HR technology tools: Intelligence is everything

Futurist and technology commentator John Sumser took the Plenary Stage to highlight the immense potential of technology in HR, and also its dangers.
By: | May 9, 2019


The first-ever HR Festival Asia, brought to you by the combined experience of HR Technology Conference & Exposition (US) and HR Summit (Asia), takes over the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on May 8 and 9.

With a line-up of more than 100 speakers across six dedicated streams, and an Expo Hall with more than 100 exhibitors, there’s a little something for everyone at the event.

Check out our HR Festival Asia tag for more coverage direct from the event.

US-based futurist, tech commentator and principal analyst for HRExaminer John Sumser addressed the plenary stage at HR Festival Asia yesterday. His presentation, The Age of Intelligent Tools tackled the challenges and opportunities that HR technology presents to the HR profession throughout the world.

“Being curious pays big dividends,” Sumser told a full house of delegates. “The rapid evolution of HR is transforming it from a science into an art.”

One of the key points that Sumser emphasised is that an organisation is no longer just that; it is now much more like a laboratory. Shifts in core practices that previously took decades to implement can now be rolled out in weeks. While that is a positive in itself, the “fail and fail fast” mentality comes with its own pitfalls.

“Intelligence is everything,” Sumser said, “The cost of bad HR decisions is not just bad for the company. For the individual, it can mean bankruptcy, divorce, humiliation and years lost.”

He juxtaposed that statement with data which shows that as many as 50% of HR decisions turn out, ultimately, to be incorrect.

Sumser is a passionate advocate of technology in HR but he says that any machine, no matter how intelligent, simply dissects and counts data. He concluded his presentation by saying that HR professionals must never lose sight of the ethical questions in their pursuit of better efficiencies and tangible results.