Diving Deep Into … HR Big Data.

Author’s note: This blog post is the start of an occasional series called “Diving Deep Into …” In each post in the series, we will explore a topic beyond just the surface, looking at the trending articles, the people engaged with it and the media outlets covering it. Today, we begin with big data.

I don’t know much about big data, even though it’s bandied about as the new big thing in HR and many other industries.

As a result of its popularity, big data is being written about a great deal, but I haven’t been reading content about it, even though I’m curious about it.

To learn about it, I suppose a good place to start is with a definition. Wikipedia defines big data as “a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools.”

But a definition doesn’t tell you about the conversation and debate about a topic. For that, it’s a good idea to use conversation analysis software. I searched for big data using a three-month time frame in SocialEars HR, conversation analysis software that tracks the content shared by human resource influencers.

The Content

Below are some of the articles I found, and the primary argument in each.

1. Big Data Hype (and Reality), Harvard Business Review, by Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro

Argument: Big data should have many transformative applications, but don’t expect major breakthroughs in predicting human behavior “as long as human behavior remains inconsistent, impulsive, dynamic, and subtle.”

2. Recruiting 5.0: The Future of Recruiting — the Final Chapter, ERE.net, by Matthew Jeffery

Argument: Analyzing big data will be a central point of competition in the future of recruiting, especially considering that the ability to gain value from data increases as the amount of data captured rises.

3. Big Data: How the Revolution May Play Out, ZDNet, by Larry Dignan

Argument: 2012 is the year of big data hype and pilot projects, 2013 will bring production deployments and some disruption, by 2014, big data projects and systems probably will be commonplace, and around 2017, big data as a service efforts will be common to the masses.

4. Big Data Doesn’t Work if You Ignore the Small Things That Matter, Harvard Business Review, by Robert Plant

Argument: Before companies rush into investing in big data, they should spend more time using “small data” — already-available information from simple technology solutions — to become more flexible, informative and helpful to their customers.

5. Your C-Suite Needs a Chief Data Officer, Harvard Business Review, by Anthony Goldbloom and Merav Bloch

Argument: Making the most of a company’s data requires someone at the highest levels of management to provide oversight and evangelism, making sure the company is collecting the right data and that the company has the technology to make data-driven decisions.

6. 5 Ways ‘Big Data’ is Changing the World, Entrepreneur, by Taylor Hatmaker  

Argument: Big data is changing: 1. Military technology 2. The study of the environment. 3. The shopping experience. 4. Scientific research. 5. Privacy as we know it.

7. 5 Trends That are Changing How We Do Big Data, GigaOM, by Derrick Harris  

Argument: Big data has evolved greatly in the last year, and the following trends are among those taking place: great effort is taking place to broaden the talent pool of data scientists, applications are being developed to take advantage of big data, and using machine learning models to make products and services (examples include Google, Twitter and Facebook) more intelligent.

8. Big Data is Useless Unless It’s Also Fast, Diverse, GigaOM, by Ravi Mhatre 

Argument: To take advantage of big data, companies need to make it fast, intuitive and easy to manipulate, as currently it can take minutes or hours to get an insight buried in a typical company’s mountain of data.

9. Big, Bigger & Biggest Data: How HR Management Could Benefit, Talent Management Tech, by Robert Mattson

Argument: HR isn’t left out of the big data party, and unlocking the mystery in data from employee information on recruiting, performance, compensation, succession and learning can bring big rewards.

What you can do with this information:

The PeopleWho are the social influencers who are engaged with big data (in this case, within the HR influencer space)? Searching for big data for the three-month time frame within SocialEars HR’s “Discover Influencers” tool, I found the following people:

- Yves Mulkers: A Belgium-based business intelligence professional whose specialties include people management as well as data quality, modeling and integration. Engagement on big data: Yves frequently tweets and retweets articles and blogs about big data.

- Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro: The president of a company that provides analytics and data mining consulting. Engagement on big data: Gregory tweets and blogs about big data. He wrote the blog in the Harvard Business Review that was the top result in our content search, “Big Data Hype (and Reality).”

- Bernard Marr: A global authority and best-selling UK-based author on organizational performance and business success. Engagement on big data: Bernard regularly tweets articles about big data.

- Larry Dignan: The editor-in-chief of ZDNet and editorial director of CNET’s TechRepublic. Engagement on big data: Larry guides the editorial content of sites that frequently write about big data, and wrote “Big Data: How the Revolution May Play Out,” which was on our list of top content.

- Delaney Turner: A communications professional who writes about IBM software. Engagement on big data: Delaney tweets about big data, especially as it relates to IBM.

- Derrick Harris: An editor and writer for GigaOM. Engagement on big data: Derrick blogs frequently about big data, and also tweets about it.

- Evangelos Simoudis: Senior managing director at Trident Capital focused on investments in SaaS, Internet and data. Engagement on big data: Evangelos frequently shares articles on big data on Twitter.

- David Linthicum: An internationally recognized expert and though leader in the world of cloud computing. Engagement on big data: David shares articles on big data on Twitter.


What you can do with this information:

The Media Outlets

What are the media outlets that provide significant coverage to big data? We got some hints from the content and people lists, but doing a search for big data using SocialEars HR for just media outlets generates a more complete list, including the following:

- Cloud Computing Journal
- ZDNet
- InformationWeek
- GigaOM
- Silicon Angle
- CRN/Computer Reseller News
- Harvard Business Review
- MarketWatch
- InfoWorld
- American Journal of Health Promotion
- Information Management
- Insurance Networking News
- Fast Company
- CIO Magazine

What you can do with this information:
- Traditional PR and media relations activities


I did all of this in about 20 minutes (using SocialEars HR).  It was easy to learn quite a bit about big data, including the conversations and debates taking place, as well as to discover the people and media outlets engaged with it.

Through the same process, it’s easy to learn quickly about any HR-related topic that B2B marketers and PR professional might need to know about for PR and marketing campaigns. Remember, influence is topic specific and goes hand-in-hand with content.

It’s also important to note, however, that the trending content related to a topic and the people and media outlets engaged with the topic can change over the course of even short time periods. As a result, if you want to stay up-to-date with any topic, you need to repeat the process at least on an occasional basis.

Post written by HRmarketer / SocialEars HR team member Eric Anderson.


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