Article: Harnessing the power of data

Technology

Harnessing the power of data

Analytics is the key to unlocking the meaningful insights from the huge treasure of data available
Harnessing the power of data
 

Transforming raw data into actionable business intelligence requires hours of going through manual data and formatting. This is where analytics would help play a key role in leveraging the power of data

 

Organizations are now increasingly implementing various solutions delivered through cloud models such as hosted data warehouses, SaaS, Business intelligence (BI) and social media analytics powered by cloud

 

Adequate data helps you make decisions. Or so one would presume. Traditionally, most HR decisions have been based on gut feel or past experience. In the information age, where we are talking about wearing technology on the sleeve (literally!), this needs to change fast. While HR clamours to be part of the Board room, the only thing that would work in their favour is a four letter word: Data. Data that is easily consumable, that helps to make business decisions and provide an in-depth analysis of what’s wrong and what’s right.

HR metrics have always looked at data from a uni-dimensional manner and there was no thought of assessing the “why”. For example, it is impossible for a company to take a business decision on employee turnover if one does not do an in-depth analysis as to why the numbers are rising. Which are the departments affected, which level of professionals are quitting, what is the age group, the tenure in the company, what kind of positions are affected and lastly the why. But, how do you align this HR data with strategic business decisions? Transforming raw data into actionable business intelligence requires hours of going through manual data and formatting. This is where analytics would help play a key role in leveraging the power of data to solve business problems.

Companies today are not just using workforce analytics to track employee hours or salaries any more. Today, analytics can help enterprise leaders develop and improve recruiting methods, workforce planning, retention analytics. Talent is the no. 1 resource and that companies are looking to get more out of them and workforce management solutions are the way forward. Technology and analytics have made decision making more accurate, reliable and sustainable.

Arjun Pratap, CEO, EdGE Networks says, “Predictive analytics helps draw meaningful inferences about a candidate’s implicit soft skills, competencies and capabilities for a future role based on his/her past experiences mentioned explicitly in the resume.” Service providers claim that predictive analytics offers the capability to help organizations foresee the business impact of recruitment and training, helping them chart a future growth path for individual and organizational success.

Of course, it also helps to map the right talent to the right job. Raghav Jain, COO and Co-Founder, TalentPad says, “There are several online skill assessment tools that enable organizations to map a candidate’s skills with the job requirement and also provide compatibility scores mapping the job description with the candidate profile, helping organizations take the right decision.”

A Bersin by Deloitte research on ‘High-Impact Talent Analytics’1 revealed that the companies who were using advanced analytics are twice as likely to improve their recruiting efforts and leadership pipelines and thrice more likely to achieve efficiency and cost reductions as compared to those who don’t. On the other hand, 67 per cent of the larger chunk of the global organizations that lack predictive or advanced analytics agree that they are ‘weak’ in this capability and 48 per cent are actively developing or planning to move ahead with talent and HR analytics capabilities.

Only 14% of organizations use analytics

While technology and analytics help to drive businesses by making operations faster and more transparent, organizations are still reluctant to jump into the market. The Deloitte research paper revealed that only 14 per cent of the 435 US and Canadian companies surveyed are using data to help business leaders to solve talent challenges and forecast talent outcomes. The rest (86 per cent) are still focused primarily on measurement and reporting.

Arun Dhaka, Country Sales Director - Cornerstone OnDemand - India & South Asia, says, “Organizations have begun to look at analytics but are doing it in silos, restricting its use majorly to recruitment and a few other functions. There is a strong need for a formal and integrated industry perspective on the same.”

The investment required both in terms of money and the time and effort from the senior management is quite huge. Most service providers we interviewed for this story shared that although organizations are now keen to explore the power of analytics, there is a lack of awareness around the same. Moreover, it makes it difficult for the service providers to reach to the real decision maker in an organization. Be it the COO, the business heads, the HR Head or the CTO, the decision maker varies depending on the organization’s scale, size or industry. This later impacts the integration level of analytics amongst various departments.

Using such data and metrics HR can predict individuals with a high potential for growth and even their attrition levels. This information could be very helpful in charting the best possible ways to prevent attrition, letting organizations be proactive in retaining people with high potential.

Organizations are now increasingly implementing various solutions delivered through cloud models such as hosted data warehouses, SaaS, Business intelligence (BI) and social media analytics powered by cloud. Such solutions are mostly SaaS based as Dhaka says, “Multi-tenant SaaS solutions allow for data to be easily managed, structured and shared with open APIs.” Through multiple access points and accurate analytics, these solutions result in huge cost efficiency reducing the manual data handling procedures that were costly, complicated and prone to errors in inferences.

Be it developing them in-house or roping in new people, organizations are looking at bringing in data scientists, analysts, econometricians, demographers, computer/applied scientists and business intelligence specialists depending on the requirement and complexity of organizational issues. They are the people with strong business, HR and consulting skills and can help draw the right inferences from data establishing linkages with business and its people.

Slow & Steady: Market is growing

IDC has projected that the Advanced and Predictive Analytics market will grow from $2.2B in 2013 to $3.4B in 2018, attaining a 9.9% CAGR in the forecast period. An earlier research by MarketsandMarkets is a global market research and consulting company based in the U.S, showed that the predictive analytics market is estimated to grow from $1.70 billion in 2013 to $5.24 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 25.2% from 2013 to 2018.

Whatever the projected growth is, the power of technology and analytics has been established well and organizations are now actively preparing to take the plunge. But ‘with great power comes great responsibilities’ and that is why the HR and analytics experts will have to be the conscious harbingers of organizational trust and integrity, while harnessing the power of data and analytics only for accomplishing organizational sustainability and success. As Mohit Gundecha, CEO & Co-Founder, Jombay says, “Talent Analytics is not just about taking the existing data and trying to infer trends about your people. Human beings are complex. You need to use tools to capture the emotive side of your people to draw meaningful insights.”

HR need not be seen as a function hesitant about numbers but one with strong analytical capabilities and an ability to solve various people and business problems, more importantly with a humane approach. So, if you’re looking at building a strong talent analytics function, begin with establishing a culture where people are encouraged to trust data more than intuition!

Acknowledgements:

High-Impact Talent Analytics: Building a World-Class HR Measurement and Analytics Function http://marketing.bersin.com/rs/bersin/images/hita100113sg.pdf

Topics: Technology

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