Live from Workday Rising: The Emergence of Big Data in HR

Live from Workday Rising: The Emergence of Big Data in HR

Posted by Josh Bersin on September 10, 2013

This week at the Workday Rising conference, we are previewing our new research on Talent Analytics, which explains how companies are starting to build Big Data strategies around their people. Workday’s new product offering, Workday Big Data Analytics, brings together Big Data technology (Hadoop and other tools) with Workday’s object oriented database to make analytics easier and more approachable than ever before. But even with tools like Workday’s tool, the challenge is one of strategy, skills, process, and structure.

The research we are previewing at Workday Rising shows that among the 400+ companies we talked with, only 4% have even approached the readiness to build predictive analytics solutions. There is a huge chasm in the analytics market — more than 60% of all companies are still stuck trying to implement reactive reporting strategies. This problem is slowly being addressed, but our research shows that the evolution from tactical reporting to strategic analytics takes time, skills, investment, and IT support.

At Workday Rising, we are discussing the opportunity for Talent Analytics and highlighting several major breakthrough solutions we’ve seen among our clients and research participants. These include analysis of high-performing sales people, understanding the cause and impact of fraud, reducing payroll leakage (overtime and extra expense not previously understood), and exciting analysis of leadership and other key talent areas.

The opportunity to apply data science to talent is enormous. Today, after nearly 75 years of investment in I/O psychology, testing, and HR and talent systems, there is a tremendous amount of people-related data available to help us make better decisions. Only by bringing together all the people data we have (demographics, performance, compensation, skills, job history, and more) can we really start to understand how people perform and how we can better select, develop, align, and lead people for optimum performance. There isn’t a CEO or CHRO I’ve met who doesn’t talk about “people issues” as one of their biggest challenges to growth.

Our research shows that while many companies are still at the early stages, there is a steady and consistent focus on analytics within HR and CHROs and other leaders are starting to see the opportunity emerge. Our job is to help companies understand this space and build capabilities and models internally.

It’s important to understand that while tactical reporting is a challenge, it is still a very necessary step in building a strategic talent analytics and big data solution. Our research clearly shows that dealing with issues like data quality, reporting infrastructure, data governance, and building a data dictionary are critical pre-requisites to building a strategic Big Data HR solution.

We will be launching our new research, tools, and educational offerings in Talent Analytics in October. Stay tuned for much more as we continue to help our clients and HR leaders learn how to “datify” their HR and talent organizations.

Josh Bersin Josh Bersin is a principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, delivering analytics, research and tools that employers use as a foundation for day-to-day decision making. He has worked with hundreds of companies to help them deliver high impact employee learning, leadership development and talent management.

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