WXT Boston: Leaders from The Broad Institute and General Atlantic Talk Transformation

May 16, 2017 Nicole Klemp

At Appirio’s third stop on the Worker Experience Tour, business leaders converged on 9OFS, a gorgeous venue in the heart of Beantown. The event was headlined by executives from The Broad Institute, General Atlantic, and Appirio, and also featured insights from Forrester Senior Analyst, TJ Keitt.

Taking the Worker Experience from basic to bold

Appirio’s VP of Strategy and Digital Transformation for EMEA, Greg Bohlen, got down to business with a presentation on taking action. He discussed today’s transparent culture, and how customers and workers alike expect transparency from the places in which they work and do business. Bohlen drove the point home with an image of workers sitting around in the nude (with computers and chairs strategically placed, of course).

Bohlen discussed the four levels of Worker Experience (WX) transformation — bashful, basic, brave, and bold. Companies at bashful or basic levels are supplying workers with just enough to “get by” with technologies and processes that may be dated and inefficient. When employers begin to implement more modern, cloud-based tools, they can start to move into the “brave” realm. And eventually, when workers are engaged and collaborating on mobile-first, consumer-grade, and seamlessly integrated systems, an organization has reached WX enlightenment — bold level, achieved.

Curing disease with a bold Worker Experience

In the second segment of the day, Appirio CEO Chris Barbin sat down for a fireside chat with Tara Clark, Director of Operations in HR at The Broad Institute. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was launched in 2004 to improve human health by using genomics to advance understanding of the biology and treatment of human disease. It’s made up of three organizational units: core member laboratories, programs, and platforms. Scientists within these units work closely together — and with other collaborators around the world — to tackle critical problems in human biology and disease.

Clark discussed noticing the stark difference between the brilliant and technologically-advanced work their scientists were doing and the outdated systems and processes they were using internally. The organization needed to make changes as to not “hinder the science,” and allow their people to work more efficiently. She emphasized the fact that The Broad Institute did not want to do a partial transformation and make things only slightly better; they wanted a true WX transformation.

The Broad Institute partnered with Appirio to roll out Workday Payroll, Recruiting, and Talent. “We finally got to a place where we realized our technologies weren’t matching the work they [the scientists] were doing. We don’t want to give them an HR system that looks different, but is still the same old process; we wanted the Uber model, not the Hailo model,” Clark said.

It’s time for HR and IT to work together

TJ Keitt, Senior Analyst at Forrester joined Justin Fogarty, Appirio’s Director of Content and Customer Marketing onstage to discuss some joint research that Appirio and Forrester conducted about investing in WX (coming out later this month). Keitt described how organizations need to become more strategic about how they do business, and stressed the importance of HR and IT teams working together more closely.

As more millennials are joining the workforce — and now make up the largest percentage of today’s workers —  companies are feeling the demand for more consumer-grade technologies. Young people are digital natives, and will gravitate toward organizations that offer enterprise platforms like Salesforce and G-suite. But as Keitt pointed out, it’s more important to determine what technologies workers need to do their jobs efficiently, and base decisions on desired business outcomes — not just what you think workers may want.

Wile E. Coyote, running ACME from Alexa since 2017

The demo portion of the Boston event used data from the ACME corporation — the infamous manufacturer of the explosives, anvils, and rocket-powered rollerskates used by Wile E. Coyote to (attempt) to capture Road Runner — to show the possibilities of a truly integrated WX. Appirio’s Yoni Barkan and Appirio CMO Latane Conant showed how cloud platforms like Salesforce and Workday converge with the Internet of Things, as Latane sat at “home” in her bathrobe and reviewed sales dashboards, gave a shoutout on Chatter, and conferenced in one of her team leaders — all using Amazon’s Alexa.

General Atlantic based transformation on business outcomes

Casey Santos, CIO of General Atlantic, joined Chris Barbin onstage for the final segment of the day. General Atlantic (GA) is a private equity and venture capital firm with about $17 billion in assets. But while the company is known for investing in high-growth technology startups, they found that their own internal systems weren’t properly integrated, and workers were relying on low-tech solutions — like emailing spreadsheets back and forth. “We spend a lot of time building relationships; we need to be able to connect people,” said Santos.

The company decided to take their investment relationship with Appirio to the next level … and become a customer. Appirio helped GA rollout Workday HCM and Financials, as well as dozens of integrations to their organization. When Barbin asked how they measure the impact of this update, Santos said, “We look at how much data is going into the system and how many people are using it.” She said they also listen to feedback from workers to gauge adoption. “The volume of helpdesk tickets is down, we’re getting good feedback, and people are more engaged and productive.”

To close, Santos gave the audience somes sage advice on going through a WX transformation: “I like the concept of being bold. Be bold, but don’t be afraid to adjust. We’ve broken some eggs along the way, and that’s okay.”

Visit our Worker Experience Tour event page to learn more and register for an upcoming event near you.

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