COGNITIVE computing is transforming human resources management and the employee experience in a way that content, conversation and community can be digitally interlinked to leverage more out of the human capital.
According to Louis Richardson, chief storyteller of US-based IBM Watson, most company knowledge is in documents, talking texts, emails, voicemails, and videos, among others. When this content is put into context, it is meaningful.
From the email-centric era, he said, we are heading towards more social transparency. In other words, “I am by what I know.”
Cognitive computing encourages employees to share ideas and data relevant to other employees in the organisation.
IBM has also developed a social scoring system for business management dashboard. This will help measure the level of social transparency as organisations need to adapt to the new workplace culture.
Given the fact that employees now may have too much information due to the rise of social media which leads to interruption in the workplace process, it is helpful to turn to artificial intelligence (AI) to manage the new information overload challenge.
For example, IBM Watson automatically issues alerts to employees telling them which messages should be responded first. That could be an urgent request for sales reports and, if that’s the case, Watson AI can send the sales reports to authorised colleagues instantly.
For cancer doctors, Watson AI can do the same by sending the most updated and relevant data on specific treatment options being sought after by the medical professionals so that patients can be better treated.
In other words, Richardson said, AI will help humans work to full potential and tackle the information overload to minimise disruption in the workplace process.
Managing human capital in a smarter way is necessary due to increased complexities and new competitive challenges resulting from the advent of new digital and other technologies. For business and society, the so-called “unknown-unknowns” have become a crucial factor as far as predicting disruptive technologies is concerned.
Notable examples include the advent of Uber taxis and Airbnb hotel rooms, which have posed new and potentially formidable challenges for the incumbent operators.
Very few people would imagine Uber as a successful global platform of taxi and other personal transport services without having to directly own a single taxi.
Airbnb is similar to Uber but it’s for the hotel industry, given its growing competitiveness as a global platform for hotel rooms that bridges the demand from individual travellers with the supply of unused lodging that could be shared and earn an income.
Other challenges include those regarded as the “known-unknowns” and the “known-knowns”. Retail, utility, banking and finance, government, among others, are all facing new challenges driven by digital and other technologies. For example, fintech, or financial technology, start-ups are challenging banks and other financial institutions in a big way.
In Thailand, the fintech challenge has already started with major commercial banks setting up subsidiaries to meet the challenge and learn more about innovation.
For Richardson, the best ideas may come from outside the office so organisations need to have a new way to capture those ideas. In his opinion, the triangular relationship of content, conversation and community is crucial and a digital interconnection of these is a way to maximise human talents.
For HR, cognitive computing has the potential to help people work better with more collaboration through social and other viral media.