Jason Averbook: Who really owns the digital strategy?

Industry analyst Jason Averbook is urging Chief HR Officers to step in take ownership of digital transformation strategies within their organisations.
By: | October 8, 2019

It’s time for employers to stop doing “digital transitions” and start thinking “digital transformation”. And HR needs to lead it. That was the message from Jason Averbook, industry analyst and CEO of LeapGen, who says that a true digital transformation is more than simply buying an abundance of new HR technologies.

“We can keep buying all the stuff… but it has to be tied into a vision,” he said on Thursday at the HR Technology Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

A digital strategy, he said, is about delivering the right things to the right people, through the right channels. It’s about engaging employees to deliver a better experience.

“What’s so important to think about is that ‘digital’ is not [just] technology,” he told the crowd of HR professionals. “Technology is only one component of digital strategy. IT doesn’t own your digital strategy. Who owns it? You, the HR department. Only you know what you’re trying to achieve for your people.”

A good place for HR professionals to start is to create a “vision map” for their digital plan so they know exactly what their goals are, what their guiding principles are, and how they will measure success.

“If you don’t have a vision map, you should really have one and you should give it to your vendors,” said Averbook, who also is a columnist for Human Resource Executive. “If you share it with them, guess what they can do? Help you.”

Averbook’s comments dovetail with others made last week at the event. Stacey Harris, vice president of research and analytics at Sierra-Cedar, told Human Resource Executive that the next transformation in HR technology is ensuring that employers are continually evaluating and changing their technology to get the most out of it.

“It’s what you do inside your company that matters, not the technology,” Harris said. “[It’s about] always trying to figure out how to get more people to use it, tracking who’s using it, measuring the outcomes they’re achieving. If you’re not reviewing things every 12 to 18 months … it’s of no value to you.”

Averbook said HR professionals need to nurture their technologies to create a true digital strategy,

“A lot of us are used to putting in pieces of technology and letting them sit,” Averbook said. “You have to treat investments in tech more like a pet than a rock. You need to look at it every day and measure its success.

“Technology doesn’t change organisations. We do,” he said. “Technology can help fuel it.”

Jason Averbook was one of the leading industry analysts sharing his research and insights at HR Tech Conference and Exposition, in Las Vegas, US, last week. For all the best global insights right here in this part of the world, be sure to be part of HR Tech Festival Asia over May 12 and 13 in 2020.