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Automation & AI for HR; sneak peek at Veran’s Vanguard Research - Part 1

Updated: Feb 7, 2019

Part 1 of 3

On Thursday 13th December we presented a sneak-peek of our research into how HR can leverage Automation & AI before launching 2019 as our Year of AI & Automation.

With 15 HR leaders, we talked about the benefits of automation over cloud ERP and defined what we really mean by all these buzzwords. Using recent case studies from businesses leading the way, we brought to life the challenges, lessons learnt and opportunities for HR professionals across a variety of industries.

The benefits of Automation & AI over

Cloud ERP

The day began with an analysis of the costs and benefits of conventional cloud ERP systems compared to Automation & AI. Implementing cloud facilitates and drives simplification & standardisation of online processes.

Cloud HR, Finance & Payroll systems tend to automate steps in processes. These tasks, whilst made more efficient through reduced clicks and data being more accessible, often still require a high degree of human input.

Self-service promotes quicker and more autonomous initiation of processes and more accurate data as employees can monitor and update this themselves. However, activity that no longer sits with HR is frequently transferred to managers, giving them more work and not necessarily more job satisfaction.

Self-service becomes self-sufficiency

Automation & AI however can drastically speed up processes by removing the need for human input. Robotic process automation can also sit across many systems and offline steps, impacting a wider part of the end to end process. Tasks take less time overall and the user is coached through the steps to take, moving from self-service to self-sufficiency. Smart technology can also predict what an employee, manager or HR might want to do and what information they need, moving from self-service to proactive service.

Furthermore AI can surface trends and patterns that were previously unknown and support HR professionals to offer more valuable insights to the business, and a personalised experience to all employees.

Whether a cloud ERP platform is needed before robotic process automation and machine learning can be leveraged remains a mixed story. We have seen examples of AI being done in addition to cloud as well as part of a standalone project.

What exactly is Automation and AI?

In terms of what we mean by automation and AI, we’ve created a diagram comprised of the six stages along the road to full artificial intelligence.

There are numerous definitions for the above terms and an even bigger plethora of jargon. To help our members understand the different options, we’ve split the various stages into process driven and data driven focus. Understanding which type of AI is right for your business will be explored in part 2 of this series.

AI, Robotic Process Automation and Machine Learning don’t have to be intimidating concepts to get your head around. Breaking these concepts down, like in the diagram can make these concepts more understandable and digestible.

It is worth noting that leading cloud ERP providers such as Oracle, Workday and SuccessFactors are building automation and predictive analytics into their solutions although we are seeing more rapid innovation in the start-up tech companies who are more agile and niche.

This poses the question of procurement. Most organisations have to conduct due diligence on new suppliers that investigates how long the business has been established, their profitability and stability, all of which might fall short for the start-ups compared to the bigger vendors. The need for a new stance on procuring technology will be explored further during the series.

It’s time to Ask the Audience

Our research into AI, robotics and automation began because HR professionals who we meet on a regular basis are themselves, increasingly asking about the future of the field. Recent years have seen a revolution for HR, taking on new responsibilities and being seen as a core value-add business function. Our network and clients ask us the following sorts of questions:

• How do I navigate all of the emerging AI technologies and jargon?

• How much budget and resource do I need?

• How do I understand my options?

• What skills and capabilities will I need to deploy AI?

• How do I know if my business is ready for AI?

• What kind of benefits can I expect, so that I can create a compelling business case?

Veran’s Innovation team has been investigating these questions throughout 2018, and we are pleased to announce 2019 as ‘The Year of Automation & AI’ for our services, events and networks. If the questions above sound like the same ones you’ve been considering, stay tuned for events, online content and practical tips centred on Innovative and Intelligent HR.

In the next blog we’ll be looking at which areas of HR to target with AI, Robotics and Automation, finding the low hanging fruit and processes that don’t require complex design and costly implementation.

Free workshop to explore Automation and AI for your HR function

We are offering free workshops to share our research into how Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are being applied in HR, the benefits some businesses are already seeing and how you can get started in this area. To book a workshop or if you have any questions, please contact


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