Capturing and analyzing data about people is a hot topic. Articles about big data and the “Moneyball effect” appear in nearly every Sunday New York Times. We know that Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter monitor and store much of our daily web activity and have just found out that the National Security Agency and telecommunications companies monitor call details, including location and history. And data scientists are now learning how to perform sentiment analysis on our emails, deliver pinpointed advertisements to our mobile phones, and even assess and find job candidates through their social activities. It’s not a surprise that data science, a relatively new profession, is now considered “The sexiest job in the 21st century.”
HR departments capture enormous amounts of data, but these typically stagnate in various systems and are rarely used for strategic purposes. It’s not that companies haven’t tried, with HR data warehouses and “HR analytics” teams that run reports. But the returns have been frustrating—until recently.
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