"Conversations for a changing world"

How IT Is Empowering Today’s Workers

During an unpredictable time, IT teams can offer their companies a competitive edge in employee retention by helping create flexible work experiences.

The last few years have been some of the most unusual for IT leaders in a very long time. They’ve also been some of the most exciting.

“With all the upheaval, IT has become more central to business success than ever before,” said Jim Stratton, chief technology officer at Workday, during a panel at Workday’s digital event Conversations for a Changing World.

“The pandemic had an unexpected consequence. It transformed the way we work. We redefined ‘employee experience’ and unlocked worker flexibility through digital technology, all now a must for talent retention,” Stratton said. “The partnership between IT and the business [has become] a competitive advantage in the age of unpredictability.”

“During this period of change, IT has become a tool for empowering a company’s greatest asset—its people,” said Alex Choy, Workday’s senior vice president of technology products, who co-hosted the session with Stratton.

According to Stratton and Choy, the top three priorities for IT this year include:

Employee experience. The pandemic has given way to one of the biggest workforce shuffles in history, which Choy said significantly increases the risk of losing intellectual property and top talent.

“We need to create a digital environment where people can bring their A-game,” he said. “We see IT partnering with CHROs in entirely new ways to enable this.”

Business agility. According to Choy, IT leaders need to take advantage of the lessons learned from the pandemic around productivity and efficiency. “At Workday, we realized we had to move faster, and that led us to invest in technologies that empower businesses to adapt quicker and make better decisions,” he said.

Openness through integration and extensibility. “Our business users often need to change processes on the fly,” said Stratton. “Open platforms and process automation are essential to achieving that goal. They also need extensibility to build and deploy new capabilities as their needs change, without extra complexity.”

“During this period of change, IT has become a tool for empowering a company’s greatest asset—its people.” - Alex Choy, Senior Vice President of Technology Products, Workday

These priorities, with the help of five key technology enablers, will help companies accelerate the digital transformation that began before the pandemic, Choy said. He identified these enablers as:

A reliable and highly scalable cloud infrastructure.

A modern architecture that’s built to evolve.

The ability to integrate across your business technology stack to support process flows and build customized apps rapidly.

The technology needed to stay secure and auditable and incorporate the latest technology.

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to keep up with the accelerating pace of change.

“These five enablers support the Workday Enterprise Management Cloud, a platform that is ready for and continuously adaptable to the current and future business challenges,” said Choy.

Data also plays a major role in supporting faster, better business decisions and actions.

“Workday provides real-time access to data, which is the lifeblood of being able to evaluate different scenarios, make timely decisions, and execute and analyse results,” said Choy.

One Workday technology that is helping enable the new world of IT is skills cloud, which Stratton called a “good example of a reusable ML platform component. With skills cloud, we created a graph that tells us what we need to know about people and about their skills, and then how those relate to each other. We then apply that knowledge to a number of other related areas. For example, skills can inform recommendations around career growth.”

Interested in learning more? Watch the full session here.

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