For better or worse, data is becoming a big part of our personal and professional lives. So much so that the line delineating the two has begun to blur.
Take, for example, employee health and fitness programs. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day to combat the negative effects of heart disease, obesity, and other preventable conditions. This can be tough for employees stuck behind a desk for eight hours, stuck in traffic for two hours…you get the idea.
In response, many businesses are encouraging employees to get up and move. To track employee progress, in and out of the office, some companies are providing calorie counters, Fitbits or other wearables. The reasoning behind these programs is the belief that workers are more productive when they are happy and healthy.
When Data Met HR
HR departments are also using data management tools to predict when employees are at risk of leaving. Admittedly, this can be controversial. Should you terminate a worker just because an algorithm anticipates that his or her productivity will drop in the coming months?
Back in 2011, Google developed an analytics tool to determine the best and worst qualities of its managers. However, the tech giant didn’t fire its managers simply because of its findings but rather used the insights to correct certain behaviors and improve performance.
The takeaway here, according to Entrepreneur, is that “analytics can give HR the information needed to make better decisions but shouldn’t replace the decisions people make with algorithms.”
Big Bottom Lines Make the World Go ‘Round
Perhaps you’re wondering, “If data can improve the productivity and wellness of employees, perhaps data can solve issues facing the workplace itself?” And the answer is a resounding, yes!
Cloud ERP software, for instance, empowers companies to track internal operation, optimize procurement and eliminate waste wherever possible. To put things simply, businesses not employing enterprise resource planning technologies are likely squandering precious time, money and resources.
Here’s a real-world example. Let’s say your manufacturing department is paring down for the summer slump, but your customer service department is seeing an abnormally high number of orders. A nimble cloud ERP platform can mark these changes in real time and alert multiple departments of the news without the need for excessive communication; thereby cutting downtime and improving your bottom line. Now if that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
Of course, data is also being used to attract customers and assess purchasing trends. As a matter of fact, Amazon uses data insights to change its prices more than 2.5 million times per day! This is incredibly useful because it enables Amazon to monitor and undercut competitor pricing at the drop of a hat. Something that would be impossible without today’s data-centric technologies.
One of the truisms of life is that everything brakes at one time or another. But if there is a mechanical error in your manufacturing department, does everything come to a complete halt?
Data used by machine learning and AI platforms are helping to detect problems before they happen. In some cases, these platforms can detect common wear and tear, take the machine offline and order new parts, all without the need for human intervention. Not only is this good for business, it conceivably makes warehouses safer for employees.
From Data to Dollars
There is, understandably, a lot of confidence placed into data these days. And this faith is only going to grow as various people and platforms find ways to turn data into dollars. However, it is important not to lose sight of what really matters — the people you work for (your customers) and the people you work with.