IBM’s Talent division to help enterprises cope with the challenges of reskilling

Varun Agarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 29, 2019

AI is viewed as one of the most pressing workplace skills necessary for success in the coming years   - Kholyaev

Bets on AI to transform the HR domain

As rapid technology changes are forcing enterprises to upskill their workforce, IBM is pulling in some of its best talents in various departments into a newly-formed division that will help companies deal with the staffing challenges brought about by robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

“This is a new unit which will have its own revenue measurements. All of us have pumped in new leadership into this. Learning consultants have been pulled into this, AI consultants have been put into this. Our projections for the division are very high,” Lula Mohanty, General Manager, IBM Global Business Services, Asia Pacific, told BusinessLine.

In November 2018, IBM launched IBM Talent & Transformation, a new AI-fuelled talent business to support the growing demand for people-centric organisations and close the widening skills gap. This new business will offer IBM AI Skills Academy to help technical and business professionals in areas such as marketing, HR, legal, finance and operations learn how to create or apply AI, effectively in their organisation. To facilitate culture change, it is also introducing IBM Garage, which helps businesses change how they work, where they work and what principles they use to guide their work.

“IoT is about a trillion-dollar industry and it includes everything that people are trying to do with digital. We feel a third of this business will be workforce strategy related. That is the sizing of opportunity that we are talking about,” Mohanty added.

As per Harris Insights research, by 2021, it is estimated that more than 120 million workers, in the largest economies, will need to trained and re-skilled as a result of AI. AI is also viewed as one of the most pressing workplace skills necessary for success in the coming years.

In India, HR Technology can help companies save at least 30 per cent of $2 billion annually, which would amount to $600 million approximately, according to PeopleStrong, an HR outsourcing and tech firm.

“About 5-10 per cent of top industry players have embarked on any HR transformation. It is almost a white space today. Less than 5 per cent organisations have a talent strategy that is riding on technology. Less than 5 per cent of organisations have a platform for reskilling,” Mohanty said.

The IBM talents and transformation division is something that had many years in coming.

“At the start of 2017, when we started to talk about IBM being the digital reinvention partner for our clients. A lot of clients started to talk to us about what is the end state of digital. That is when we started speaking about the concept which is that the end state is full-fledged cognitive enterprise,” said Mohanty.

IBM is trying to sell the concept of a cognitive enterprise.

“A cognitive enterprise to us is the end state of digital transformation when the organisation is fully efficient and leverages the power of technology. In the front end, it means open architecture, designed-led, deploying all the channels that technology is providing us with a lot of easy access to the customers and stakeholders,” Mohanty said. In order to prepare organisations for this end state, IBM is trying to help train them on AI.

“The purpose of this was to help organisations and their HR department empower people in the era of AI to close the massive skills gap and also make sure that employees are comfortable partnering with intelligent machines,” explained Mohanty.

Virtual pool created

IBM has already created a virtual pool for this division which would be a part of the global delivery because these people will come from AI, that people who understand the core HR domain. “AI at scale finds its roots in our large global delivery centres. Our global delivery centre in India is getting equipped, pulling together people from AI practice,” Mohanty said.

The talent and transformation division resides into the IBM consulting division but it brings to bear all of IBM because the technology, which we are deploying could be deploying IBM AI, IBM Cognitive, IBM software. “Therefore, the best of IBM is invested into this,” Mohany said.

Published on January 29, 2019

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