It seems like everywhere we look, the lofty promises of Big Data and its accompanying analytics are being hailed as a silver bullet, with the golden age right around the corner. And indeed, looking to huge successes like Amazon or Netflix, we can see the impact their Big Data analytics have had on the bottom line. Information on behavioural demographics, customer intent, and search engine keyword usage has all become accessible and actionable like never before. However, for every success, there are ten stories of mismanagement, misappropriation, misuse, or downright missed opportunity all in the name of Big Data. In particular, in the field of HR, it’s important we ask ourselves some real questions before falling for the snake oil that Big Data analytics can sometimes prove to be.

First, most HR teams don’t even have the volume of data to qualify as “Big Data” in the first place. Exact definitions for what qualifies can be murky, but in most cases, if all of your data fits on a local machine, odds are you do not require analysis beyond the standard data processing techniques. Why spend more money and time on analytics for a database size you are not even approaching? Even in cases where the volume of data is there, it can still be formatted or arranged in such a way that considerable funding or help from outside hires will be necessary to implement Big Data schemes. This holds particularly true for databases that have been around for a long time, that don’t adhere to international standards, or that are still being developed.

Another point which is too often overlooked is the question of whether the results offered by Big Data analysis are actually worthwhile; that is, do these new, fancy algorithms produce something that is even needed in the end? It’s easy to fall for a sales pitch when the promises are grandiose – Big Data will save the world! But will Big Data streamline your HR workflow? Will it improve results for you, or for your company? If not, or if you can’t think of a way that it might, you might be better off avoiding the complication altogether!

Rather than looking to Big Data as the sole solution to wrangling data in the modern age, there is worth to exploring efforts at diversifying these novel approaches to data analysis. At HKHR Tech, we’ve developed a system of “Smart Data” analytics instead. Our approach combines traditional data analysis techniques with customisation and input from our expert HR consultants. The result is a system specifically designed with HR in mind, streamlining the process of data collection, storage, analysis, and application to future and current employees and HR workflows. Improving our results efficiently and effectively without the need to implement complex, expensive Big Data analytics? Yeah, we’ll stick with Smart Data for now, thanks!