The data economy provides unprecedented levels of insight into the organisation, how it is performing, how customers or users engage with it, and how efficiently the extended enterprise is functioning around it.
Within that booming data economy, organisations are gathering more input than ever before from multiple channels and touch points - activities that can only grow in the years ahead as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands.
To succeed in a data economy characterised by fresh market entrants and technology disruption across every vertical - including transport, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, finance, legal services, and government - demands a data strategy driven from the top, with buy-in and support from line of business (LOB) departments. These issues have been explored in several recent Computing reports.
Empowering your human assets
As we have set out in those reports, that strategy can only succeed internally if the whole organisation engages with it and employees feel empowered by the systems that are designed to manage their workloads, tasks, and daily requirements - including their administrative needs. And that can only happen if the necessary data is visible across the organisation, rather than locked in departmental or application silos that are inaccessible to other systems or devices.
So, to what extent do employees really use and feel empowered by internal administrative systems, and how far do they go to help unlock employees' potential in the first place?
In an ideal world, a good human capital management (HCM) system should allow its users - the organisation's employees - to share feedback and engage with training and development opportunities, as well as connect them with mentors who can enhance their skills and help them reach personal goals.
A gold-standard, cloud-based HCM system should empower managers to see where skills gaps lie and then work with employees to draw up personal development plans. In this way, organisations can unlock deeper benefits from their investments in talented workers and build loyalty and trust within the enterprise - while hopefully raising morale and reducing employee churn.
These are all benefits that should arise naturally from being a genuinely data-focused and -powered enterprise - assuming the right technology tools are in place.
Numerous reports have shown that as the job market changes to support more data-analysis-focused business functions and cultures, the organisations that succeed will be the ones that not only invest in technology and pursue a strategy of unlocking data's business value, but also invest in training, re-skilling, and retaining their employees.
But do existing systems help them achieve those aims?
According to a Computing Research survey of over 150 IT leaders across a range of professional verticals, a sizeable minority of IT leaders (41 percent) say they have an HCM system that maximises employee engagement in this way.
However, just over one-third (34 percent) of respondents say they have an HCM system of sorts, but admit that it is basic and clunky so employees don't use it to its full potential. Those organisations are missing out on the benefits of a cloud-based HRM platform.
A further 22 percent retain an old-style system that is limited to carrying out basic functions, such as filling in holiday forms or expenses claims, while three percent have to carry out each HRM task individually on discrete systems - a waste of time and resources for every employee.
Unsurprisingly, engagement with such applications is limited. While 45 percent of respondents to the Computing survey have deployed an HCM system that is accessible by any employee on any device, in the majority of cases access is much more limited or even non-existent.
Within such systems, the absence of meaningful employee engagement may then be linked to wider issues to do with data visibility, culture, and skills that are apparent in many organisations from Computing's research (see our other reports on these issues).
Such organisations should investigate the potential of cloud-based HCM platforms, in order to engage better and deeper with their employees, while enhancing the leadership's data vision and strategy.
After all, the siloing of HCM and financial systems data, and the separation of that data from analytics (due to technical and staff bottlenecks and/or platforms that are not intuitive for non-experts to use) will conspire to limit insight. They also make the organisation's data strategy far less likely to succeed.
The first stage in overcoming these limitations is to unify HCM and financial functions. Integrating these via a cloud-based platform, accessible anywhere from any device, should provide the real insight into the organisation's data that decision-makers need - while unlocking the real potential of their critical human resources.