HR professionals are swimming in data. This data has always existed, and runs the gamut from personally identifiable information (PII) to employee performance metrics and historical data surrounding their employment and advancement within the organization.

Until recently, capturing and using this data was beyond the reach of most organizations — the rise of big data capture and Data Platform as a Service (dPaaS) tools, however, has now made it possible to mine this critical information for actionable insights.

Here's a look at how your organization can leverage dPaaS for employee performance improvements.

The New Resource

As noted by HR Dive, data is the "real value" for HR departments, with businesses now using big data to move beyond simple measurements such as cost-per-hire or source-of-hire and go digging for more in-depth talent metrics. But according to insideBIGDATA, many businesses struggle to make their data work for them. "Surprisingly, many modern businesses are still operating with a fragmented approach to their data akin to stashing it away in small amounts all over the backyard and around the house," reports insideBIGDATA. What's more, data applications within the organization are busy collecting critical information — but this valuable resource is often locked away behind departmental barriers.

This is especially problematic for HR, since there's virtually no data that doesn't fall under the HR purview.

Tapping The Flow

Of course, it's one thing to talk about leveraging big data to improve employee performance, but what does this look like in practice? PC World points to workforce planning a prime example — the right dPaaS tool combined with a powerful executive dashboard can help track current staffing trends and predict future talent shortfalls. Integrate market analysis and you've got the foundation for solid hiring practices and strategic decision-making. As noted by Human Resources Online, meanwhile, the next step for HR may include "live" performance management platforms that track target achievement and employee completion rates in real time, allowing HR staff to make decisions based on the most accurate data available.

The dPaaS Revolution

Big data now offers solid HR insights, while niche solutions are emerging to help departments bridge the data gap — but this is just the beginning. DPaaS for employee performance has real potential. First, this platform-based cloud service gives businesses the kind of granular control over their data they need to be comfortable deploying the tool on their network and meet compliance standards in case of an audit. By integrating dPaaS across corporate networks, it's possible for HR departments to collect a wealth of data, such as how employees interact with technology, each other and executive staff members, even if they work remotely or are out of the office.

DPaaS tools also give HR leadership the ability to pick and choose which data may offer the biggest benefits to their bottom line — attempting to collect and curate all available data inevitably creates a larger problem than it solves. Of course, knowing which information to choose is also problematic. But dPaaS solutions can give organizations the edge they need by tracking critical corporate trends and providing key indicators that help direct data collection best practices.

The ability to benchmark your "inside looking out" data (proprietary data) to "outside looking in" data (third party data) should allow your firm to understand where they rank in the curve. At the end of the day, you cannot improve what you cannot quantify. Benchmarking yourself against the best of firms should allow you to improve even further.

What does all this mean for HR day-to-day? It means that with the right cloud backbone and agile dPaaS tools, it's possible to dig deep and discover exactly where employees are enjoying success, where they may be struggling and where new investment is needed to both attract and retain talent.

Tags: big data Performance Management Benchmarking