Deepak Dhar is the founder and CEO of Bangalore-based Repute Networks Pvt. Ltd., an open talent network company. In his capacity, Deepak looks after the overall management and growth of the company. He aims to expand the business across India and the world. He wants to make Repute a household brand. With a B.Tech from the National Institute of Technology and an MBA from S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Deepak was a merit holder during his college days and remained onwards and upwards post it. He has several accolades to his credit.
An Open Digital Ecosystem (ODE) enables data exchange and transactions across systems to provide for seamless collaboration and interoperability between these systems, all with the data owners’ consent. It has several interesting applications across industries. Let us take an example to understand ODEs better.
When we communicate with each other via a meeting platform like Zoom Meetings, all the meeting attendees need to be present on the same application, i.e. Zoom, to be able to enter the meeting and talk to one another. This is an example of a closed system. But when we send emails to each other, we don’t need to use the same email service provider. One person could be using Gmail, while another could be an Outlook user, but they can still exchange emails. This is an example of Open Systems. And different Open Systems connected together create an Open Digital Ecosystem.
Open Digital Ecosystems of today are built using technologies like Blockchain, that ensure data security and transparency. The data and information in these ecosystems cannot be accessed or altered without the consent of the data owner. There is no public access ledger as such. The data owner only allows access to data that they want to share, with parties they want to share it with, and the data is directly fetched from the source system without anyone’s intervention. Manipulation or tampering of data shared is not possible at all. This means that participants do not need to know each other to trust the authenticity of the information shared or the transaction performed. The system builds in that trust by default, leading to trust-free collaboration.
Currently in the digital world different marketplaces are acting as Trust Brokers, facilitating transactions between transacting parties in various sectors- like retail, cab services, travel & tourism, restaurants etc. Fair play in the e-commerce space is getting disturbed by the monopolistic behavior exhibited by the big marketplaces. To counter this, the Government of India has taken some initiatives in building Open Digital Ecosystems. One such initiative by the government based on open-sourced methodology is the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC). Using open specifications and open network protocols independent of any specific platform, it aims to promote open networks for all aspects of exchanging goods and services over digital or electronic networks. This is beneficial to consumers as well as sellers and the good thing is that both of them don’t need to be present on the same system or platform (for example- Amazon or Flipkart) to conduct any transactions between them. Buyers & sellers can be present on their respective systems and still will have interoperability between them.
Earlier, it was not possible to build such robust ecosystems because of the lack of availability of the right technology. However, Web 3.0, the next generation of the internet, allows the creation of safe and reliable Open ecosystems. It enables all the stakeholders i.e businesses & Individuals to collaborate in a trusted environment, and preserve the confidentiality and integrity of data simultaneously.
ODEs in talent management
Talent management is an area where ODEs can really make a difference. Currently, there is no collaboration & interoperability that exists between hiring organizations, HRMS partners, employees, and other stakeholders in the talent ecosystem. This means there is no scope for direct transactions & sharing of knowledge, and this hampers the collective growth of the industry. Take, for example, the task of hiring. Not even a marketplace exists for this, leaving a huge trust void due to the lack of data sanctity and allowing common malpractices like employee ghosting and moonlighting, lack of verified identity and employment data, etc. All of these things put together create a very strong need for having an Open Digital Ecosystem in the talent space.
In the ODE for talent, companies, individuals, HRMS and Service providers can perform transactions directly and exchange data securely, quickly, and with 100% data sanctity powered by Blockchain technology. This means that all the stakeholders will be able to access information directly from the source systems, making sure it is authentic. This makes talent management much more organized, agile and reliable.
Here are some of the benefits of the ODE in the talent management landscape:
- Use of interoperable applications
The need for technological advancement in the HR domain placed a huge focus on automations in talent management. As a result, there were interoperable applications built by the same technology provider, which were often not up to the mark, or some state-of-the-art applications developed by different organizations which did not provide interoperability. This posed a challenge as HR leaders had to either work with sub-par products, or with systems that didn’t talk to each other. However, once connected by an Open Network, these systems can have interoperability. With ODE, innovators can build best in class, super specialized applications for the ecosystem that are all interoperable, and thus collaboration between the various systems in an organization becomes possible. This drives overall efficiency in the organization.
- Collaboration within the ecosystem
Now, most of the systems deployed by different organizations work independently or in isolation, making them closed systems. This restricts interoperability and data sharing between different organizations, whereas in open networks, the interoperability among organizations brings in a consent- driven open exchange of reliable information and interactions. This creates an ecosystem level of knowledge which can benefit the whole industry.
In the talent management industry, there is a huge opportunity for collaboration among companies. They can become more efficient by eliminating redundant administrative tasks like physical background checks. They can build an ecosystem-level knowledge base that everyone can access and use. The ecosystem can also protect companies from candidate ghosting, i.e. candidates accepting multiple offers at the same time. An ecosystem level knowledge of salary benchmarking based on key credentials of professionals, such as work experience, industry, educational background etc, can help organizations make competitive, data driven offers and improve offer to joining ratios. Such industry-level collaboration can bring in unprecedented agility and accuracy in HR operations.
- Cross-ecosystem collaboration
An Open Talent Network has the ability to address the concerns of both intra-operability and interoperability between systems. It means if an entity would like to collaborate with an entirely different entity, say an HR manager needs to connect with insurance providers to offer customized insurance benefits to their employees, or a banking partner to have salary accounts and other personalized banking services, they can do so easily because the entire ecosystem is connected via the open network. And not just financial services, the talent network connects many more service providers- be it renting, lending, learning and development services, or even early wage access services.The possibilities are endless! This benefits the entire ecosystem. Organizations can have more seamless processes, employees are empowered to avail customized offers, and service providers are empowered to create customized offers with faster SLAs, better risk hedging etc.
- Empowering professionals
The range of benefits of an Open Talent Network is not limited to just companies and service providers. Individuals get the opportunity to directly get in touch with organizations in the network. They get better access to the job market, can get insights such as salary benchmarking, and also provide faster self-verification to their employers, meaning a quicker onboarding process. They can also seek personalized services from renting and lending services, insurance, banking, travel & hospitality, learning and development, etc. on the basis of their credentials. The biggest advantage to individuals, however, is the control they have over their own data. They can log in with their network identity to interact with other systems, and share only the data they’d like to share.
The presence of employers, employees, service providers, and HRMS in the talent ecosystem means that acquiring and managing talent becomes easier for businesses. With the ODE for talent, there will be increased productivity, and greater accuracy for HR teams, which will reflect in the quality of talent hiring & management as well. At the same time, professionals will have complete control over their data, transition smoothly to their new employers, have access to greater insights on compensation, skill trends, etc, as well as personalized benefits on the job, all leading to greater employee satisfaction and hence, retention. As the network expands, its efficiency will keep increasing, and the entire talent ecosystem will benefit, together.