Indian retail sector sees huge digital skills gap: Study

Chennai: Indian retailers and online giants are betting big on emerging technologies like chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) rather than on human skill, thereby creating a huge IT or digital skills gap, a study has said.

According to the research conducted by PeopleStrong, more than 53 per cent of chief human resources officers (CHRO) representing over 500 retail enterprises in India believe that their HR verticals are still six quarters away from embracing AI in their day-to-day work.

One of the major reasons, as observed by around 59 per cent of the respondent CHRO’s, is the absence of seamless flow of data between different HR functions as the information lies in silos and different platforms making it difficult to have a unified view of this data for better insights

With this being said as the survey highlights, Indian organizations are expected to bridge the gap by 2020. Both Indian & global HR Tech companies have already initiated this journey of revolutionising the way Indian Retail enterprises manage people and talent function, the study said.

An indication of the development is the fact that 59.18 per cent of these companies have started storing their HR Data on cloud, with majority of them replacing legacy systems in recent past.

Presently, only 24.49 per cent spend more than $10 per employee and another 45 per cent of these organisations’ report $5-10 spends, which is bound to increase soon as their legacy systems move to cloud based transformative technology.

Analyzing the research findings, founding member and VP, HCM, PeopleStrong, Prakash Rao, said, “There is a tremendous potential for this number to see a hike in the coming months. We are already seeing the change in the mindset of CHROs for adopting new age HR Technology solutions shifting away from Traditional ERPs.”

“According to the India Retail Report released last September, India has replaced China as the top retail destination. This has led to an increased global participation, with Indian retail space witnessing a number of big ticket deals. In such a competitive scenario, it becomes important for these enterprises to augment their people and talent management competencies,” Prakash added.

NT Bureau