Big Brother and Big Data

When we talk about ‘big data’ we’re often referring to our business intelligence platform that allows companies to pull data from disparate systems and see their information and metrics more clearly. It now seems that what we’ve been excited about for a while, is just starting to catch on in the rest of the business world.

Rachel Silverman of the Wall Street Journal sheds light on an interesting experiment that some companies are adopting to track their employees movements, collect the data, and change policies and practices to improve productivity.

Initially, Silverman’s article, titled “Tracking Sensors Invade the Workplace” elicited my eye-rolling uh-oh response. How ridiculous and paranoid can companies get, I thought. First we have Marissa Meyers reversing Yahoo’s work-from-home policies and now employees are being tracked at the office?  Does anyone trust an employees good old-fashioned work ethic anymore?  But Silverman goes on to explain that the data gleaned from these employee tracking devices was used to help managers and team leaders better understand interactions between team members and improve the office working conditions.

One pharma company combines the tracking data with email-traffic data and self-reported weekly employee surveys to determine that higher face-to-face interactions among employees actually ment more productivity. This prompted them to make a couple of small environmental changes in the workplace to try and enhance productivity.  And it worked.

There are of course always the outliers. Every office has a slacker, a flirt, and someone who spends a little too much time stirring the sugar into their coffee. If you’re going to start analyze your data in a way you never have before, you have to be ready to see the good and the bad.

Once our clients have ultimate data visibility through our business intelligence platform, we craft a project plan based on proof from the data and are able to target improvements.  Seeing your data is only the first step towards improvement and change.