Big Data & HRM: What to know #HR2020

Big Data & HRM: Know-How, Term Check & Go

Business Intelligence, HR Analytics and Big Data are between the most common buzzwords that are frequently talked about in forums, conferences and all over the growing business ecosystem. Do you really know what they mean? And what added value does big data and B.I bring in HR?

We will go through this article and explain everything you need to know answering your questions through various examples.

#1. Why should the HR Professional of today pay attention for?

First of all, what is Big Data? In it’s purest form, Big Data is used to describe the massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large it is difficult to process using traditional techniques. So Big Data is just what it sounds like – a whole lot of data.

The Four V’s, these are the pillars that charachterize big data.

The Volume

Big Data needs to be big. And we mean really big. We’re not talking about gigabytes, we are talking about terabytes and petabytes. The ‘big’ in big data represents millions and millions of cells in your Excel sheet. In fact, it’s often so large that it wouldn’t even fit in Excel in the first place.

In other words, this means that the data sets in Big Data are too large to process with a regular laptop or desktop processor. An example of a high-volume data set would be all credit card transactions on a day within Europe.

The Velocity

According to Kaggle (2020) Big data has a certain variety. We are not only talking about nicely structured data (data that’s ordered in neat columns and rows). We are also talking about unstructured data (like the data in your average email).

An example of a data that is generated with high velocity would be Twitter messages or Facebook posts. There is a mind-boggling amount of data floating around our society, Tim Smith plots CERN's involvement with big data from fifty years ago to today.

The Variety

Big data has a certain variety. We are not only talking about nicely structured data (data that’s ordered in neat columns and rows). We are also talking about unstructured data (like the data in your average email).

The variety in data types frequently requires distinct processing capabilities and specialist algorithms. An example of high variety data sets would be the CCTV audio and video files that are generated at various locations in a city.

The Veracity

Google Cloud (2020), Big data is messy and can’t always be trusted. Quality and accuracy are not always present in a large data. Data cleaning is part of the process of analyzing big data. However, because of the large quantity of data some of these little errors can be nullified. The large quantity of data thus makes up for the decrease in reliability of individual data points.

Data that is high volume, high velocity and high variety must be processed with advanced tools (analytics and algorithms) to reveal meaningful information. Because of these characteristics of the data, the knowledge domain that deals with the storage, processing, and analysis of these data sets has been labeled Big Data.

#2. Why the big data popularity?

Big Data’s recent popularity has been due in large part to new advances in technology and infrastructure that allow for the processing, storing and analysis of so much data. Computing power has increased considerably in the past five years while at the same time dropping in price – making it more accessible to small and midsize companies. In the same vein, the infrastructure and tools for large-scale data analysis has gotten more powerful, less expensive and easier to use.

According to Inc, in 2012 the Big Data industry was worth $3.2 billion and growing quickly. They went on to say that “Total [Big Data] industry revenue is expected to reach nearly $17 billion by 2015, growing about seven times faster than the overall IT market”. For more on the size and projected growth of the Big Data industry, check out this Forbes article.

#3. Best Big Data Tools

Forbes, As brands work to answer this question, they become more creative as a result. In fact, many are diving into the benefits of big data analytics. For instance, in 2016 Starbucks started using AI to send personalized offerings to its customers via email. Beyond customizing drinks to match personal tastes, the company uses its loyalty card and app to collect and analyze customer data, including where and when purchases are made.

Data is meaningless until it turns into useful information and knowledge which can aid the management in decision making. For this purpose, we have several top big data software available in the market. This software help in storing, analyzing, reporting and doing a lot more with data. Enlisted below are some of the top open-source tools and few paid commercial tools that have a free trial available.

Software Capterra Review Goal
Open Refine 4.5/5 Data Cleaning,Unstructured Data, Combine multiple data-sets
Worlfram Alpha 4.2/5 Complext Calcs,Business Intelligence,visualization
Import.io 4.5/5 Data Cleaning,Unstructured Data, Web-page data
Big Query Google 4.5/5 Data Cleaning,Mapping,Analytics

#4. Big Data Benefits to your HR Department

Forbes, Nine contributors to Forbes Human Resources Council offer their honest opinions on the benefits that big data can provide to human resource management departments.

The 2018 report from IBM (2018) on talent analytics found that the use of predictive analytics had increased by 40% over the previous two years.

1. Predicting Hiring Needs

By mining employee data and identifying patterns related to skills, performance ratings, tenure, education, past roles, etc., companies can reduce their time-to-fill, improve employee engagement and productivity and minimize turnover.

2. Providing Hidden Talent Insight

Analyze the feedback, project reviews and overall talent profile data to build skill profiles of employees within the organization in near-real time, a great workforce planning tool

3. Unlocking Powerful Insights

By mining employee data and identifying patterns related to skills, performance ratings, tenure, education, past roles, etc., companies can reduce their time-to-fill, improve employee engagement and productivity and minimize turnover.

4. Improving Retention

The one benefit of embracing the big data trend in HR is to focus on the health of the organization. Company culture influences an organization's longer-term survival with today's talent shortage and employee expectations from employers.

Big data impacts so much of company operations and can offer such deep insight into previously dark areas that it has become a necessary light. Human resources is no different. With an efficient implementation of big data, HR departments can better manage the talent under their purview.