People analytics is hard & HR "data management" is your kryptonite


Recently, I had a conversation with someone who has been in the HR Tech game a long time and he was looking to learn more about people analytics. We’ll call him Charlie for purposes of this blog.

Charlie said to me “when I was with HR Tech Co "XYZ" we had all of these customers asking us for better data integration and APIs - which we built - but at the end of the day, there were few who actually made good use of them”.

Charlie then asked me what I made of that….to which I launched into something which was off-the-cuff and not very eloquent on the phone, but it involves what I see as 2 key dimensions of moving and integrating HR data - the uses, and the users.

Moving & Integrating HR Data - The Uses & Users 2by2 Matrix

Think about the 2 major USES for integrating HR data, and then think about the 2 major USERS involved with integrating HR data.

Consider the USES


The USES for moving and integrating HR Data are:

  1. Transactional Purposes - for example, it is powerful and efficient for candidate data to flow from your ATS to your HRIS when this person is hired. This helps you with your business process, transactional workflow and enables you to continue to run your best of breed ATS and HRIS.
  2. Management Information - for example, it is powerful and insightful to blend your recruitment source and candidate flow data with your core HR data and performance data - so you can unequivocally understand that Princeton is your best single source for hires given their consistent performance and placement in your annual Chairman’s Club.

Next, look at the USERS

The USERS (or stakeholders) involved with moving and integrating HR data are:

  1. Technical Resources - the HRIS analysts and IT folk who will get into the nuts and bolts of planning and implementing your integration and data flows from system to system.
  2. Management Resources - those who, frankly, don’t care about the technical complexity involved - it just makes sense to move the data from HR Tech 1 to HR Tech 2/3/4/x for both transactional and management information purposes.

With these two dimensions (USES and USERS), there are 4 scenarios and 4 likely outcomes represented by this 2 by 2 matrix.

Scenarios and Objectives

uses and users 2

Likely Outcomes

uses and users 1

The Bottom Line - Delivering Management Value with HR Data is Hard

So, while tech teams work hard and can frequently deliver on data integration for transactional efficiencies, the real value and real complexity comes from data integration and data management for decision-making purposes - and this is a major blindspot for most organizations - even those at the very top of their game!

Read my detailed Point of View on why HR data is so complex, and the unique challenges faced by organizations attempting to build do-it-yourself people analytics.


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