This article was updated on July 12, 2018.
Is it time to start considering what comes after big data? Research indicates that HR analytics adoption has soared at organizations of all sizes. But according to global software advocate, BSA, 87 percent of executives at mid-sized businesses, surveyed in 2014, said analytics was important. So while the need for smart data for recruitment, retention, compensation and other key HR functions isn't diminishing, big data technology is simply no longer novel. It's now a necessity to compete.
With that in mind, the progressive HR leader should already be looking to identify the next technological advancement that could help them optimize and enhance their organization's HCM functions. According to Gartner, who measures emergent technology trends, machine learning, the internet of things (IoT), digital security and various biometric technologies are four trends primed for a big data-like surge in prominence.
Here is a look at some technologies that will come after big data, and what they could mean for your HR organization.
Machine learning is far from a new term, but it's gained buzz again recently as a potential heir to big data. Workforce defines HR machine learning simply as "an intelligent machine" that can make "recommendations for you, such as which people should be on which shifts, or who's at risk of leaving the company." In other words, tools and algorithms that are primed to help ease leadership decision-making.
TechCrunch notes that "the next wave" of HR machine learning includes tools to identify talent for recruitment and increase internal productivity. HR leaders can look forward to a future where HCM tools will have the built-in ability to make smart recommendations on talent issues, total compensation and compliance, among many others.
The Internet of Things
IoT technologies encompass every kind of internet-enabled device, from the fitness monitor on your wrist to facilities' new sensor-driven conference room lighting. Smart Business writes that the potential for HR to adopt internet-connected technologies is incredible. From dynamic staffing to productivity trackers, HR could gain the ability to understand and manage their workforce more efficiently than ever before. While there are certainly privacy concerns to take into account, it's tantalizing to consider a future where HCM decisions are driven by real-time, streaming insights from every corner of your business.
Digital Security and Biometrics
In many ways, HR leaders should consider digital security and biometrics as adjacent technologies. Organizations are already implementing biometric technologies for time and attendance, and physical security topics, such as access restriction. However, as HRE Online highlights, there are risks associated with using biometrics to its full potential. There are a number of ongoing lawsuits in which employees have resisted their employer's attempts to collect biometric data on their health because of religious or ADA-compliance reasons.
The potential for biometrics as a source of HR data is still certainly exciting. But it will be crucial that employers implement those technologies carefully and with the guidance and help of internal legal counsel. While the field of biometrics and HR technology is still unfolding, it's certainly reasonable to begin to plan for a near-future in which biometric data offers richer HCM strategic insights.
Big data technology had a drastic impact on HCM as we know it. Smart insights have changed the way organizations approach compliance, compensation and talent acquisition. But this is no time to rest on your laurels. In fact, it is the perfect time to look forward to additional emerging technologies and consider how they could be a boon to your organization in the same way that big data analytics has been.