In this series, I’ve been exploring the technology capabilities that HR organizations at banks and insurers need to master to support their organizations in an era of digital transformation. In this post, I’ll take a closer look at why data and integration have emerged as vital competences for HR teams supporting the digital evolution of their businesses.

One of the key outcomes of the shift to digital technology is that HR has access to a trail of digital information employees leave behind them as they spend more of their work and personal time on technology platforms. HR organizations can track, integrate and analyze this data to better understand workplace performance.

This data isn’t sourced only from talent management applications—it can come from a Big Data sources that integrates business data and internal HR data. As analytics capabilities become embedded deeper into the software HR and line manages use to manage talent, the dream of a data-driven HR function may finally become a reality—with rich new sources of data helping to shape better decisions about talent.

Soon, HR organizations could routinely integrate traditional business and talent data with Big Data obtained from social and local data sources—tweets, blog posts, RSS feeds, customer service feedback, GPS coordinates and more—to get a complete picture of their workforce’s abilities, wants and needs.

For example, SuccessFactors, an SAP company, tracks employees’ searches of external blogs or podcasts to show executives how and what employees are learning. Or companies could deliver personalized workplace information to employees based on their physical location as determined from the GPS system embedded in their mobile device.

HR organizations at banks and insurers have traditionally generated report upon report for business stakeholders; now, they have the tools to deliver genuine insight that shapes better business outcomes and performance. They can now move up the ladder from labor-intensive analysis of historical data to data-driven and proactive workforce decision making.

As such, analytics could make HR into a strategic powerhouse for the business—enabling it to move from historical analysis (describing what happened) to predictive analysis (forecasting what’s going to happen and what talent levers HR must pull to improve business performance). In addition, HR focuses away from reporting on Headcount and Attrition, but more on insights on long term skill gaps, predictions on attrition and potential poor performing workforces. But to make this move, HR practitioners will need to develop robust analytics capability.

They will also have to learn the language of business so they can integrate HR data with other business data to produce actionable insights. For HR organizations that get it right, data and the insights it yields will emerge as key drivers for performance and productivity in the workplace. Data will also become important in shaping the employee experience.

I’ll examine how in my next post.

To learn more, read: Digital Radically Disrupts HR: Digital technology is transforming how people work—demanding a fundamentally different HR strategy

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