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“How to get the data from multiple platforms to talk to each other?”

There is lots of data collected by HR systems. This data if used correctly has the potential to help companies get the best out of their employees and the strategies they engaged on. There is just a small problem that most HR departments seem to struggle to overcome. How to get the data from multiple platforms to talk to each other?

Sadly, I have teased you so far as there is no simple answer. Whilst we continue to work in an environment where data is new and decision makers are bombarded by sales pitches from technology vendors we are not going to get to the single view of the workforce overnight.

From my experiences I see HR systems teams managing three to four different portals that are used for example by recruitment, learning and development and employees and managers independently. Everything from appraisal scores, development days, sickness days and payroll information is potentially housed in a different system and more importantly stored in different formats.

For the systems team this is OK in isolation but for the poor analyst who has to tell the story of an employee from recruitment through to leaving their job is near impossible. Yet it doesn’t need to be the case. My philosophy with no sign of one system is to encourage the use of a common unique field in each system to allow lookups in Excel to merge the data together. Not ideal I hear you cry. It isn’t as by doing this you are in the hands of the data inputters and their attention to detail and accuracy.

So what is the solution? We need technology suppliers to work together or individually come up with a very good all in one solution. We also need HR procurement to demands more from these companies to ensure the HR systems team and analysts are not lumbered with yet another individually stunning system that does not talk to any other.

Neil Parkinson, the author of this blog, will be speaking at the Mission Critical HR Analytics Conference in London this summer. Make sure to join him.


Neil received his degree from Leeds Metropolitan University in 1994. After gaining experience across a number of roles he embarked on a career in recruitment/HR analysis. After successfully implementing a culture of data led decision making across two recruitment advertising agencies he moved to BSkyB to set up a new reporting function.

Neil set up his own consultancy in 2012 to help clients bring their data to life. He has worked on developing strategic KPIs, designing dashboards and enhancing in-house analysis capability. At Diageo he facilitates organisation effectiveness through the interpretation and presentation of HR data.

He shares his analysis thoughts via his blog, attends the gym and travels regularly around the world.

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