2020-12-04 HR Examiner data governance stock photo img cc0 by AdobeStock 98580161 544x350px.jpg

Do You Have A Data Governance Process?


Survey Background: We surveyed 542 HR executives and subject matter experts about new and existing projects involving intelligent tools and AI. We covered 26 different technologies using a 28-question instrument that spanned a wide range of topics. Today we’ll look at a favorite recurring question (will machines replace people) along with the broader subject of how HR teams are evaluating new technologies in their stack.


2020-12-04 HR Examiner data governance chart sq 544px.jpg

Chart: Do you have a data governance process?


Over the next two to five years HR’s most important asset will be its data. AI and intelligent software tools are swarming the HR Technology stack. Because these tools are being introduced without much in the way of customer acceptance testing, they’re likely to spawn a new era in HR management.


What we’re talking about here is the emergence of a new set of analytics-driven data-based elements of the HR department. Not only will intelligent tools change the scope and focus of the work of HR (as it will for the rest of the organization) ever-increasing volumes of data will push some parts of HR into roles that look very much like operations. HR will accomplish things that will improve workforce agility and productivity and move beyond a cost center. As both the keepers of the data and an integral part of the functions that data depends on, HR has an opportunity to move into a more strategic role.

Data governance is the first real step into the world of the data-driven HR department.


As I mentioned earlier, the most important asset in the emerging HR Department is its data. This data can be used to make an important difference to the organization, including better automation, insight, productivity, and organizational safety while monitoring and intervening in a variety of settings.


Data Governance encompasses the practices and processes that help ensure formal management of data assets. Data Governance often includes Data Stewardship, Data Quality, and other ideas that help an enterprise gain better control over its data. It also deals with security and privacy, integrity, usability, integration, compliance, availability, roles and responsibilities, and overall management of the internal and external data flows within an organization.


Great data governance processes know where everything is and what it’s called. The move from having no data governance to having data governance is a very political transformation that includes having a relatively central authority that decides what to name varies data elements.


Data governance is the first real step into the world of the data-driven HR department. Discipline in the naming, collection, acquisition, storage and management of data enables organizations to better harvest their data and make productive use of it.



The Survey


The survey was designed to investigate three primary areas:

  • Which intelligent tools and technologies are actually being used and evaluated
  • How new technology is acquired and evaluated in HR Departments
  • The degree to which survey participants see new technology replacing existing workers


Over the course of a 90-day period, we collected survey responses from 542 individuals using a 28-question instrument. We used email lists to target HR executives. We did not purchase any responses. The breakdown of participants was as follows:


  • CHRO and Vice President of HR: 30%
  • Director Talent Acquisition: 12%
  • Recruiting: 17%
  • L&D: 9%
  • People Analytics 4%
  • Other 28%


Broad Survey Findings


  • It’s very early in the adoption cycle. Almost all current customers qualify as early adopters.
  • Depending on the technology, between 30% and 70% of the potential market either doesn’t see the value in the tool or don’t even know what it is.
  • High failure rates in some areas suggest that its prudent to move slowly and ask a lot of questions.
  • There is growth already programmed into the market. That growth is dwarfed by the part of the market that doesn’t understand or can’t see the value. Massive education is required.
  • Intelligent tools require new and different kinds of management including data governance. Most HR Departments are unprepared.
  • The speed of market adoption and product refinement is astonishing. Most HR Tech markets grew at single digit rates in their first several years. It looks like intelligent tools are accelerating.

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