According to a Big Data @ Work study of 1,144 organizations in over 90 countries, conducted by the University of Oxford School of business in conjunction with IBM, “The most effective big data solutions identify business requirements first, and then tailor the infrastructure, data sources and analytics to support the business.”
This has been our approach at Newmeasures for several years and our own research shows similar conclusions. Our best practice clients leveraging big data begin by identifying their business priorities and then utilize existing data to understand how the organization impacts key outcomes.
Another insight from the study was the predisposition of company executives to focus on “customer centric objectives”. This is obviously critical for long term success, yet the same level of importance is rarely given to employee data—the providers of the customer experience.
We believe a solution is to better enable our HR partners to understand how human capital metrics drive ROI. Human Resources programs at the college and university level need to include more advanced statistics, financial analysis and big data tools in their curricula to prepare leaders to bring a more strategic outlook to the executive suite.
Another way to improve the utilization of big data to drive business intelligence is to identify vendors of human capital services that can help your data talk. There is rich data that exists in performance management data, internal customer surveys, engagement surveys, leadership development surveys, financial/budget data, turnover, retention, compensation, staffing, and other human capital metrics. The key is aligning all of the business priorities, surveys, budgets, incentives, policies, and practices with business outcomes.
We see many organizations with very different priorities for finance, HR, IT, sales, customer support, operations, facilities, and leadership– this causes confusion and makes it quite difficult to focus on the variables that most impact customer objectives. It also creates roadblocks for getting things done, because competing priorities have different departments giving attention to different initiatives. An aligned leadership team that clearly articulates priorities for the business and then requires department leaders to align their goals and objectives with the business priorities realize the most success.