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‘In India, Focus On Talent Supply Chain Is Critical’

On the sidelines of Oracle Cloud Summit (Mumbai) 2023, BW Businessworld got in touch with Yvette Cameron (Senior Vice President of Global HCM Product Strategy, Oracle) to understand the nuances of the changes observed in workplace and workplace management across India and the world

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Yvette Cameron, Senior Vice President of Global HCM Product Strategy, Oracle

India is a unique market for many large companies from around the world. While a great number of companies gravitate to the country due to the abundant human capital available, Oracle has repeatedly said that India is a key strategic market for it. 

On the sidelines of Oracle Cloud Summit (Mumbai) 2023, BW Businessworld’s Rohit Chintapali spoke with Yvette Cameron (Senior Vice President of Global HCM Product Strategy, Oracle) to understand the nuances of the changes observed in workplace and workplace management across India and the demand originating for Oracle HCM from the country. During the conversation, Cameron also put the spotlight on the importance of AI in managing the gaps in human capital management. Read on for excerpts from the interview.

Edited Excerpts

What are your observations around India in relation to workplace and workplace management? 

Employee experience is a top priority across the world. And I feel that in India, with the nature of work (IT, IT services and BPO-type of work) that's very common here. For the concentrated size of the younger workforce and the digital native-workers who do offshoring for other organisations under a lot of pressure – their expectations have changed. And I just feel it more acutely here. They want to be supported, have flexibility, demand equity and the requirement for diversity is huge. But the pains and expectations that we're observing globally are reflected in India as well.

Do you see a lot of differences in the demand coming from India versus the rest of the world?

India is a very strategic market for us. In fact, it's driving the largest level of growth in our HCM SaaS business overall as part of the JPAC region. The adoption and customer referenceability here are at an all-time high.

What are your observations around challenges in workplace and workplace management these days? 

From the CHROs or the HR organisation's perspective, the last couple of years have brought about a series of new focus areas that are different from what they were 2-3 years ago. The pressures and demands of shifting expectations and labour shortages have led CHROs to really focus on the new requirements of leadership for their organisation. There is a tremendous amount of change that organisations are going through. This change is constant and accelerating to help the workforce from feeling burnt out and make sure the changes are effective.

In India, the focus on talent supply chain is critical. I see that here more so than anywhere else in the globe. And it's such a critical component. It’s not just about hiring but rediscovering talent, which means looking inward, understanding the skills and the skills-potential of individuals who are going to carry the workforce forward.

So, we're talking about re-skilling and up-skilling?

Yes, but that's not enough to develop those skills. You then need to match them to the opportunities and the requirements of the organisation. The challenge today for many organisations is two-sided. While developing, reskilling people and tracking them in an effective way is crucial, matching them to right opportunities using technology is critical.

Oftentimes, it's a very manual process. We saw during the mass layoffs; organisations were not managing their skills inventory. Because after they did mass layoffs, they realised: ‘we let the wrong people go’. Then they looked to hire back and didn't necessarily know what gaps they needed to filI. That's probably one of the biggest areas of opportunity.

The problem was/is due to lack technology or human error?

The fault is multi-sided. I think older technology, lack of adoption of AI – both in older technologies or fear of organisations to embrace AI-driven skills, taxonomies or AI-matching, for concerns around ethical and bias-free matching. There are a lot of questions out there in the market. The mindset of too many organisations on the talent supply chain is ‘we don't clearly have what we need right now/aware of, so, we'll just go hire somebody’. I think the re-discovery using internal talent, opportunity marketplaces, skills technology and AI-matching – those are the things that we need to close the loop.

How important is AI in HCM these days? Has the mood changed since ChatGPT debuted last year and AI became the central point of all tech conversations?

As I mentioned earlier, the talent supply chains were challenged by companies due to not embracing AI. But that has shifted. AI is pervasive across the board now. It is fundamental to what you would expect in an effective human capital management system. There's no way that we could handle the volume of analyses we need to make and drive the decisions which are possible with AI and the automation.

At Oracle, our approach with AI is to infuse our user experience. We make sure that it's dynamic, personalised and contextual. It changes with you based on who you are, where you are, what process and you're performing. It's very dynamic. We also use AI in our processes, including recruiting, matching people, learning.

We also use it in our AI-driven skills management and analytics. So, when you're evaluating data and there's missing data, AI can evaluate and self-correct the data as opposed to you having to go back and doing it all by yourself. NLP and NLG capabilities do the storytelling around it. Any effective technology, especially, those around people will make effective use of AI or our conversational interfaces. AI is present in every aspect of our suite.

How about Generative AI?

We haven't embedded that in our technology but we certainly see opportunities ahead.

Also Read: ‘Oracle Is Seeing Huge Traction With Govt, BFSI And Startups In India’