The Era of Human Capital Automation (HCA) – A Revolution of Content and Tools in Human Capital Development

HR Tech, Talent Acquisition, Employee Experience, Workforce Management

June 2019 — By Nick Mignone

Recent industry observations coupled with insights from our client work have led us to a fresh perspective on the impact of technology on the Human Capital arena.   We see less of a technology replacement dynamic and more of a trend towards leveraging technology to improve work in a way that enhances the human part of the equation.  Technology companies are developing an ecosystem of tools and content that help to automate the human capital.  One participant likened the trend to the great strides in prosthetics for amputees or the ways semi-autonomous vehicles monitor if your car is staying in its lane or the way a Tesla’s autopilot glides through a lane change automatically… assisting the driver in a safe maneuver, but not replacing the driver.

The Human Capital world is evolving rapidly with virtual reality simulations, gamification and boundless sources of content from specialized leadership development to training and learning.  In this note we highlight the 3 mega trends we see coming and some the key investments that reinforce the shift towards Human Automation.

3 Mega-Trends Gathering Momentum in Human Capital

1.) The pulling of content– traditional hierarchy structures are giving way to direct delivery models through digitized content. The role of learning management systems is becoming inverted as employees seek to “pull” content in bite sizes they have time and interest to absorb.

Notable Transactions: Content and Digital Learning2.) AR & VR: Context is Important – There is an interesting dynamic and set of dilemmas unique to each Augmented and Virtual reality space. In the Augmented Reality space there seems to be less barrier to entry for early adaptors due to the solutions being less hardware intensive than Virtual Reality solutions -not requiring expensive headsets or remotes. However, adoption of Augmented reality solutions currently seems limited to more hands on industries like manufacturing and industrials with less of a use-case for areas like leadership development and soft skill training.

Notable Transactions: Gaming & AR/VR3.) The Bots will keep coming – artificial intelligence and machine learning are powering the most basic method of interaction in the era of the IoT (internet of things) with near full connectivity. The ubiquitous Bot is evolving from the most basic of question response function to higher order interaction that incorporates tone, linguistics and selection to better tune messages, reinforcements and coaching… incongruously displacing the humans from the human capital management.

The content and digital learning space is entering a stage of offering expansion as we see more acquisitions and larger raises – we highlighted $300M+ in recent funding and acquisitions. Meanwhile the more nascent AR and VR space is gaining traction and funding (we highlight $25M+ in recent funding) as more industries look to opportunistically adopt.