Big Data shows potential for human resources: IBM

Can analytics be applied to human resources? According to IBM A/NZ human resources director, Robert Orth, the technology giant is already experimenting with the possibilities.

Orth spoke of ways IBM has been using Big Data to predict patterns in its workforce during the “A Smarter Workforce is a Social Workforce” event in Sydney

One experiment IBM did with analytics was looking at attrition and why people leave.

“You start off by gathering a massive amount of data, a ‘longtitudal study’ as they call it, to glean information and factors about people, such as pay level,” Orth said.

After gathering all of this information, Orth said the next step is to ask where the attrition risk can be identified and whether increasing the employee’s salary will make a difference.

“The natural answer may be yes, but you’re just testing something you believe to be the case,” he said.

After carrying out such an experiment with analytics, Orth said IBM learned several useful lessons, such as thinking about things in a different way.

“You also learn that you can experiment,” he said.

Promotion tool

Another experiment IBM did using big data analytics was to put together a complete study of its technical talent.

In this case, Orth said all types of information were gathered from company systems, such as resume information, certification, skill level, and more.

“We studied all of this and compiled into a list of our accelerated technical talent,” he said.

“This list also helped to identify who we think are now due for a promotion.”

Orth said that discoveries such as these lead to questions of whether “types of analytics be used to tell the secret to a successful career.”

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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Big Data shows potential for human resources: IBM
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