The Growing Importance Of Fast Data For HR
Fast Data – The importance of data in HR is at an all-time high. It drives an organization’s competitiveness and growth in an environment where data needs fluctuate at inconsistent tempos. There’s a lot of talk about data, but somehow, fast data doesn’t get much time in the spotlight. Some call it the next thing in data, right after its brother big data. The matter of fact is, fast data is becoming more and more present and, as such, increasingly important.
For the sake of this post, I’ll quickly define fast data (without being technical). It’s the application of smaller data sets to generate real-time or near-real-time metrics to help solve problems and make decisions quickly.
As a department critical to the success of a company, HR is where a lot of behind-the-scenes things happen, perhaps even more than many realize. Sitting atop a veritable gold mine of data, it has the best vantage point of both the company and the people in it.
Why HR Needs Fast Data
As one Forrester study suggests, a business is only as fast as its data. In fact, 87% of organizations require data to be ingested and analyzed within one day — or even faster as the volume and variety of data continues to grow.
In HR terms, it’s about quickly gathering and processing both structured and unstructured data so that HR managers can take quick action regarding their workforce. Fast data circumvents the complexity of data and analytics and extracts the ultimate form of data: deep, actionable insights that allow HR to be more proactive.
This is a stark contrast to past HR practices, where a significant amount of data went either unused or was presented in a way that provided little to no value in terms of true organizational health (staff appraisals, charts, graphs, etc.). One study showed only 11% of business leaders trust HR to use data to anticipate and help them fill their talent needs, while another showed HR seriously lagging in using data for decision making — from companies struggling to get the strategic insights to make better use of available data. Furthermore, research by HR.com found that in 2017, only 36% of HR professionals moderately agreed or strongly agreed that they were knowledgeable about artificial intelligence (AI). One year later, that number rose to 43%.
The various reasons why HR leaders lag so far behind other professionals are debatable. More than a third of HR managers who participated in the CareerBuilder survey responded that AI makes them nervous because it could threaten their jobs. The fact that promptly acting on data as it arrives has historically been costly and impractical, particularly on commodity hardware with limited processing capability, inadequate memory and insufficient storage shouldn’t be neglected.
One thing to note here is the sheer number of sources data now comes from. According to the Forrester study linked above, from 2016 to 2018, there was a considerable increase (86%) regarding the sources of data to work with, followed with almost identical increases in the volume and velocity of data.
What Fast Data Can Do For HR
That’s where fast data comes into play. Although it is largely about the technology that makes it happen, fast data also has another very important side to it: investing in new business practices focused on monitoring, analytics and subsequent significant events derived from it, with the goal to take swift, remedial steps.
Through AI and machine-learning tools, or as the Forrester study calls it, “a hybrid cloud deployment of a commercially-enhanced open source solution with support and full integration,” HR can mine data quickly across different HR data sources for concurrent analysis of real-time data, monitor worker’s activities in real time and continuously predict their behavior and development to a certain degree. After all, people are the pillar of success in any organization.
If things are set properly, an HR department gains a deep understanding of their employee pool, both in terms of talent and how they work, through insights that can back up further suggestions. With an effective insight-driven HR in place, businesses get the best out of their workforce. A business with such structure is in top position to base its decisions on HR’s insights and make them smarter than they initially would be.
Fast Data’s Stumbling Blocks
While almost everyone agrees that AI and the fast data it provides will change business operations, investing in a fast data solution for HR teams right away isn’t a straight shot.
Companies are realizing that the existing IT infrastructure and processes (the majority of which tend to be based around silos) make it difficult to implement this technology to derive insights from fast data. Aside from the lack of optimized systems and security threats that are a given, there’s the matter of necessary workforce skills. Organizations need to either train current employees to work with AI systems or recruit those who are already trained. With a noticeable talent gap, the inability to meet the demand for AI skills is a serious concern.
This article originally appeared on forbes.com To read the full article and see the images, click here.
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