The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

Yelp and the Future of BI Search

Yelp and the Future of BI Search

Aug 11, 2010

I’m sitting (almost) next to a guy who works for Yelp.  He just did a pretty interesting tutorial to the person in the middle seat1 about some interesting features in Yelp.  I at least didn’t know about some of these, but the most interesting of which is a little click box above the Google map that displays the location of the search results.  What it does is allow you to define your own search area.  You click on the box and you can then drag an area within the Google map.  Yelp then returns only results within that box.

I have no idea how they have constructed their search engine (or results engine) to be able to narrow down searches by just a drag box in the Google map, but it’s incredibly cool.  In contrast, we in HR think it’s the sexiest thing that we can click on a slice of the pie chart and drill down into more detail for that slice.  All I have to say is that our current BI tools are nowhere close to Yelp’s results capabilities.

Think about it this way, let’s say I had a competency map (or some form of a tag cloud, reinvented for HR purposes), and could do simple selections and queries off of that.  How could we engineer searches and results for managers and people trying to manage internal mobility.

Right now, if we want new data, we have to ask for it, and someone creates a query.  Even then, the data is static and while we can drill through, we only get to drill through on established parameters.  We don’t get to create, redefine and reconstruct on the fly.

How is it possible that I can define my search results with a simple drag box when I’m looking for a place to eat, but even after spending a few $MM to implement BI, I can’t?

Now go and check it out on Yelp…


  1. great seat buddies for once – how often does that happen? [back]

One comment

  1. David /

    I’m a big yelper. Love the service and information they provide. Not only is it a great intelligence tool, but its also operates as nice social networking tool on the side.

    What Yelp has, unlike a lot of HR, is a clear view of the questions and intelligence they want to gather. Because they know the questions they want to ask, their technical intelligence can be fit to purpose. Also, its information that can be easily gathered or integrated with other services.

    With HR, I think the questions and outcomes they seek are not as well defined. That or the questions become very convoluted with many other factors. I’ve seen great BI in HR but its usually very specific and fit to purpose. However, as the business environment changes so does the purpose.

    But with that said, I really wish HR BI could be easy and great as Yelp!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Get Adobe Flash player