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The Role of Big Data and Managing Labor

March 30, 2012

CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and CFOs across the globe have been the target audience for Big Data messages for the past twelve months – putting the latest IT-related fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds. “How will you survive the data tsunami that is looming unless you mine that data to find the actionable information to grow your business?” (Not bad huh?)

The truth is taking a closer look at the new data streams available to multiple roles in an organization is a natural evolution thanks to new data being collected and made accessible to a broader audience. Applying this to workforce management makes perfect sense, and is now much more of a reality.

Successful organizations make critical business decisions based on facts, not anecdotal information. Facts derived from sound empirical data. Whether it’s about generating revenue, building budgets or attacking costs, analytics drives business performance. So, why are most organizations still not leveraging analytics to control and improve upon their largest manageable expense – their workforce?

Imagine having the ability to prove that increasing labor dollars in a retail store can directly drive increased revenue?

Suppose a manufacturing plant could pinpoint the location, shift, line and staff that had the highest quality output in a given month, and correlate that to employee training and average hours worked at that time?

By analyzing today’s workforce data, hospital staffing levels can be linked to patient outcomes. Retailers can gain insight into the correlation between staffing for store promotions and sales. Manufacturers can understand the true margins for their product. And, government officials can apply to budgeting the Lean Principals that industry leaders have used for decades.

Now front-line managers have instant visibility to labor data that can help them proactively rein-in labor costs. At the same time, C-level business leaders can make fact-based decisions regarding the workforce to drive innovation and growth through continuous improvement and increased profitability.

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