Why HR Leaders Of Growing Companies Should Care About Data Management

Dr. Patti Fletcher

The impact of digital technology on human resources (HR) has been profound in many midsize companies. Very quickly, HR is positioning itself to be pulled out of the back office and designated as a strategic people operation that guides decision making, which can make or break business growth. And at the center of HR’s reformation are endless volumes of data.

Despite this ultimate vision, most HR organizations are acting more like data hoarders than data-driven curators of insight. From personnel profiles, benefits administration, payroll, time and attendance, performance management, organizational charting, and more, millions of transactional data points have been captured on a daily basis for years – only to remain dormant and underutilized.

Data management: It’s a more significant HR opportunity than you may think

Recent IDC research, detailed in the infographic “Data Management Is Increasingly Essential for Midsize Business Success,” reports that two-thirds of the midmarket currently do not use business intelligence or analytics. Furthermore, 83% of surveyed participants noted that they have not yet established a company-wide data management strategy.

Although the findings show that such lackluster data management practices are common, the resulting capability gap brings significant risks for HR as well as the rest of the business. Data inconsistencies can lead to conflicting views of workforce performance and talent needs, as well as operational efficiency and financial performance. Plus, an IT system with multiple potential entry points and inconsistent defenses can set the stage for security vulnerabilities and the potential for cybercriminals.

These risks only increase as businesses grow. “As the number of sources of data from internal applications and cloud-based services increases geometrically, the complexity of data management can grow exponentially – if not treated as a strategic priority,” IDC cites in its analyst connection “The Growing Value of Data Management for Midsize Businesses.”

Isn’t it time that HR leaders from midsize businesses take better care of the accuracy, privacy security, and intelligent value of their most valuable asset? IDC thinks so, stating, “This is the ideal time to address the issue since both culture and company agility are primed to take advantage of the benefits associated with digitalizing the data landscape.”

By maturing data management, HR leaders gain an opportunity to become the voice of the talent economy. Instead of using static data in a report that documents HR performance, they are now looking at information to steward employee policies, business strategies, and workplace culture. HR can better compose, orchestrate, and harmonize the entire workforce to scale staffing levels, acquire skills, and develop future talent in ways that address business requirements with real-time action as well as forward-looking omniscience. 

A compelling moment that sets the foundation for intelligent growth

It’s true that people cannot be managed with data-driven insights alone. However, intelligent, data-driven HR processes and decision-making can help ensure every individual contributes their best self to the business in the smartest, most meaningful way possible.

So when HR leaders ask me whether they should care about data management, I always answer with a resounding “Yes!” By taking better care of the accuracy, privacy security, and intelligent value of their employee data, HR can set the stage for business growth in ways that take advantage of people skills, bridge talent gaps, and innovate better ways to get work done.

Find out how HR data can become a strategic asset for your growing business. Read the IDC Analyst Connection “The Growing Value of Data Management for Midsize Businesses,” for expert insights and recommendations.


Dr. Patti Fletcher

About Dr. Patti Fletcher

Dr. Patti Fletcher (@pkfletcher) is a seasoned business executive, award-winning marketing influencer, board member, angel investor, author, and presenter. She writes for drpattifletcher.com, Inc., The Guardian, and has contributed to and been featured in Time Magazine, Al-Jazeera, Forbes, Newsweek, Xconomy, The Muse, and many more. Patti advises corporate executives and board members from lean start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, and from small community organizations to large global nonprofits. She is an advocate and a sought-after speaker on the topics of leading large-scale cultural change, transformational leadership, brand building, cultivating high performance teams, women on boards, women in the c-suite, and women in high growth entrepreneurship. As a futurist, Patti is currently working with SAP SuccessFactors to help change how the world thinks about diversity, inclusion, and the role of HR in business.