Making Sense of Big Data and HR

August 20, 2013 by Wally Bock

“I avoided every science or tech course I could in college. I’m lucky that my daughter is tech savvy, so I don’t have to worry about computer stuff at home. And now they want me to make sense of Big Data!”

My friend is a senior HR executive at a big company. She knows that Google has done grand HR things with data analysis. But she has to strain out the hype from “Big Data,” a term the Global Language Monitor says tops the list of “Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand.”

If you’re in the same boat, here are a few articles to help. I’ve picked them from the tsunami of Big Data articles and put them in what I think is helpful order. Start with some basics.

From Jacque Vilet: “A Fool with a Tool is Still a Fool” – 5 Guidelines to Make Big Data Work

“There’s a lot of talk about Big Data these days and many HR people are either excited or intimidated by it. Maybe both. Regardless, there seems to be more talk about “it” than on how to use it in solving problems or how HR can benefit from it.”

Now read the following two pieces from people who know something about both HR and Big Data.

From Cathy Missildine: 12 Questions to Consider when Analyzing “Big Data” in HR

“I believe the following questions are good ones to start off with when trying to figure out which data matters in regards to our people”

From Josh Bersin: The Datafication of HR: What Does it Mean to You?

“Just as marketing became a data-centric function about 25 years ago (the beginnings of market segmentation, customer scoring, customer relationship management), so is HR beginning to go down the same path.”

In the end, it’s all about results, solving problems, and finding answers. Keep this quote from technology consultant Eric D. Brown where you can see it.

“Big Data isn’t the answer…it’s just a step in the process of finding answers.”

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

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