Where HR falls down on big data, the cloud and learning

It’s very important for HR to be able to explain and educate the top executives about the importance of cloud based learning and delivery

There is significant room for improvement when it comes to HR’s ability to leverage big data to improve efficiencies in business as well as the HR function, according to Skillsoft.

One of the areas in which big data and cloud solutions can have the most impact is in learning, through the provision of remote access as well as scalability, said Barry Murphy, Skillsoft’s APAC director of consulting & technical services.

However, a 2014 Skillsoft report found that 70 per cent of the 650 decision makers and learners surveyed didn’t know enough about big data to effectively put it into practice in their business.

“Remote access lowers costs. Decision makers saw increased business agility as one of the key benefits of cloud solutions,” said Murphy.

“Learners saw scalability as a key benefit. Both are very interesting from the point of view of learning, particularly scalability because we know that when organisations need to scale quickly, they need to be agile based on an organisational change [and] emergent acquisition.”

As technological solutions for HR become more accessible, Murphy said HR needs to provide opportunities for employees to learn how to best utilise technology for individual and organisational benefit.

“We’re starting to see certain positions [in HR] now that didn’t exist five years ago,” he said.

“We’re also seeing some roles that have been around a long time that did not have a digital carriage before.”

“How [is] that going to impend big data progress in terms of development, in terms of delivering big data based projects, if the skillset isn’t there?

“What we’re seeing is that organisations want to insert learning into specific technical processes [and] this will be around things like talent management, performance management, workplace planning, session planning and 360s.

“If you want to do [that on] a cloud level, that requires a level of integration that perhaps ensures integration knowledge that HR didn’t have before,” said Murphy.

“It’s very important for HR to be able to explain and educate the top executives about the importance of cloud based learning and delivery”

If these concepts are new to an organisation, he said getting the support of executives will be more challenging and potentially detrimental to the holistic integration of such projects.

“It’s very important for HR to be able to explain and educate the top executives about the importance of cloud based learning and delivery,” said Murphy.

“There can often be challenges with this, however.”

Common challenges cited in the Skillsoft report include privacy and security, which are not uncommon when it comes to any kind of cloud delivery.

“We all see intrusions of privacy, so it’s very important that when a HR executive is looking at developing a business cloud based learning that they understand who the players are out there – who’s secure, and who’s not,” he said.

Big data and the cloud has also seen change in and the rise of new positions more broadly across organisations, and particularly in the IT department, said Murphy.

“We’re seeing the rise of chief marketing officers that can often have current based applications,” he said.

“We’re seeing the need for development and operational expertise.

“CIOs are starting to yield to chief digital officers, but Australia seems to be a little bit slower in adopting the CDO (chief digital officer) role,” he said.

“As this convergence of cloud starts to change the skillset of IT, they almost become focuses of solutions, and not developers of solutions, so IT needs to become much more business savvy.”