I’m always on the lookout for articles and information relating to Big Data and the social enterprise, so when I saw an article on SocialEnterpriseToday.com, titled “Do You Speak Data?”- well naturally I knew it had been written for me.
The author, Paul Simbeck-Hampson, makes that case that today’s businesses need to make smarter decision more quickly and thus need to consider a mix of demographics, psychographics, web analytics, social analytics and business intelligence to construct scenarios that can offer real-time predictions. This will enable decision makers to make more accurate strategy evaluations, which will naturally impact the performance of the business in a positive way, as well as create essential brand differentiation to sustain a competitive advantage. I’m in.
Tell me more…
The article goes on to explain that in the years to come there will be less need for people to manage businesses. The reason is that today’s businesses are too expensive, too slow, and too inefficient. In the work we do at Knowledge Infusion daily tying HR to business goals and objectives, the speed at which business can adjust continues to be one of the biggest things that hinder organizations from achieving success. The math goes something like this; less people equals less training equals less costs equals more fluidity – as the author calls it, “a byproduct of working smarter.” Admittedly, he says, there will be some bumps along the way – as with all innovative disruption – but this is where we are heading.
OK, I’ve lived through a few “disruptive” periods, I can get behind the idea of improved efficiency, and sure fewer people – I think that’s always been the case with innovation.
However, Simbeck-Hampson suggests the disruption of the enterprise via social/big data transformation will not just eliminate the buggy whips, but more importantly, the buggy whippers.
“The image of a ‘social command centre’ is visual evidence of this progression and it’s only the beginning of how ‘big data’ is changing the business landscape. The bottom line is, people are too expensive; technology is comparatively cheap, scalable and doesn’t require insurance or holiday pay! Less people will be required and those who remain will take on an analyst role to ensure predictions match human instinct. Enterprise jobs of the future begin with the question, ‘Do you speak data?’”
The implication here is that most company departments and business units in the (near) future will be pared back to a bare-bones crew of humans, who are employed to ensure the predictive analytics make sense.
This is starting to take on a very “Matrix” feel, where I’m afraid Facebook will soon become ‘self aware’ and begin harvesting my bioelectrical energy to power Farmville. Nah… to farfetched. No way could a social media platform ever entice humans to expend huge amounts of brain energy on trivial matters like what your friends had for lunch, or mindlessly gazing at an endlessly connected string of videos, mostly featuring cats, or “real ghosts caught on tape,” all while the machines take over our lives. I mean can you imagine having a conversation with a friend or co-worker who is so enslaved by these machines that the mere sound of a tiny beep, or the feel of a subtle vibration, sends them scrambling, running, diving into their pocket, purse or clutching hand so as not to delay – for even an instant – their attention to what must be a critcal communiqué from HQ?
In the workplace, “speaking data” doesn’t have anything to do with the ability to communicate in 140 characters or less (text speak). If it did, everyone under 25 would be guaranteed on of these future “jobs.” On the other hand, I also don’t think it means a handful of MIT grads with oversized brains will ultimately be the only ones staffing corporate offices across the land. In every disruptive cycle, there have been predictions of mass unemployment – but we’ve always found something new to keep us employed – and the “Big Data” revolution is no different.
However, there is no question that building your organization’s skill set and understanding of how Big Data can be used to power your business is essential for survival. In the evolution of business, the ability to take in, analyze, and utilize information to make (better/faster/more accurate) business decisions has always been the Darwinian gene that has endured the survival of the fittest.
I think all jobs continue to be at risk of being eliminated if those who hold the jobs don’t quickly learn how to ‘speak data’. Organizations will be at a major disadvantage if they don’t begin to attract and develop the skills and talent necessary to leverage Big Data… Oh, I guess that does put all of our jobs in jeopardy.
Your HR/Workforce Technology Strategy must include an initiative around Big Data. Your Talent Management Strategy must include an initiative around Big Data. Your Portal/Collaboration Strategy must include an initiative around Big Data. I would recommend all get their Big Data hats out and realize that we are entering a new era where data is not optional, it is required.
Another infusion of knowledge…