We have all seen the headlines regarding the amount of new data we create every year – it’s in excess of Two Quadrillion Megabytes (that’s 2 with 21 trailing zero’s) – by any standards that is a huge number and it continues to grow, spurred on by growing continuous connectivity to the internet, mobile access and tonnes of free storage space . In this process of creating data, we are also breading a new culture of data ownership – one of personal empowerment, which is giving rise to the Personal Data Store (PDS).
When you think about it, organizations have gathered, stored and managed personal data to serve their own benefits, and allowed employees and managers to access the data on a “right-to-see” basis – they have had to carry the cost of creating and managing this data too, typically through ERP and cloud based HR/Talent systems. Much of the data organizations want from the workforce is now being created and managed by employees in cloud based tools and applications.
Over the next few years these Personal Data Stores will mature and help individuals to gather, store, access, update, use and share their data in a sophisticated and powerful way. In particular these tools will allow individuals to choose what information they wish to share, with who and for what purpose the data can be used, including the creation and sharing of new data based on the initially shared data. Personal Data Stores won’t just contain employee related data, but will help individuals manage vast amounts of data relevant to different business and personal relationships they create. These could include Health records, Scholastic and Education records, Business transactions, Employee transactions, Identity data, Life events, Government records to name a few.
While this may not initially trigger off too many alarm bells, the more you think about it, the more you’ll realize the implications on your relationships with employees created by the shift in power of data ownership from the organization to the employee. The Personal Data Store will become a new epi-center for business opportunity. Personal Data Stores are destined to become the “electricity supplier” of the 21st Century.
What will this mean for future HR systems as data ownership and management become person-centric ? Here are some of my thoughts:
- HR systems will need to cater for an individual type API – the ability to interface with multiple cloud based Personal Data Stores or to buy into a PDSaaS (Personal-Data-Store as-a-Service) platform;
- HR systems will need to export new and updated data back to the individual Personal Data Store;
- Organizations will need to accept an employees “Terms & Conditions” to use shared data;
- The ability to pay the employee for use of some data or pay for data used to generate business value or continued use of historic data after the employee has left the employ will become necessary;
- HR systems or other systems will need to accept disparate data elements that could assist the organization eg. a list of Face book contacts that have access to possible job candidates;
- Sophisticated OCR, facial,voice and other recognition tools to “read” non-text based shared material;
- The Personal Data Store will in effect become an ESS tool – updating the PDS will update the HR system; and
- HR systems will need to accept new types of verification that is attached to the shared data eg. a qualification may come with an integrated verification flag provided by the learning institution.
While I’m sure this is a but “far-out” for many readers, there are some obvious advantages that this new data ownership model could have:
- The quality and accuracy of HR data is improved;
- The richness and completeness of employee HR data can be improved;
- Reduced cost and effort for HR functions to maintain HR systems;
- Improved reporting and opportunity to leverage new information for the company benefit;
- Reduced duplication of data;
- Richer and easier on boarding for employees and contractors; and
- Lower data privacy risks
We have a way to go before this becomes main-stream, but it is already starting with some social tools such as LinkedIn. Personal Data Stores are more sophisticated than the current social tools, but if our history of the Internet and technology growth is anything to go by it won’t be too long before this becomes a reality. Lets hope the HR Vendors are leading the charge.