DOD’s blog: What do we do with ‘big data’?

At last week’s Employee Benefits Live, a debate started among HR people frustrated by the volume of management information they were being swamped by.

As an aside, have you noticed how people seem to have stopped saying ‘management information’ and now call it ‘big data’? Oh, big deal.

Over the years I have sat in many interesting coffee and lunch meetings with a range of benefits suppliers from all sides of the benefits industry as they update me about their latest service.

No matter the product, at some point, the conversation turns to how their health / flex / pensions / motivation / company car / childcare / voluntary benefits (delete as appropriate) offering can spew out loads of data that HR can use to look at every aspect of their workforces behaviour by age, gender, salary, division, grade, inside leg measurement, hair colour … Okay, not the last two, but you get what I mean.

Of course data is important. But don’t you think so much is simply being pumped out with no thought as to whether it has any use?

I like my graphs as much as the next benefits geek, but unless it is going to make me change a business decision, what is the point?

Let’s stop ‘big data’ and start having ‘small data that really matters’.

Debi O’Donovan
Employee Benefits

Twitter: @DebiODonovan