SMACS: Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Security, the five flagship areas of digital transformation – which have more to do with business departments and company support functions than with IT departments.
S is for Social:
This is the first and most visible area. The digital wave has brought with it a powerful social transformation that is revolutionising the ways in which individuals interoperate, interact and handle information, both in their private and professional lives. Social networks have emerged as key drivers of access to information, communication and influence for the new Generation Y, who have grown up with digital, and for those members of Generation X who have since appropriated these digital codes and customs. Both are now included within the umbrella term of ‘Generation C’ (where ‘C’ stands for ‘connected’), and they intend to extend these private uses into their professional lives. Companies are adapting in response, accelerating the creation of an environment which encourages more co-operative, less procedurally-based working approaches, promotes more fluid and transparent access to information, drives forward the sharing of knowledge and expertise and even enables working in networked mode to enable greater agility and innovation.
M is for Mobile:
The widespread everyday use of mobility tools means we can be constantly ‘connected’ – a fact which is profoundly transforming our relationships and consumption patterns. It is also transforming the way we work. Mobile processes are gradually being rolled out by HR, initially in the recruitment sector, but spreading to all areas of HR, administrative management and talent management. The challenge is to increase productivity and engagement by giving applicants and employees immediate, one-click access, anywhere and at any time (a trend reflected in the acronym ATAWAD = Any Time, AnyWhere, Any Device), and frequently via personal devices (which has its own acronym: BYOD = Bring Your Own Device).
A is for Analytics:
In the digital age, marketing and commerce functions have pioneered the use of new Big Data-style data pools and new analytical tools to refine their customer knowledge and optimise their operational decisions and actions.
Now, in the world of HR too, Analytics is ready to take centre stage. New prospects are opening up for talent management, salaries and internal mobility. Big Data and HR analytics will be used to identify and interpret new correlations between factors such as staff performance, turnover, customer satisfaction, etc. This data can be made available – instantly and with contextual relevance – to HR processes themselves, informing decisions, optimising systems and measuring impacts. With the emergence of new, ‘predictive’-style data analysis models and engines, HR managers and managers assigned with HR tasks can obtain information regarding probabilities and risks, and devise plans of action for targeted individuals. HR is now able to transcend the classic reporting approach and evolve into a truly analysis-driven business function, while at the same time retaining its traditional human-oriented characteristics.
C is for Cloud:
Digital change has revolutionised the way applications are used in the Cloud. The benefits of Cloud-based applications are numerous: delegation of IT services, predictable usage costs, speed of deployment, accessibility, scalability, high availability and flexibility. For each application, companies can now choose between cloud-based or on-premises modes to suit their specific situations, structures and IT strategies. The new HR applications can be provided in on-premises, private cloud, exclusive cloud and public cloud modes, depending on the desired level of sharing and delegation of services. They will be interoperable to enable integration with the components of the extended HRIS and to complement assets which are either still on-premises or already in the Cloud. APIs (API = Application Programming Interface) are the key to this interoperability, and thus to open hybrid systems.
And the last S is for Security:
Security has always been a major concern for CIOs and HR managers. However, digital change increases the level of risk for which the company and its suppliers are expected to assume responsibility. Indeed, each of the four SMAC issues adds its own share of risks to the question of data security and confidentiality. Hence the acronym is increasingly being referred to as “SMACS” or “SMAC’S”, highlighting the last ‘S’ for ‘Security‘:
– Social is based on faster direct communications and information sharing between members of communities in an ‘open’, real-time way.
– Mobile, with its ATAWAD corollary, is exposed to risk at any time, anywhere and on any connected device, whether professional equipment or, increasingly, personal hardware (an issue highlighted by the BYOD acronym).
– Analytics deals with large volumes of data from sources which are sometimes highly sensitive (Internet of Things) and deposited in Big Data layers.
– Putting this data on the Cloud potentially represents more exposed integration flows.