Who are you? Not philosophically but digitally. What is your identity within your organization? Not just for authentication purposes but for informing others what you have to offer and what you want. This is not a trivial question, at least from a software point of view. Each of us is likely to have many different digital footprints at work. Who you are on the enterprise social network, through email, or even on external services such as LinkedIn cannot be divorced from who you are in the company directory. Your transactional work product, usually recorded in a System of Record is also a part, but an incomplete part, of the total view of who you are within your organization. The sum of your activity in the company systems such as the CRM system along with your interactions in the social and collaboration systems of the company help to create a fuller picture of your capabilities and value to your organization. Unfortunately, these operate in separate realms making a complete picture difficult to impossible.
Master Data Management (MDM) tries to create a unified view of some type of data. Typically, MDM is used to create consolidated views of customers, products, and transactions for reporting, business intelligence, and increasingly advanced analytics. It’s time to do the same for employees. With the rise of enterprise social networks, enterprise chat, file sharing, and other collaborative systems, we create different personas of our work selves. Our titles, positions, job descriptions, and place in the organizational hierarchy tell a very shallow story of what we, as knowledge workers, can do to meet company goals. It’s our work and our interactions with our coworkers that tell the deeper narrative about our value to an organization. This value, however, is often spread around a bunch of different transactional and social systems that don’t paint the complete picture of what we do. This is why there needs to be a master employee record based on our interactions that informs the organization of our activity and accomplishments and what effects of those actions have on the goals of the business.
This discussion raises the question “Why is this important?” Why does it matter if I have a complete picture of what my employees can do and the value they bring to my organization? It’s not what you might think. It’s not about evaluating job performance. Job performance is a measure of attaining goals that have been assigned to a person and not a true picture of value. Instead, it’s about waste and risk.. It’s about wasting the most precious resource any company has – its people’s talents. By having a consolidated view of the interactions and effects of employees, you can understand where to best leverage their talents for the good of the organization. With a consolidated view of employees, organizations can reduce the risk of bad assignments that both doom projects and ruin employees. Along with this confidence in team choices will be more flexibility. By reducing the risk of a bad assignment, you also make it easier to make seemingly unusual ones that have payoffs. It can hedge against the natural conservative nature of employee assignments.
For this to work, you need analytics. Data is not enough. There needs to be a way to interpret what that data means. Without the underlying consolidated view, however, the analysis will be, at best, incomplete and probably wrong. MDM for employees, drawing on all the activity of individual employee interactions, both social and transactional, will surface those who can be used better, help build the most effective teams, and create confidence in your organization.