IBM Applies Big Data Services Built On Kenexa Buy to Workforce, HR

Given that IBM is currently devising a restructuring plan that will involve cutting thousands of jobs worldwide, the announcement that it is launching new big data and analytics services to help manage workforces is just a little bit ironic.

Workforce Analysis

But then the argument could be made that had it launched and used such services previously,  it might not be now considering the job cuts that appear to be on the way.

The new services, which are coming online this week, will provide enterprises with a way of identifying and analyzing crucial workplace information with a view to optimizing workforce talent and the way it is being used.

One of the key fundamentals in running any business is an awareness of the human talent available in the workforce with as many as 71% of CEOs identifying talent as their greatest source of sustained economic value, according to IBM’ s CEO survey.

The purpose of these new services is to analyze that workforces, find out how employees impact and influence each other, and find out what their views and responses are, or might be, to business-critical new and established processes.

In practical terms this means that the analytics services will be used to provide managers with insights into the thousands of data points shared by employees through annual corporate surveys, human resources, salary, years of service or job function, or other information that may impact on enterprise performance.

By applying analytics to these elements, IBM says it will be able to offer enterprises insights into both positive and negative sentiment in the enterprise, work patterns that are not effective, or patterns that are very effective and may be applied elsewhere across the enterprise.

Analytics, Big Data, Kenexa

The services that are being offered here are the first manifestation of Kenexa’s human resources products that IBM acquired recently for US$ 1.3 billion.

IBM, unlike many other large IT firms that spend vast sums of money on acquisitions, has a very quick turnaround in integrating or using the acquired technology.

In the case of Kenexa, which it bought last August, the turnaround time has been ultra-rapid, especially as at the time of the acquisition IBM didn’t appear to know how it would integrate the technologies. However, the two new services are a good start.

They include:

1. IBM Survey Analytics services

This enables enterprises to extract and display in both text and visuals,  information and insights garnered from more than 4.2 million employee comments collected annually through survey’s conducted by Kenexa. It then creates a dashboard that visualizes findings through a sentiment heat map.

2. IBM Retention Analytics services

These services provide data-driven analysis of attrition patterns in a business and applies predictive analytics to enterprise HR, CRM and social data, and then identifies high-attrition “hot spots” within the company. In doing so, it can identify key drivers and specific actions that can be taken to retain key talent.

These two new services and Kenexa, while inextricably linked with IBMs analytics and business intelligence strategy, are also another step in building its social business footprint.

In June 2012, IDC named IBM the worldwide market share leader in enterprise social software for the third year in a row, and has been building out its social business offerings on an ongoing basis.

While there are many competitors in the social business space, there are few that have the analytics and big data capabilities that IBM can bring to bear in the social business arena making its position in the space unassailable for the moment. Below, Rudy Karsan, CEO of Kenexo, outlines the concept of smarter workorces, or those that are being managed by smart technologies.