HR Data is just the right size
Whatever data you have is the data you can work with. If you’re at the beginning or early arc of your Analytics Journey, you’ve enough data, enough for even some of the more advanced analytics. Getting your hands on it, cleaning it, and forming actionable insights from it may be a different story.
Big Data is the term that is used ubiquitously for any reference to analytics. HR data isn’t Big Data.
Big data is data sets that are so voluminous and complex that traditional data processing application software are inadequate to deal with them. Big data challenges include capturing data, data storage, data analysis, search, sharing, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy. There are five dimensions to big data known as Volume, Variety, Velocity and the recently added Veracity and Value. – wikipedia
This does not describe HR data. Most organizations considering applying analytics to their data have thousands, if not hundreds, of employees. Combining your historical HCM data with a few other sources, and you may climb above a million records. Excel alone can handle that.
Take advantage of the current state
So HR doesn’t have big data, that doesn’t mean analytics isn’t worth pursuing. On the contrary it makes it ripe for pursuing analytics using the available data sets of today. You can begin your analytics journey without the worry of capital projects and IT teams building out Hadoop clusters for big data processing, that also have to take into account the unique security required governing HR data. None of that is required, you can begin with simple queries of HCM data with tools you’re team already uses, and you’re on the path to insights.
To HR, analytics does seem like big data. HR is typically used to the individual-level transactions – career planning, performance assessments, candidate interviews, compensation reviews. Working with organization-wide data, even subsets of, can feel like big data to HR professionals. It’s certainly a step up from traditional HR practice, and it provides big return for the effort expended.
It won’t stay this way for long
HR data not being classified as Big Data is the state today. With the proliferation of personal activity trackers, organizational network analysis (ONA), and other emerging data collection, HR data will reach the classification of big data in the not too distant future. All the reason to begin your analytics journey now, so you’re ready for the shift as it comes.
HR Data isn’t Big Data. Yet.
I do agree. I think HR data has the potential to grow large, but the discipline is not skilled enough to take advantage of this and won’t be for some time.