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Workday talks machine learning and the future of human capital management

Because people are the most important resources in any organization, human capital management (HCM) is essential in every large enterprise. Changes in technology — from mobile devices to AI — are having a profound impact on how people in business work and interact.

To glimpse the future of HCM technology and the role of machine learning, I spoke with Cristina Goldt, vice president for HCM product management and Strategy at Workday. Cristina is a prominent HCM technology leader who is helping to shape human capital management. Our conversation took place at Workday Rising 2019, the company’s annual customer event, held this year in Orlando.

Watch the video embedded above to see the future of HCM and read the edited transcript below. I recorded this video as part of the CxOTalk series of conversations with the world’s top innovators in business, technology, government, and higher education.

Where is HCM going?

We see technology — artificial intelligence, machine learning — changing work, changing jobs, and the relationship between people and machines. We see the world of work and alternative arrangements and agile teams. We see all of that playing into how work gets done.

And, and very importantly, we see skills become a key factor or driver in how people are thinking about their workforce, their talent, executing on their talent strategy.

What does all this mean for Workday customers?

We need to support them. They’re looking for how they support their people in this ever-changing world of HR and world of work. And so for us, it’s how do we help them become those enterprises in the future to identify, develop and optimize talent. Scale and speed are what we endeavor to help them with.

What is the Workday Skills Cloud?

It’s a common language of skills across all of our customers. And most importantly, if you think of software as a service, it’s skills as a service because it’s crowdsourced. It dynamically lives and breathes and grows based on data. We’ve solved the data challenge of understanding, categorizing and continually keeping your skills updated.

The next thing was to solve the challenge of [knowing] what skills my people have. Taking machine learning to do that, to infer skills, matching people to work.

In the past, it has been very manual and challenging, if not almost impossible, because there wasn’t a common language or way to do the matching. The technology wasn’t there. Today that technology is there to sort through the huge volumes of data, to understand skills.

What’s the role of data in the future of HCM?

Data is the foundation to make this happen. At Workday, we started with that core system of record, which became that core foundation of data. Which now moves to a core system of capabilities. You now have data about your people that you can take action on, make recommendations. Using machine learning to make suggestions and make all of this happen. It doesn’t happen without the data. That data foundation gets us to the next step.

Where does the data come from?

The data comes from the billions of transactions and thousands of dimensions of the over 40 million workers in Workday.

Is data the future of work?

Data is an important part of the future of work and a foundation for all the things we’re going to do next.

Disclosure: Workday covered most of my travel to Workday Rising.

(Cross-posted @ ZDNet | Beyond IT Failure)