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Workday's acquisition of Platfora: the growing trend of data science in HR

Posted by Christina Perry on Jul 26, 2016 8:44:16 AM
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Workday’s acquisition of Platfora, announced this week, is just the latest validation of the critical role data science and big data plays in the future of HR.

In a blog post, Workday explained that Platfora's technology—which includes operational analytics and big data discovery tools— will bring their customers enhanced capability "to calculate profitability, ROI, and other operational metrics.”

As technology evolves, and our day-to-day personal and professional lives become more and more digital and trackable, there are massive amounts of data collected at every turn. We have far more information than ever before, and with it comes the ability to make better decisions and predictions about all aspects of HR... but only if we have tools powerful enough to handle its sheer volume and identify and draw insights from its patterns.

Data science and big data analytics are the keys to understanding and predicting everything from which candidates are most likely to have long-term success in a role—and the most effective sources and strategies for reaching them—to which benefits are most likely to retain employees in a given job, industry, or region.

It’s no surprise that these technologies have become an explosive trend in HR. In a recent article on the Platfora acquisition, Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte writes, “My research on People Analytics shows that this particular domain has doubled in maturity in the last 12 months (read more here) and has now become one of the fastest growing disciplines within HR.”

Other experts agree that recruiting and hiring in particular can benefit from predictive analytics:

The combination of predictive analytics and assessments provides the business with opportunities to match the right people to the right roles,” - Michael M. Moon, PhD, Human Capital Management and Analytics Researcher

“...considering the requirement of data availability, and maturity in research, the best bet would be recruitment. I say this because data available is massive, from social media, search engines, online forums—each of which can be used as predictors of job-fitment of employees.” - Pavan Swaminathan, HCM Consultant

Workday isn’t the first industry leader to make a strategic investment in big data. Ultimate Software (Vestrics), Cornerstone (Evolv), and LinkedIn ( have also acquired big data analytics companies to bolster their offerings, and to help their customers make better predictions and business decisions. Many startups are building ground-up solutions based on data science, like Restless Bandit's Talent Rediscovery.

It’s an exciting time in HR technology, and it will be interesting to see how talent acquisition benefits from ongoing big data innovation in HR.

Topics: talent acquisition, HR technology, analytics, linkedin, talent rediscovery, hiring, HRtech, HR software, algorithm, big data, HR, Platfora, recruiting, Workday

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