The Two Types of HR Business Intelligence - The Blytheco Blog
The Two Types of HR Business Intelligence

The Two Types of HR Business Intelligence


What kind of information does an HR organization need in order to perform their jobs to the best of their ability?

Business Intelligence for HR

Generally speaking, HR managers are looking to gather strategic information, analyze it, temper it with their own knowledge, and then make what are often wide-reaching decisions.

Non-managerial HR staff, on the other hand, most benefit from task-specific information, details that will help them perform individual business operations in the most efficient manner possible.

Two different groups; two different types of information.

Both groups in need of business intelligence.

So why is it that over 65% of all HR organizations have implemented business intelligence solutions that help only their managers, leaving everyone else out in the cold?

The answer?

“. . . because BI solutions are designed for managers . . . and not for staff.”

There’s some truth to that statement.

Different members of your HR organization use information in different ways.  Managers, tasked with analyzing big-picture HR activities, need to be presented with information in an interactive manner that allows them to drill-down into the underlying HR data and perform sophisticated analysis.

Non-managerial HR staff, however – folks whose days are fully occupied with detail-oriented tasks – need to be presented with information that relates directly to their job at hand; and that information needs to be presented in a quick and simple manner.

Strategic and Operational Business Intelligence

And so around 2008, BI solutions were divided into two groups.  The first group is the traditional “strategic” BI Business Intelligence for HRsolutions that have long been used by managers. The second group is a new category of “operational” BI solutions that are designed to help non-managerial staff perform their duties more efficiently, knowledgeably, and cost-effectively.

Strategic and operational BI solutions differ in a number of ways.

When managers use strategic BI, they typically know what they wish to analyze but typically don’t know what the results of their analysis will be. This is referred to as unanticipated intelligence. Non-managers who use operational BI not only know what they wish to analyze but also often know what results to expect. They just need those results to be auto-delivered to them at the precise time they are needed. This is referred to as anticipated intelligence.

The final differentiator in strategic and operational BI solutions is the methods by which the business intelligence is delivered.

Strategic BI is delivered in an interactive manner, enabling a manager to slice and dice their views of data in a number of different ways. Additionally, strategic BI solutions usually focus their output on graphical displays, as charts and graphs typically better represent trends, opportunities, and problem areas.

Operational BI needs to make as small a demand on a staffer’s time as possible. That generally rules out an interactive solution and greatly reduces the need for charts or graphs.

Thus when it comes to operational BI, no single communications medium will do.  An operational BI solution typically auto-delivers the needed information via a choice of multiple information delivery methods, including email, mobile device, instant message, and web dashboard.

The undeniable conclusion is that all parts of an HR organization can benefit from business intelligence. The type of information required by various staff members will differ. So too will the manner in which the information is conveyed. But if one of the keys to remaining successful in today’s challenging economy is to enable an HR organization to operate as efficiently as possible, everyone within that HR organization must have access to business intelligence.

Business intelligence for everyone.


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