As the big data juggernaut makes its inexorable way into the world of HR, debate continues on exactly what “big data” means. Glen Cathey’s piece, “Analytics, Big Data & Moneyball HR/Recruiting for Dummies,” does a great job of advancing the idea that “for something to be defined as ‘big data,’ it should adhere to the ‘3 Vs’: Volume, Velocity, and Variety.” HR possesses data that fits all three definitions, though perhaps not on the scale of petabytes. There is data from thousands of candidates and hundreds to tens of thousands of employees; data created in daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly cycles; and data from numerous internal systems and outside sources. The quantity, speed, and variety of the sources that comprise HR big data are relative to the business cycles, transactions, and the size of the business that HR is operating in. Simply stated, the Big in big data is scaled to whatever business function is generating the data.
Articles tagged 'analytics'
Editor’s Note: Anyone who reads blogs or newspapers is aware that big data is a hot topic for all industries. Unfortunately, the press (including well respected news organizations) seems to be confusing big data with analytics. As the editor of SourceCon I receive multiple articles each week that refer to big data. Like the press, these authors seem to all have a different idea of what big data is. In this post, Glen Cathey identifies the key distinctions between analytics and big data.
What do the Oakland A’s, New England Patriots and New Castle United share? They’ve each applied Moneyball techniques to their respective sports. In the book Moneyball, Michael Lewis describes how, over a five-year period, the Oakland A’s used analytics to win more regular-season games than all but one major league baseball team while spending fewer payroll dollars per win than other teams. Oakland’s data-driven approach has spread to other sports, helping teams identify predictive skills and hire talent to produce wins. In today’s labor market, many employers base their hiring decisions on characteristics that bring relatively little value to their organizations while ignoring more valid selection criteria. We’ll explore how to select employees based on more valuable and predictive characteristics to bring sustained Return on Talent Investment (RTI).
HR’s Use of the Moneyball Concept
In its simplest form, the Moneyball concept is this: quantitative statistical analysis can more precisely predict a player’s future performance than previous evaluation models. In the US, both baseball and football are using analytics to guide personnel recruitment and performance. With the lowest payroll in the American League and 94 wins, the A’s had the highest return on their talent investment for 2012. In the NFL, the New England Patriots paid the lowest cost per victory of all teams in the playoffs last season. Analytics continue to produce results in sports.
The Moneyball book and ensuing movie have spawned analytics that are now applied beyond sports and into the business world. A sport, by nature, is a zero sum arena with clear winners and losers. In business, there is not a zero sum arena. Winners and losers are measured by productivity, market share and ultimately by shareholder value.
I recently got one of those year-end surveys asking about the significant developments in recruitment in 2012 and trends and predictions for next year.
My inclination was to ignore it; I’ve got enough to do keeping track of today, let alone trying to figure out what next year will bring. As for 2012, without the perspective of time, it’s hard to tell tell what will turn out to be significant in the long run. A few developments, though, will undoubtedly make the survey.
Social media for recruitment will be there, as will the drive to mobile. My list includes growing buzz over “big data,” even though it’s nowhere near clear how it will eventually make a difference in hiring and workforce management.
Vendor consolidation also makes my list. So too does the changing composition of the traditional workforce composition. By that I mean specifically the use of temps and contractors as a strategic component of the workforce, coupled with the growing cadre of professionals who, having turned to contract work (consulting, to put it politely) out of necessity are finding it suits them and provides a work/life balance companies mostly just talk about.
However, after thinking about my list, I realized that it’s the mergers and acquisitions that will have the biggest impact and will come to be seen as one of the more significant industry developments since the recession forced all of us to completely rethink and restructure what we do.
Much of what went on in 2012 was evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. And this is certainly true of the consolidation of the talent acquisition and HR management system vendors. It has been going on for some time now, though the setting was on simmer. But then SAP’s acquisition of SuccessFactors, technically a late 2011 event, turned up the heat. In short order Kenexa and Taleo got bought up. And later, Bullhorn picked up Sendouts and MaxHire. There were also smaller deals that kept the pot boiling throughout the year.
The significance here isn’t the transactions themselves; it’s what’s behind them and, even more so, what it means for the future.