HR Indaba hears how to use augmented analytics for key insights


Workday's Janka Petrovicova says augmented analytics eliminates noise to let you see the data that really matters.

It’s said that data is the new oil. But what if your business is built on top of a gushing geyser? “One challenge we face today is exponentially growing data volumes,” said Janka Petrovicova, Workday business analyst, speaking at HR Indaba in Sandton. 

“Most companies generate more data than they can analyse. Furthermore, many businesses are using tools that are conceptually 10 years old to deal with large volumes of data that they weren’t designed for.” 

No matter how companies upskill their staff, there are simply too many data points. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented analytics can be leveraged to deal with this vast amount of data, and generate useful insights. 

Augmented analytics was recognised by Gartner as the number 1 trend for 2019. In this era of business intelligence, machine learning augments human intelligence. Janka likened the system to a sandwich, with alternating layers of human and machine input. Certain tasks, like asking the right question, or adding external context, are best done by humans. Others, like analysing data, or evaluating results, might be best done by machine. 

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Workday People Analytics uses augmented analytics to give executives and HR business partners insights they can use in important areas such as organisation composition, diversity, hiring, retention and attrition, and talent and performance. Janka explained: “Augmented analytics eliminates unnecessary noise to let you see the data that really matters. It is possible to scan through underlying data, and surface the top personalised insights.”

The system brings together a number of capabilities: 

?    Looking for patterns, anomalies, trends and outliers
?    Applying graph analytics to find connections 
?    Using machine learning to predict the most important issue for you to see
?    Natural language generation explains the result in a simple, digestible story that people can easily understand.

This last point is key. From the perspective of HR executives and business partners, the important revelation is in the stories in that your HR data tells. 

In terms of the Workday People Analytics, you will see what matters most to you, presented in a visual and accessible way. Everyone logging onto application will see personalised insights, based on the level of security. Each story has additional information behind it, so that the user can drill down into the detailed data on which the story was based. Different filters can be applied, so that relevant stories can be surfaced, perhaps about a specific location, or cost centre, or level of employees.

The era of augmented analytics is just beginning, says Janka. 

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