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Building the digital HR organization as the workforce evolves

With SuccessFactors, a SAP company, we examine how HR must deal with changing business demands and technological innovation.


Digital technology is reshaping human resources and every other aspect of modern business. Our research initiative, “Future of HR,” aims to help better understand how HR can adapt and deliver greater value to the business.

Technology has already altered the way HR functions, and more radical disruption looms in coming years. Indeed, we’re at the early stages of an era of “digital HR.”

With our partners at SuccessFactors, we posed several questions. What does this shift mean in terms of specific technologies and capabilities? What should HR be doing to make the transformation to digital HR? And how are investments in technology likely to affect the success of tomorrow’s HR function?

Key Findings

Our research showed that digital technology is driving change in three fundamental ways for HR:

  • Enabling new approaches to deliver HR services - Mobile tools, social media and other consumer technology allow employees rich access to HR services where they can engage on their terms.

  • Driving democratization of talent management - Technology can be used to extend processes into the organization, enabling employees and managers to perform many of them themselves.

  • Enabling HR to act more like marketing - HR can apply the techniques of targeted marketing to talent management, customizing practices and communications to specific groups or individuals.


Through our research with SuccessFactors, we sketch out a five-point plan aimed at helping HR utilize technology for greatest impact:

  • Make HR mobile - Mobile technology is critical to reaching a constantly moving, dynamic workforce.

  • Use analytics for deeper insight - Create and monitor metrics that clearly measure the effectiveness of HR.

  • Leverage social media to get close to employees - Provide a familiar and effective channel for engaging employees.

  • UMove to an integrated, consolidated HR platform - This can provide the unified, consistent data needed to gain a single view of the workforce.

  • Migrate to the cloud for agility and innovation - More companies are using HR capabilities delivered from cloud vendors “as a service.”