From the Archive Future Friday: Hey HR now is the time to push for AI!

by Michael Haberman on October 12, 2018 · 0 comments


Is now the time for HR to take the bull by the horns and step up to AI?

I listened to another AI type of webinar today, also from the MIT Sloan Management group. The speaker was Mary Lacity Walton Professor of Information Systems and director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas. She was talking about Planning for the Human-Digital Workforce. During the presentation, she said that there were many areas of the HR field that could make use of, what she called, Cognitive Automation. What she was talking about is very similar to what others refer to as AI. That brought to mind this post from earlier this year. 

I listened to a webinar the other entitled How Big Data and AI are Driving Business Innovation in 2018. Presented by Randy Bean, CEO, of New Vantage Partners, on behalf of MIT Sloan Management Review, the webinar was not HR related nor did it address HR in any manner, but I thought the information signals a major shift that HR should pay attention to.

Biggest investment in technology is in Artificial Intelligence

Based on a survey of Chief Data Officers, the survey shows that fear of disruption is fueling the investment in AI. This fear has increased significantly in just the past year. In 2017only 46.6% of CDO’s and CEO’s reported this fear, yet it is up to 79.4% in 2018. I cannot imagine this fear not being conveyed to the CHRO in C-Suite meetings.

Big investments

As a result of this fear, the survey revealed that 97% of executives report that their companies are making substantial investments in AI and big data initiatives. This means it is time for HR to take the initiative to make sure that HR is being included as part of that investment. The researchers have found that the biggest issues in the successful implementation of AI are people issues. These include resistance to change and a lack of understanding of statistics. Both of these are educational issues that are the bailiwick of HR, or at least should be.

Step up

The first thing needed is to learn and understand how AI is impacting not just HR, but also your company and industry. Go to the C-suite with a plan for how HR and the company can be improved by an AI initiative. Explain how HR can help overcome the people issues. Take advantage of the fear factor that is pervasive in the C-Suite and develop an initiative to utilize that technology. Team up with the CDO or CIO and take a step forward.


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