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IBM Singapore on the 3 things that enable large-scale HR transformation

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Learning happens when one steps out of their comfort zone. Arun Biswas, managing partner, global business services, IBM Singapore shares about how to manage digital transformation projects. 

There aren’t enough pioneers in the industry one could call specialists in digital reinvention – yet, one such leader is Arun Biswas, managing partner, global business services, IBM Singapore.

Arun has dedicated the past two decades to leading large-scale and complex IT-enabled transformation programmes, driven primarily by passion and the wish for constant learning, and he tells us the secret to managing these in this exclusive interview.

“I have always been fascinated by change and transformation and helping organisations and people transform to adapt to a rapidly changing world is a personal goal,” he says.

Additionally, it’s the dynamism of working with different clients of all sizes, and industries provides that he says is a great learning opportunity. “I firmly believe that learning happens when you step out of your comfort zone and leading large scale and complex transformation programmes gives me the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Having been with IBM since 2003 when he joined as a project manager, evidently the tech firm provides him ample such opportunities.

There are three things that he believes lead to the success of such large-scale projects, first of which is user-centricity. “Technology is a powerful enabler of transformation and it is often a catalyst. However, without a user centric approach, technology transformations are doomed to failure,” he cautions.

Agility is next on his list of keys to success – “start fast, fail fast and learn fast.” In Arun’s words, the days of large multi-year transformation programmes with months spent in detailed planning are long gone. Instead, change champions must “paint the vision, propose a prototype, test it and work with the client to course correct.”

To Arun, going digital simply means supporting HR’s core mission – that is, upholding the refrain of ‘people are our greatest asset’.

Lastly, be collaborative, he says, pointing out the need to work with various teams and stakeholders especially in projects where various facets come into play.

He shares an example on the importance of this: “I have seen organisations where a few individuals, charged with carrying out change, are eager to show progress and results quickly, without taking enough time to consult with the relevant stakeholders. Even after a launch, the fervour dies just as fast because no one is embracing the change, owning the change, and sustaining it for the long run. In the end, no real change takes place.”

In recent years, any talk of large-scale change efforts is incomplete without mention of HR’s progress in going digital. To Arun, going digital simply means supporting HR’s core mission – that is, upholding the refrain of ‘people are our greatest asset’, by spending time and resources to delight their employees and improve their engagement with HR.

“With the right vision, there is no lack of enabling technology to help HR professionals develop and sustain a high-performing HR services function,” he affirms. “Done thoughtfully, the result for HR is powerful employee experiences that drive enhanced business results throughout the enterprise.”

In fact, IBM has worked with many HR professionals to take advantage of the latest cognitive, automation and digital enablement solutions to improve employee engagement, efficiency and compliance.

At the upcoming HR Tech Interactive, 2018 organised by Human Resources, Arun will be delivering a keynote address on“Reinventing HR to Effect Change” at 11.50am.

He will address the shifts impacting HR practices that need to adapt and transform to thrive in the digital era. The topic will come to life through Arun’s sharing of IBM’s own transformation journey and of helping organisations use technology to accelerate towards their intended outcomes.

In a separate dialogue, Arun and his esteemed panellists will be discussing how the HR profession is being disrupted, and the extent and speed of this disruption is taking place in this part of the world.

He reveals: “I will also be sharing some of the key findings from IBM’s recent Global C-suite Study, where we interviewed 2,139 CHROs to better understand how the HR function is evolving, and how forward-thinking CHROs are responding to crucial changes in their landscape, so don’t miss it!”

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