department (that is in charge of people) carries the lowest budget in most organizations, esp when compared to sales or marketing functions.

HR traditionally has been a bit behind in terms of quantitative metrics. And that had made the job of the department tougher.

The providence of better, consolidated metrics that help to make better, quicker and more accurate decisions is much needed but often missing.

Concluding themes

Over the two hour discussion, it was clear that modern-day challenges plague businesses and their HR departments.

With it, four key quadrants were identified to be shared over the panel discussion at TechHR 2019 Singapore.

  • The Hall of Fame of Work v/s The Museum of Work
  • Productivity at work
  • Data privacy v/s Data in Silos
  • The business case – ROI

To find out more, join the panel discussion on the 28th of Feb from 5:10 pm to 5:50 pm. More details at https://singapore.techhrconference.com/agenda

I have just joined PeopleStrong Singapore in their Asia Pacific expansion. Based out of Singapore, I will be focusing on client solutioning.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.