How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Global Mobility?

Τhe global mobility function is undergoing a seismic shift. Emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, and data analytics can help mobility transform from a mere transactional function to take on a more strategic role in the organization. Read on to learn how these technologies can drive a new era of global mobility.

In an increasingly competitive talent landscape, global mobility plays a key role in helping companies attract and retain top talent. Low unemployment rates, increasing globalization, and new business opportunities across emerging markets have arisen as the key demand-drivers of global mobility. As companies look to realize better ROI from their mobility initiatives, technology is crucial to enhancing the effectiveness of these programs and improving cost-savings.

As the global mobility function transitions from a mere transactional function and assumes the role of a true strategic partner, the mobility function must take on multiple roles to meet the needs and expectations of the changing workforce and business leaders.

Global mobility leaders need to now embrace the tenets of the start-up ecosystem – agility, innovation, and employee-centricity. Organizations expect mobility to be a significant driver of core programs, frameworks, and competitive advantage.

Artificial Intelligence and Global Mobility 

Cognitive technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning are enabling organizations to go beyond traditional ways of managing a global workforce by using intelligent systems to identify, predict and mitigate the risks associated with relocating their employees around the world.

Speaking exclusively to HR Technologist, Steve Black, Co-founder and VP of technology at Topia, a global mobility management company, says, “Mobility, in general, is behind the curve in AI and machine learning; however, there are a huge number of areas of impact that we see coming online. Before long that will start the way, companies think about managing and moving their global talent. Predictive insights will take off. As organizations start to unlock the power of their data, machine learning and AI will help identify insights to predict future issues. For example, if your company is trying to transfer a VP into Germany from the US in time for the start next fiscal year, it often takes over four weeks because companies have never moved someone that quickly due to immigration constraints. Or there are issues adjusting the default set of relocation benefits on the route because of families with children. Soon all this will become more common due to more capabilities that are already transforming the enterprise.

“Another key area is chatbots. In their basic form, you are able to ask for updates access to information whether through text or voice interaction. For example, asking Alexa what the status of your visa application or Siri is if Janet Dixon’s move is on track. Over time, they’ll be able to answer more complex situations and take actions which in turn will remove much of the manual nature of the process today.”

A key factor in AI’s adoption in global mobility is the massive growth in the volume of data available to organizations, the emergence of AI-powered conversational interfaces, and the sophistication of data analytics techniques. Complex processes like tax research or immigration that would historically take days or even months could be simplified and shortened using cognitive technologies.

The Future of Global Mobility

At the end of the day, global mobility is a people-intensive function – answering questions on a wide range of subjects from visa permits, tax clarifications, and compliance. Since the modern workforce is geographically dispersed, it is difficult for organizations to cater to various employee needs at once. This is where conversational interfaces like chatbots can help. With quicker turnarounds and more accurate information, chatbots might not completely replace humans in the mobility department, but will surely streamline workflows, enabling the mobility function to become more agile, while improving the overall employee experience.

Speaking about future trends in global mobility, Black opines, “In addition to the progress of AI and machine learning in the space, there a couple of key trends that has Topia excited.

  • “The continued increase in self-service for employees and HR, with continued advances in technology. More and more people are able to access the information that they need, when they need, in a format that doesn’t require deep expertise to digest. This trend will only continue and we expect the landscape within mobility to be very different over the coming years.
  • “The deepening integrations with HCM platforms. The big technology players realize that the complex world of mobility doesn’t fit within traditional ERP platforms, but major enterprises have a real pain and need here. We are seeing deeper relationships between HCM and global mobility management technology and we expect that continue in the future. For example, Topia recently announced a partnership with Workday.

The recent wave of ‘robots vs. humans’ scare stories might have dominated conversations around man-machine synergy; however, it is undeniable that cognitive technologies like AI bring great efficiencies in executing repetitive and often boring tasks. Further automation will likely reward mobility and HR professionals with more interesting tasks rather than eat away at their employability. In conclusion, AI in global mobility could be the difference between being “good” and being “great”.







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