Text: Kristina Halovanic
In recent years, we have heard more and more about the phenomenon of “Big Data”. Ie access to – and handling – large amounts of raw data that can be processed into useful information for business such as increased knowledge about customers and target groups. This provides opportunities to improve the offering and drive more relevant and targeted sales and marketing.
Google is a good example of a company that leverages all the data we choose to enter when we will use their services. Big Data has also become an important tool for many HR departments and to understand it a little better, I asked a few questions to my former colleague Rickard Hellner, knowledgeable in the field.
What is Big Data?
-Big Data are data sets that are too large to process with traditional methods of analysis. What Big Data is, depends on the kind of industry. Big Data in meteorology (very large data amounts) is something completely different than Big Data in HR (not as large amounts of data) – at least for the time being.
The reason that we talk about Big Data in HR right now is that until very recently data to analyze barely existed – with the exception of payroll data, holiday / absence, turn-over and possibly some other variables. The rapid revolution within HR data, and then we talk about the last 4-5 years, has made it possible to get a completely different basis for analysis, in terms of performance and monitoring of qualitative targets. For a long time we have been able to follow up quantitative measures (read: sales performance) so that type of monitoring is not new.
How they use Big Data in the field of HR?
– Big Data is a result of the digitization of HR which has been ongoing for some time, taking off approximately 5 years ago. There are two main driving forces behind the digitization of HR. It is first is all about saving time and streamlining. A lot is gained for both employees, managers and HR if you succeed getting the main HR-processes in a web interface.
The other driving force exists first and foremost at a management level. Data that such systems can present enables management with some keystrokes get great overviews. Examples are the ability to create overviews where there is potential for development on one axis and the current performance of the other – or by simple means get the full overview of skills gaps that exist in the organization. I.e. comparing future competency requirements against existing competences.
Another trend is to integrate HR Master Data (all personal data about employees) with performance and development. This gives management new opportunities, to not only withdraw real time statistics, but even linking incentive and reward for achievement in a more comprehensive manner.
Should small or medium sized businesses care about Big Data in HR?
-Absolutely! The beauty of the recent developments is that this type of system has been available for businesses of all sizes. The major has long had personal modules through their ERP systems – which require large investments, not always readily usable and rarely particularly flexible. Moreover, they almost entirely had to be installed, integrated and updated on-site.
Today’s modern cloud-based solutions are scalable and fit for businesses from 20 employees upwards. Moreover, the pricing attractive customer pays per user and can scale up and down as needed.
Big Data is not as complicated as it sounds, at least not in HR, and with today’s systems, anyone with minimum computer skills can take advantage of these systems – and the data they generate.
Text: Kristina Halovanic
Translated: Berit Bjerknes