Jason Averbook on “Big Data: HR’s Chance to Matter”

Big Data:HRHere is an excerpt from an article written by Jason Averbook for Talent Management magazine. I share his concern that, more often than not, the data HR brings to the table is in the language of HR, not business. To read the complete article, check out all the resources, and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.

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Over the past five technology generations — from mainframe systems to disk operating systems, (DOS), then a prettier DOS called Windows, to a distributed Windows called client/server, to the first generation of Internet applications — HR has done the same old thing with each new generation of technology: transactions.

As these technologies continued to touch more and more people, volumes of data piled up. This, combined with a new era of data created from talent management systems, wearable devices like Nike FuelBand and Jawbone UP, social collaboration tools like Chatter and Yammer, means the volume, variety and velocity of data available to HR professionals has exploded in the past three years.

One of the most overused clichés in the HR profession is HR’s desire to “get a seat at the table.” What this initially meant was HR was not invited to strategic initiative discussions and likely was not included in the executive leadership team.

For the most part those days are gone, but today, even as HR has gained a seat at the table, a bigger and broader question should be: “What is it bringing to the table?”

HR organizations have focused tremendous effort in the past decade building HR scorecards and dashboards. Some are there and others are still struggling, but what most senior executives will tell you is that the data, scorecards and metrics that HR brings to the table are in a different language — the language of HR, not the language of the business.

This continued disconnect between the HR function — the function that leads the most important asset in an enterprise — and the business is why HR is often seen as a nice to have at the table but not a true value-adding business partner.

Big data and the money, marketing and momentum behind it should be HR’s call to change this past behavior once and for all.

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To read the complete article, please click here.


Jason Averbook is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Appirio’s Knowledge Infusion. As CEO, Jason is responsible for the groundbreaking vision and strategy that has propelled the organization to the recognized leader in HR consulting. Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the HR and technology industry, Jason works closely with clients as the executive lead on strategic consulting engagements.


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