​SAP to tackle gender bias using machine learning

SAP has introduced new capabilities to its SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite to help companies standardise their talent acquisition processes.

SAP has announced it will use text mining and machine learning, based on the SAP HANA platform, to build new capabilities within its SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite to help companies identify and track where biases exist in talent acquisition and management processes to address workplace biases.

The company added it will also explore applications for mentoring group to help people from historically disadvantage groups develop their careers, as well as provide tools to encourage better work-life balance.

The initiative will be run by the group's recently established Diversity and Inclusion Customer Advisory Group, which will work with customers and diversity inclusion specialists to identify how technology can be used to support workplace inclusiveness.

The diversity inclusion specialists will include Elisabeth Kelan, professor of leadership at Cranfield School of Management; Tinna Nielsen, founder of Move the Elephant for Inclusiveness and young global leader at the World Economic Forum; and Tanya Odom, director of innovation and executive coach at The FutureWork Institute; while some of the partnering customers include Erste Group Bank, McCormick & Company, New York Life, Royal Bank of Canada, and Varian Medical Systems.

The initial focus for the group will be gender diversity, with Mike Ettling, president of SAP SuccessFactors saying the HCM solution will help organisations standardise their HR processes.

"Addressing inequity fits into our focus on built-in intelligent services and recommendations. Today's innovations, and those to come, are designed to help companies find and address opportunities to build inclusive cultures, prompting managers and HR professionals to make intentional decisions as they attract, hire, develop, reward and promote people," he said.

SAP initially acquired SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion back in 2011, as one of its first initial move into the cloud.

SuccessFactors will be one of the company's first four initial applications that will be integrated with Microsoft's Office 365 services in several ways as part of a new distribution deal that was announced on Tuesday between Microsoft and SAP.

Specifically the deal means SAP's HANA in-memory database has been certified to run development, test, and production workloads, including SAP S/4 HANA on Microsoft's Azure public cloud.

But SAP is not alone in trying to tackle the diversity issue. Other tech giants including Twitter, Salesforce, and eBay have previously committed themselves to increasing the diversity within their own workforce.