I’m pleased to see that Big Data is starting to become more and more like business as usual for many companies, including Hays. And, although the journey has undoubtedly been harder than any of us initially expected, it’s great to see how organizations are now taking the steps needed to develop and upgrade their staff, toolset and the amount or type of information they collect, to enable them to really take their data capabilities to the next level.
As a result, I believe that we’re on the threshold of moving from Big Data 1.0 to Big Data 2.0, and significant, real benefits will soon be commonplace across the business world. I see 2017 as a landmark year for data where those companies that take the right steps will be best placed to reap the rewards, both in the next twelve months and beyond.
Businesses that believe they can invest X amount in a data program and yield results within months must rein in their expectations and take a more realistic, measured and long-term approach
So what should your business do to ensure it’s ready to take full advantage?
Is Your Data Big Enough?
The most crucial issue to tackle will be to redefine our expectations – and understanding – of Big Data. Many companies that have experimented with data in the past have often been short-sighted, looking for an immediate return, or demanding an explicit business case for each data point being collected.
Data’s biggest opportunity, however, is to identify hidden patterns that allow a business to outperform in the future, and correctly highlighting these patterns requires comprehensive data that spans a long time. This cannot be built overnight.
For example, here at Hays, we first launched OneTouch, our single master database, back in 2008. OneTouch tracks and logs every aspect of our executive recruitment business, from our own day-to-day engagement with clients to candidate application history and interview success.
We initially intended it to serve as a global bank of candidates, but with seven years of data now available, we’re approaching the stage where we can begin using this information to identify patterns and answer complex questions about our business and market.
Based on years of previous behavior, we can get a deeper understanding of a likely outcome if we engage with a client in a certain way, or how candidates in different sectors are likely to react to job negotiation or perform in an interview, and ultimately enhance the service we provide to candidates and clients.
It has taken years to reach this point, and we’re still only scratching the surface of what we can do with this information. Businesses that believe they can invest X amount in a data program and yield results within months must rein in their expectations and take a more realistic, measured and long-term approach.
Big Data needs to be big, and many companies have simply been trying to change the world with a small pool.
Do You Have the Right People?
The extent to which businesses can take advantage of Big Data will depend on the people they recruit. This has sparked a war for talent. The value of data scientists is only set to increase in the jobs market.
But I believe that you can’t just drop these technically skilled employees into a silo department and expect them to revolutionize your business. The ability to analyze data and perform the hard, specialized role is obviously important, but these specialists also need to be able to communicate and translate what they have learned with the rest of the business.
Even more crucial, however, is that the wider company should be data literate and understand the potential and limits of the technology.
- Next page