While countless reports put the bottom line benefits of embracing big data anywhere from 25% to 200%, fewer than a third of firms worldwide actually bother to harness this powerful and fast growing resource. This was one of many worrying findings of a new report conducted by the global talent acquisition and management company Alexander Mann Solutions in conjunction with the HRO Today Institute, a global community of HR operations executives.
According to the report, entitled “Counting Success: How Metrics & Measurement Correlate With Business Success,” the glacial pace of big data uptake is even slower in the Asia Pacific region.
"On the face of it, the slow pace of adoption doesn’t sound like good news for the global economy in 2014, which most economists expect to be driven by Asia," says Martin Cerullo, Managing Director – Development, APAC for Alexander Mann Solutions. "However, on the upside, it also means there is tremendous untapped potential for Asian businesses that do get to grips with big data to grow their businesses and outperform competitors."
Cerullo calls data the world’s first infinitely renewable resource, and it's not hard to see why. As much as 90 percent of all the data in the world today has been created in the last two years. Currently, it is being generated at the rate of a petabyte (1,000,000 Gb) every 11 seconds.
The new Counting Success survey focused on a sub-set of the big data iceberg – how much and what kind of information concerning recruitment and employee performance processes companies across the globe collect. More importantly, it set out to determine to what extent these firms assess the data to enhance their wider business objectives.
The survey’s results show that, while more than 90% of companies worldwide collect some kind of employee performance data, only 51% leverage one or more performance metrics to improve ongoing talent acquisition efforts. Almost one third (32%) do not examine their company’s employee data in any way.
"Our research demonstrates that even companies that may have a culture of disciplined data analysis do not necessarily have the Boardroom backing to integrate that practice into their talent acquisition and management processes. However, those that do are reaping the benefits and winning market share in their industry sectors," added Cerullo.
The most commonly collected data looks at employee performance appraisal ratings (73% of respondents), new hire retention (55%), and customer satisfaction (50%). Key data that companies least regularly collect includes speed at which new hires are promoted (13%), the time taken to bring a hire to full performance (12%) and profit generated per employee (24%).
"For one of our retail clients we saw an improvement in average spend per transaction using predictive analytics. With 40-50,000 transactions a month per store, the link to the bottom line can be significant," Cerullo said.
For companies that fail to measure their data effectively, there are several cited impediments. They include the lack of a technology system capable of collating, analysing and ensuring the consistency of data across geographies and business divisions; limited resources in the HR function; and a lack of accountability and discipline in the execution of the process.
"Just as major sports teams harness physiological data to optimize their athletes’ raining and performance on the field, businesses should analyse constructively, efficiently and meaningfully the masses of recruitment and employee data that they accumulate to drive real business value and outperform their peers," Cerullo concluded.