AI To Impact

PODCAST: Making AI Real

Episode 3: Empowering HR Organizations with Automated Business Surveillance Systems

Listening time: 11 minutes

Empowering HR Organizations with Automated Business Surveillance Systems

In our latest episode of the AI to Impact podcast, host Monica Gupta – Manager of AI Actions, meets with Sunil Mudgal – Advisor, Talent Analytics, BRIDGEi2i, to discuss the benefits of adopting AI-powered surveillance systems in HR organizations. While it’s necessary to realign the talent matrix of organizations with dynamic macroeconomic factors and business requirements, other parameters such as headcount, attrition hires, promotions cost, retirement rate, and variable pay often impact business outcomes. BRIDGEi2i’s AI-powered solution, Watchtower works like a virtual analyst that can integrate with existing data structures to provide a comparative analysis of various cost elements. Tasks can also be allocated and mapped to specific requirements enabling faster and better decision-making at your fingertips!

Monica: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of our podcast AI to Impact by BRIDGEi2i, a podcast on AI for the digital enterprise. My name is Monica Gupta, and I lead design and deployment of contextualized AI solutions, which are BRIDGEi2i Accelerators. These solutions help drive both functional and enterprise-wide transformation by making AI real. In this rapidly transforming digital landscape, we’re all experiencing a dramatic shift in the business scenarios, consisting of complex business hierarchies, multitudes of data flowing from all directions and time-consuming insights. And hence, real-time business performance monitoring, proactive risk identification and dynamic alerts for business anomalies would definitely enable businesses for faster and more informed decisions. In this podcast, we are talking about BRIDGEi2i’s proprietary accelerator: Watchtower, and an AI-powered business surveillance system, which provides automated detection, alerts and advance root cause analysis.

In the previous episodes of the series, we have discussed the implementation of Watchtower in financial services and CPG industry with respective industry experts. Joining me today is Sunil Mudgal, Talent Analytics Advisor at BRIDGEi2i. Sunil has over two decades of experience in building talent analytics capabilities and solutions, and most recently enabling organizations to drive their digital transformation journey. It would be really interesting to know how he has enabled some of these key digital transformation projects in HR organizations with this business surveillance solution Watchtower.

Hello Sunil, Welcome to our podcast. I’m really very excited to have you with us today. How are you doing, Sunil?

Sunil: I’m doing very well, Monica and thank you for giving me the opportunity to join you for this podcast. I’m looking forward to our discussion. Thank you.

Monica: Thank you. So Sunil over two decades in HR strategy and industrial transformation. I have known you as an HR veteran who has been a pioneer in developing talent analytics capabilities, and also running a number of programs to strengthen the focus on talent across organization. So, let’s get straight into this.

Many organizations today are dealing with large amounts of structured and unstructured data. And the fresh challenge is to derive actionable insights from that data, which is impacting their business outcomes. Great. So, what’s your take on this?

Sunil: Monica, in today’s scenario, the organizations have scorecards to track KPIs across businesses, geographies, and functions through BI dashboards and Excel reports. The challenge with this data is that it may not be coming from a golden source, which may lead to inaccurate data or manual intervention required in these circumstances. It is also pertinent to be able to identify the questions that the leadership may be looking to be answered. It is imperative to realign the talent matrix with changing macroeconomic factors, business requirements, and scenarios. Headcount, attrition hires, promotions cost, time to hire, retirement rate, critical talent and variable pay. How do you track and report the impact of these metrics on key business outcomes?

Similarly, impact of cost dimensions, compensation and benefits, training, travel, social security, recruitment, and entertainment cost. How, do you assess the impact of these costs on business outcomes?

Monica: Sunil, you mentioned so many KPIs, which have now, you know, made me wonder that leaders will need real-time business performance monitoring, along with the ability to get contextual alerts. So how do you see the role of an AI accelerator like Watchtower help them manage some of these challenges with these many, you know, KPIs that you mentioned?

Sunil: Monica while monitoring a few critical people metrics, namely headcount, attrition hires, promotions cost, an AI accelerator like Watchtower can provide proactive alerts on variances, and it also helps the users identify the reasons contributing to it, along with the potential impact on business matrix.

For cost elements like compensation and benefits, training, travel, and entertainment, Watchtower provides a comparative analysis of various cost elements. It works like a virtual analyst that can sit on top of your existing data structure and dashboards. It monitors data across all dimensions and KPIs on an ongoing basis. The moment it identifies any event that has variance vis-a-vis trends, it sends an alert to relevant users, thereby enabling faster and better decision-making. Imagine receiving alerts on the top five critical issues that require your attention at the start of your day on your handheld device. That’s the power of Watchtower for you to consider.

Monica: Okay, this sounds interesting. And you talked about two very common use cases here, but how does the watchtower actually work in real-time? We mentioned virtual analyst. So, can you elaborate that for our listeners?

Sunil: Sure. Let me explain this further. Let’s assume you are in charge of the people cost across the organization.

In this month, you receive an alert saying that there is a variance of 5% vis-a-vis cost budget. The next steps for you would be to understand which cost items are the primary drivers for this, and also specific business or sub-business units and geography that have experienced it. The Watchtower will identify it for you.

It will highlight the primary reasons leading to this variance, travel and entertainment costs in enterprise consulting, business unit and compensation and benefit costs in a client services business unit. What’s even more valuable is that it further provides the reasons for these deviations as well.

So, the travel and entertainment costs have increased because of increase in the hospitality expenses in the APAC region and the air travel expenses in Europe as a region. The compensation and benefit costs have increased because of the increase in incentive compensation in the US as a region. So, these are some of the examples of how the variances are captured and flagged for the relevant parties involved.

Monica: Okay. Now, this sounds interesting. Now I can relate to the challenges that you were talking about in the beginning about trying to identify these anomalies, and their root causes from a BI dashboard. So, you talked about a few examples of variances yet, which are sometimes difficult or impossible to identify at the right time. So how do you ensure that those identified as the key for mitigation in the root cause analysis, they actually work seamlessly and are able to solve for the problem?

Sunil: Monica, this is where the collaborative features of Watchtower comes into action. It allows you to assign action to your colleagues to mitigate any risks.

For example, if you notice that the joining bonus in a region is too high compared to others, you can assign this to the person in charge of the region to validate the information and also associated reasons behind the increase. Given the business operates across functions, geos, the alerts can be mapped to owners across hierarchies.

This feature ensures that people not only get relevant alerts, but also it allows the owners to share their inputs or reassign as per the requirement.

Monica: This is exciting stuff, businesses spot unexpected events or anomalies at the right time with the root causes and are always able to solve it collaboratively. Now please talk us through some of the deployments done for the cost Watchtower solution for our listeners. This really sounds interesting. We would love to hear, you know, if you’ve done some deployments.

Sunil: We’ve recently deployed it for a leading global professional services organization and also a global insurance major. The Watchtower was implemented to identify the cost factors and within a quarter of its implementation, we were able to identify opportunities to deliver 11% savings, including improving efficiency.

Monica: Wow! Now, it leaves me with a thought how agile business monitoring is the need of the hour. Sunil, considering how we have seen a drastic shift in human resource management given the unprecedented times…so, how do you think this becomes even more relevant in this new normal for work.

Sunil: It is indeed very true Monica in today’s testing times, the world and the macroeconomic factors seem to be pushing the economy southwards, the revenue pressures continue to persist in every organization. And this has led to realignment of costs, including understanding different KPIs for the organization.

Be it hiring KPIs, revenue, productivity or engagement for that matter. So, a solution like Watchtower can indeed help companies take actionable decisions in areas like increasing internal mobility, how to grow internal talent, readiness, and succession planning, HR metrics, and costs across various dimensions—which helps to increase more focus and improve cost efficiency in the current circumstances and times.

Monica: Well, this was insightful. That brings us to the end of another episode. We went through a few use cases where automated surveillance solutions like Watchtower can help enterprises take actionable decisions. Thank you, Sunil, for your time. I’m sure our listeners would find this very useful and relevant in their business scenarios.

Sunil: Thanks a lot, Monica for giving me the opportunity to join you for this session. And it was indeed a pleasure to share some of our experience.

Monica: Thank you again, Sunil.

Thank you so much our listeners for listening to this episode of the AI to Impact podcast. Do subscribe to our channel as we continue to bring you the latest in AI through interactions with business experts and thought leaders in our upcoming episodes. Till then goodbye, stay safe and stay healthy.

With new data formats, evolving data ecosystems and AI technologies becoming more mainstream, the intersection of Data Science and AI-powered interaction systems present a whole new gamut of opportunities for digital enterprises. In our latest AI to Impact podcast series, Making AI Real, we interact with several thought leaders, BRIDGEi2i business heads, domain experts, and reputed AI and analytics leaders to learn more about the ground realities that further AI innovations. Stay tuned to know more!

Meet the Speakers

Sunil Mudgal

Sunil Mudgal, Talent Analytics – BRIDGEi2i

Sunil Mudgal has over two decades of experience in HR and Strategy. He has worked with organizations such as Deutsche Bank, GE Capital and IBM in different roles. He holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Delhi.

Monica Gupta

Monica Gupta, Manager – AI Actions

Monica leads the design and deployment of contextualized AI solutions for clients at BRIDGEi2i in her capacity as Manager, Data Engineering and AI Accelerators. Bringing in the techno-functional perspective, she handles roadmaps, solutions and the delivery of AI accelerators as part of her current responsibilities. She has led some sizeable Digital Transformation programs for various clients. Monica holds a Master’s degree in Finance from Delhi University.