September 13, 2017

How Useful can a Business Intelligence App be in HR Management

Business intelligence apps are used by an increasing number of businesses to help in data based decision making. In fact, the global Business Intelligence (BI) market is estimated to grow from USD 17.09 Billion in 2016 to USD 26.88 Billion by 2021.

Despite its significant overall growth, BI is underutilized in HR Management. Human resource collects large amounts of data on its employees in the process of recruitment, payroll, training and development, leave approval process and appraisals. Many HR decisions are heavily influenced by intuition rather than data. Why not use all the data collected on the workforce to take decisions backed by numbers? BI platforms are a great tool to turn seemingly unrelated data into a visual story.

Here are few benefits of using Business Intelligence apps in HR management:

1. Increase Employee Engagement

Employee engagement can be challenging for bigger companies. Companies that have an engaged workforce outperform those with disengaged workforce by 202%.

Business intelligence can be used to track employee engagement through data on employee performance, absenteeism or voluntary involvement in projects. Employee engagement mobile apps can be used to take surveys and measure impact of engagement activities by HR.

Some BI engagement applications also provide social communication platforms. Activities on such platforms can provide insights on various aspects of employee engagement.
Employee engagement platforms help in communication, vision sharing and community building. This can lead to a stronger organizational culture.

2. Reduce Employee Turnover

This is closely related to employee engagement. With the cost of replacing an employee going up to 213% of his salary, employee turnover is one of the main concerns of HR departments. Business intelligence can help HR answer several questions like:

  • What are the top reasons employees leave company
  • Is attrition higher in particular age groups or functions
  • Are there any commonalities between people who are leaving? Is there an underlying pattern?
  • Where is the workforce joining? Is someone poaching our teams?

Data analysis can uncover hidden trends and patterns in your company. With technology like OLAP to structure and dissect your data, you can look at many co-relations. For e.g. you could draw up a report of relation between ‘distance from home’ and ‘attrition rate’ or ‘educational qualification’ and ‘attrition rate’. The possibilities are endless.

3. Employee Learning & Development

Google’s people analytics team launched project Oxygen in 2011. The company used employee survey data to determine the qualities of the best and the worst managers. The technology giant redesigned its manager training program to align with the findings and successfully improve skill set of struggling managers.

This is an example of what a business application app can do to assess training and development needs in a company. Performance data can be used to determine the training needs while BI platforms can be used to execute the training itself.

Predictive analytics can also be used to foresee the training needs that a company might face in future.

4. Smarter Recruitment

Inaccurate mapping of employee to a role is one of the main reasons of employee turnover. BI application can be used to better match candidate skill sets and interests to the position being filled.

A BI app can help even before the candidates are hired. Additional data on candidate work history, skills and behaviors can be of great help in making hiring decisions. These data points can be matched with the internal patterns of your company to hire the right ‘fit’ (eg: do hires from a particular university perform better in your company?)

5.Industry Benchmarking

BI apps allow you to plot your metrics against industry numbers. You can get visual reports comparing your attrition, performance, compensation and benefits within your industry. Knowing how you fare within your industry can help you

  • Attract and Retain Talent
  • Identify best practices within industry
  • Make changes in compensation & benefits

6. Predictive Performance Analysis

The predictive analysis uses various techniques like data mining, statistics, and artificial intelligence to predict future outcomes based on past data. This has application in leave absence projection, employee turnover and much more.

The most important application perhaps is in predicting performance based on data sets of the workforce. This can help the company to make informed choices in talent development and succession planning.

Predictive analysis must be handled with caution though. It is only a prediction of the future and not the concrete outcome. Data can only be used to supplement HR decision and should not replace them.

Future of HR Business Intelligence apps

The above are game changing applications for Business intelligence app in HR. Actionable insights depend on data collected and fed to business intelligence. Extremely huge data sets from various sources can be collated by BI apps to tell a comprehensive story. Such data sets are called big data and it is an emerging field in BI apps.

What this essentially means is that data collected is not limited to company’s internal platforms like mails and portals. Data will also follow the digital footprint of the employees from social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn), job portals, Google applications, financial transactions etc. This gives a much more holistic picture.

Another key influencer in the emergence of BI platforms will be data privacy of employees. Companies like Wal-Mart, Boeing and GE have faced public heat for buying health data from healthcare companies and using it for workforce related decisions. Companies will have to be ethical while handling such sensitive data. Employee consent is a must and making data anonymous could help.


BI’s possibility is not just limited to its technical innovation and integration. Even though both of them are integral, BI has got vast possibilities. It is believed that BI will soon be fully fledged to carry out most of the business as well as HR related problems of a company. Above all, Wide spread usage of BI by giant corporations itself is a proclamation that BI is the future of any business.

“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore