Preparing for the workplace of the future requires innovation and fresh perspectives on the part of tech companies, says Yazad Dalal, Oracle’s head of HCM cloud applications, Asia-Pacific
The tech industry is one that experiences change at a more rapid pace than most. Companies are forever grappling with strategies for an uncertain future. The American multinational Oracle is no exception, as Yazad Dalal, head of HCM cloud applications, Asia-Pacific, explains.
What trends have you seen shaping the technology sector over the last few year?
The technology sector is always changing but in the past few years, the pace of change has been exponential. In terms of human capital management, we’re seeing moves toward automation and streamlining of workplace processes.
What effects are these trends having on careers in the sector in Hong Kong?
Tech businesses are now taking on a start-up mentality and evolving in terms of the kind of people they aim to hire. Before, companies would look for deep technology backgrounds, but now businesses want to bring in people with fresh perspectives who can anticipate and drive the next wave of trends.
What are the current recruitment challenges for firms like Oracle when looking for talent?
Skills shortages are affecting many technology businesses in Asia. Businesses need to build the workforce of the future. This entails questioning our biases and being open to hiring people from non-tech and non-typical backgrounds.
Has Oracle made any changes to its recruitment strategy recently?
Diversity and inclusion are key to tackling skills shortages, meeting business and customer needs now and in the future, and ultimately driving success. At Oracle we see diversity as a critical component of our business.
What separates a great professional in your field from just a good one?
A great professional will constantly challenge their biases in order to take risks, and have the right attitude which is capable of driving positive change.
Can you outline the path your career took to get to your current role? Is this a typical progression?
I started out in dotcoms in the 90s and always thought I was only suited to work in start-ups and small or mid-sized companies. When I first interviewed at Oracle I explained all the reasons I didn’t want to work for a big technology company. My future boss said, that’s great! Tell us more! The business was looking to take new risks, and if I hadn’t challenged my own biases I wouldn’t be here today.
Are there any formal qualifications you would recommend professionals in your industry, or those hoping to get into it, acquire?
We’re increasingly seeing that educational background and work history don’t define what you have to do for the rest of your life; and in fact, they may qualify you to drive huge value in an unexpected field.
What I recommend is getting a range of experience rather than staying siloed in one functional area.
How easy is it for professionals from other sectors to move into tech? What do they need to consider?
In their desire to innovate, tech companies are seeking people from different sectors who can bring fresh eyes, fresh ideas and a fresh perspective. I graduated with a degree in English literature. Oracle hires people with cloud and technology experience, but we also actively look for people with a diversity of thought and experience.
What is the hardest part of your job? And the most rewarding?
My challenge is to help businesses provide an amazing employee experience. This can be tough when employees are accustomed to cutting-edge technology in their personal life and now expect a similarly convenient, tech-enabled experience at work. Businesses need new solutions to improve and modernise their workplace processes, and it’s rewarding to be a part of that transformation.
Is a good work-life balance possible in your line of work? Do you have any tips on how to achieve this?
I’ve always had a lot of support from my wife, who’s a successful businesswoman in her own right. With a strong partner who understands your career aspirations and motivations, you can make strategic decisions together and take advantage of exciting opportunities.