Perhaps I’m just a nerd, but I’ve been following the developments of the Hadron Collider for a while now. In terms of physics, there have been many theories abounding, but with the lack of ability to look into the tiniest known particles within an atom and see how they re/act, it’s quite impossible to find insights that either reinforce those theories or otherwise. The Hadron Collider being built allows scientists to see something like 10-19 of actual size (if memory serves me right). Perhaps “seeing” is not quite the right term, but alt least it can record evidence occurring at that tiniest of special levels.
For now, the collider is reported to be $8 billion in cost and took 14 years to build. Physicists around the world await the next couple of years to see what new insights it brings. The first measurements will be simply to obtain the accuracy of the collider by remeasuring already known observed events in nature. Then they move onto more interesting and new things.
Perhaps more on the collider and string theory next time. I’m continuously annoyed by business executives who want data from HR in the form of real time dashboards and analytics, but are not willing to spend the cash or time that is necessary to build them. Lets face it, tying together a HRMS solution, bringing in multiple countries on disparate HRMS data sources, then getting all of your talent applications and even financial metrics pumped into a single data warehouse is very difficult. You have all sorts of timing issues, data scrub issues, and that’s before you even get to standardizing data definitions and creating facts and dimensions.
So HR sits around with nice little observable facts like turnover reports. Ohh… Ahh… Don’t I really want to know about turnover in my populations that contribute most to the business’s overall growth or profitability? And even within that employee segment, how about the highest performers? And within that, how about breaking it down by competencies? And the other 100 ways to slice the data that you just can’t see on an Excel spreadsheet. But you need a OLAP tool to slice and dice to your heart’s content.
Data Warehouse and analytics technologies can be expensive. Sure, every software vendor says they deliver a reporting and analytics tool, but if it’s not sitting outside the software and allowing the convergence of multiple data sources within a standardized set of definitional parameters, it’s not doing what you or your business leaders need it to do.
Perhaps this post is mis-timed. HR budgets might be feeling the pinch, but as our talent fortunes rise, we simply can’t move to the next level of insights without these analytics. At some point, we’re going to have to spend the money and time to develop the warehouse. I’ve seen thing happen in a year within a couple $M or over 3-4 years and $10M depending on the scale and complexity of the organization. But the reality of the situation is that we’re putting in great automation technologies tile talent and self service, but still not delivering on the insights. Don’t be afraid to ask for money – we’ll have to at some point.