Stacey Harris, Sierra-Cedar vice president of research and analytics, contributed to this paper; further along you can read her insights into how HR will soon benefit more from embedded analytics, in-memory or constantly available data, and ever-more granular data.

The quantified organization is here, it’s definable, and the business benefits it offers are undeniable.

Sierra-Cedar reported in its “2014–2015 HR Systems Survey Results” that the number of organizations with an “environment of data-driven decisions” is growing, and they have 79 percent higher return on equity than non-quantified organizations.

R. “Ray” Wang and his colleagues at Constellation Research have reported on this new ground. Josh Bersin has also written in the last couple of years about the “datafication of HR.”

“Our research shows that after decades of work building HR data warehouses and trying to develop good reporting tools for HR, our industry is making a seismic shift toward data science… and in a positive way — positive for employees, managers, and the business.

“This is not traditional ‘HR analytics,’ this is bringing together people data into a new ‘people intelligence’ process to understand how our organizations really work. What drives high-performance sales teams? Who will be our best leaders? How can we change behavior to improve customer retention? What drives turnover?”

— Josh Bersin, “The Datafication of Human Resources,” LinkedIn post, Oct. 28, 2013

Everyone has their own perspective. LBi Software asked Stacey Harris and several other respected thinkers in HR and human capital management today to weigh in on what the quantified organization is, what it means to HR, and how HR technology is changing to keep pace — or influence the trend toward a more quantified organization.

We interviewed each of them, seeking their insight into three revealing questions:

  • What the does the “datafication of HR” mean to you? More important, what should it mean to HR leaders today?
  • How has the role of HR technology changed to meet the demands of the quantified organization?
  • What area of HR technology is most likely to have the most immediate and measurable impact on, or in, the quantified organization, and what are some examples?

What follows are their attitudes, opinions, and beliefs about those topics, drawn from those interviews.