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Channels Are For Televisions, Not For Customer Experiences


The title of this post is a direct reference to a few reports from Forrester on the Omnichannel Playbook for 2018 written by Brendan Witcher. Since when I read this the first time, I thought that this provocative sentence really summarises in the best possible way one of the biggest organisational mistakes many companies are still doing: organise themselves by channels. Reality is that this truly “inside-out” perspective misses the real value driver in the new experience economy: customers.

While prior economic offerings—commodities, goods, and services—are external to the buyer, experiences are inherently personal, existing only in the mind of an individual who has been engaged on an emotional, physical, intellectual, or even spiritual level.

They don’t understand the different business models that companies put together. As a customer, I want to be able to buy a product in one point of sale and return it online. I want to be able to have assistance wherever there is a signage of that brand. I want to be able to exchange and be reimbursed if there is a fault at any touch point with the brand. I want to be able to buy through from Instagram but also from the store nearby with the same level of experience.

customer-journey-map

Fig. 1: Customer Journey are more and more intricate, and less linear than ever.

The above is not just a weird dream that some people have. It is what will “make or break” the destiny of many retailers and brands in the near future, if they’re not able to cope with what is needed.

Channel Obsession

The problem is that this “channel obsession” is not just an organisational issue. It is deeply routed into a lot of processes, procedures, mechanisms, that create rigidity within organisations. Starting from corporate structures, which often make it difficult to cross-charge returns because physical and digital simply because these belong to different legal entities. Or legal tools, because contracts with franchisees and partners don’t allow to do some processes. Or financial processes, as P&Ls consistently focus on channels, and thus underestimate the impact of the value of true omnichannel experiences. This is particularly true for companies that still have a solid Wholesale / B2B footprint. Because in this case you also have to add the different time horizons in which the “channels” act, which creates additional complexities.

There’s not an easy fix, if not challenging this status quo consistency and continuously, working to overcome this artificial separation for the benefit of the customer. Several tools exist to achieve this, and are all around the redesign of processes and organisations around the Customer.

Bridging the Gap

These tools are clearly linked to Design Thinking to ensure not just the products, but the entire “Experience” is designed around the customer. Agile is the way forward to implement, creating  true “test & learn culture”. And Lean becomes the path to avoid staggering too many layers of organization.

01-three-mindsets

Fig.2: The three mindsets of development

The above image captures this concept very well, and the article that Jonny Schneider wrote on the topic is really eye-opening.

Design Thinking is how we explore and solve problems; Lean is our framework for testing our beliefs and learning our way to the right outcomes; and Agile is how we adapt to changing conditions with software.

The principles however can go a lot beyond pure software design, because building the right thing can definitely be expanded to building the right experience for the customer. Which means linking multiple elements together, from strategy to organisation, from internal processes to external branding. All of it around one single purpose.

three mindset overlap

Fig.3: How the three mindsets overlap.

The author goes further into analysing how the three mindset overlap. Just by looking at the various elements, it’s really easy to notice how they all easily relate to the one goal of building experiences, cross-linking the organisational vision, to the organisational solution, to the service delivery.

Measure what Matters

All mindsets have consolidated tools and methodologies behind, that can help organisation accelerate their transformation. Wether you call it Digital Transformation or Customer Centric or Retailisation it doesn’t matter: all will have success only if they put the customer at the core of the decision making process.

The biggest obstacle to this, however, is linked to how we measure success. I mentioned it earlier, if our P&Ls are still limited to the 4 walls of a brick and mortar store, failing to capture the added value of a digital sale done in store for example, we will navigate against negative headwinds.

A transformation of the business control mechanisms and of the communication to shareholders and the markets is needed.

Focusing on customer value generation more than on pure revenues if what has made Amazon have tremendous results, despite its ability to deliver profits for many years. The challenge is how we can set us ourselves on a course where we can measure the value of the experience we deliver across all channels. Because this will ultimately shape the only path to survive the risk of being another victim of the retail apocalypse.

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Read in Bio


In an excellent article by Alessandro D’Avenia published yesterday on the Corriere della Sera website, the author analyses the tendency, imposed by social media, to socialise our own “biography” into a couple of words, often using emoji or abbreviation that are understandable by few.

There are many guidelines on how to write bios online, and often they suggest a segmentation of ways of writing.

Best Practices for Social Channel Profile Making

Some best practices about writing bios.

However, this synthesis very rarely capture what we really are. The limitations (in characters, words or “length” of the text box we have, only delivers a portion of our own “self”.

We want to be “cool”, not necessarily real. And in doing so we are alienating the best part of being authentic.

This has led me to think that the reality of today’s life, immersed in Social Media, is not necessarily about building memories that can contribute to define ourselves. With our online presence, our selfies, our pictures on instagram, our appetite for “Likes”, we are following more and more a “promotional self”, rather than our true one.

What about Performance and Feedback?

Why is this relevant? Because also in a company environment, we start having issues in “defining” ourselves with truth and realism. Which is one of the big issues of processes such as Performance Management where self-reflection is a requirement for a positive result of the process itself. Many have concentrated their focus on the fact that recent technologies have got us used to the “instant feedback”; and have tried to implement this into tools and processes that are substituting the yearly cycles with quicker feedbacks.

Likes

It’s all about Likes

Let’s be clear: continuous feedback is a must in a healthy and performing culture. Issue arise if all what we want to get are “likes” for what we do and our time horizon becomes the 24 hours span of an Instagram story.

Results can be worrying: we start preferring short term exposure to longer effort in achieving results. We might hide concerns, issues, concerns to our peers and managers, until these explode, maybe into a much broader problems (read burnout for example). Performance as a whole is at risk.

The risk with Authentic Leadership

All of the above leads us to another big concern: if one of the key attributes of Leadership is authenticity, how exactly can we build the next generation of leaders without this key attribute? Which is one that is developed through introspection, exploration of one’s life, active listening and continuous internalisation of feedback.

The process of learning, growing, and developing an integrated self is a process of construction and meaning–making.

Probably a short bio on Instagram with a couple of emojis will not tell the full truth of a person. And it is not required to do so. But as leaders of our organisations we need to make sure that all of our team-mates are able to reflect on their self a lot more than what we normally allow them to do. We need to ask people to be more authentic, giving them the tools to do so.

Because after all, we will never be able to accept a “read in bio” answer from our next leader.

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The Future of Working in Retail


With news titles of “Retail Apocalypse” lingering around in masses, a drop of traffic in many area of retail, that is driving a constant pressure on productivity in store, one of the key question for the professionals working in HR Retail is how can we make Retail attractive for today’s talents?
The issue is even more complicated. Many agree now that the future of retail is in delivering experiences. But these don’t come easy, in an industry that for a lot of time has been used to often hire low skilled labor, focusing on basic customer service and “hoping for the best“. In a not so distant past, it was sufficient to have a decent product, and then a script for smile, greet, check the size and process the customer at the till. Sales would come.
omnichannel_experience

Omnichannel trends are putting more pressure on staff in stores.

In the omnichannel reality we live today, things have changed. A sales associate in store is asked to compete with customers that normally have already done all the product comparison at home before coming to store. She’s asked to do her best to deliver an experience, even while the customer is already browsing if there’s a better price online . And all this on minimum wage and reduced hour contract.

We see also other roles of Retail changing. All the management chain is asked to evolve in understanding customer journey beyond the physical boundaries of stores. Pick-up in store, order online, returns handling, often all these add a burden to the store operations itself, without necessarily being captured by the store P&Ls, way to often limited to what happens only within the bricks of the four walls.
if I were a young student today, looking to get my first job, why would I choose retail?
There’s definitely not one and only answer for this that is absolutely valid. Also because we need to skim through all those people for which retail is the only available option (still a reality in many large and small cities).
Asking people that are today starting their journey in this industry, with a motivation that is not just linked to the need for a basic income (a motivation we shall still respect and that will still drive a consistent part of the workforce for the year’s to come), there are some key discerning elements that people feel are relevant.

Have a Purpose

The ideal sales person capable to deliver an extraordinary experience is one that identifies with the sense of purpose of the brand she represents. Multiple facts enter into play around this, and whoever has read Sinek’s last book “Start with Why”, can immediately acknowledge the need for a company to have a strong sense of purpose, not just for their customers, but also to attract and retain key talents.
Also because, in an age of social media and communication, your Internal Culture is Your Brand.

Deliver Experiences

There’s an old saying that your level of customer service cannot exceed your level of internal service to your employees. I always think that luckily this sentence is purely aspirational. Because let’s face, the level of Employee Experience delivered in retail is normally pretty basic, if not poor at most. Dashed with cost concerns along the entire line, retailers have resorted into shrinking their staff to the minimum levels in a century.
In an age of rising and ubiquitous retail automation, one way to stand out? Go the other way and cultivate a high-touch, experiential offering that’s all about human contact, creativity and expertize.
(The Future of Retail: by TrendWatching)
This also means getting your teams to think in terms of Customer Experience around all possible touchpoints, not just what is happening at arm’s length. Digital, Physical, Social, all need to be understood as the web of MOT with your brands will increase.

Get the right Pay

Historically Retail is about underpaid, overworked and high turnover employement. Difficult to manage the delivery of a great experience under these conditions.

Retail Jobs Lag

Retail Jobs Lag (source: Bloomberg)

Retail talents need to be compensated for what it delivers. Minimum pay is rarely enough to guarantee a living, and more than often current incentive schemes in retail are more prone to cause behaviours not in line with the customer experience you want. What is needed is a Total Reward Strategy for retail that includes fair and transparent pay conditions, relevant benefits and incentives linked to real productivity.

Measure what matters

All of the above will not make much sense if we don’t adapt the was we measure success. Too often metrics are still held to the time where everything happened within the 4 walls of a store. We need new KPIs and metrics, and we need to ensure that people understand analytics and new ways of measurement that are relevant for their job.

Don’t think Millennial.

Last but not least, avoid falling into generation generalisations. Let’s face it: most of the traits of what has been defined “millennials” have failed to impress when these people entered the workforce. Moreover, more generations are appearing, and one of the element that people have in common today is their willingness to develop their own identities. A one size fits all approach is a guarantee for failure.

And above all, put this item on top of your list of topics for the years to com. No solution will be forever.

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Disrupting HR: start thinking of HR Customer Service


After many years of discussion and implementation of the HR Transformation framework developed by Dave Ulrich, very few organizations have been really “able” to undertake one of the key challenges posed by that concept: evolving into a true service organization.

Many organizations declare to have successfully implemented the model. The key is of course how is success measured. Very often the issue is that HR transformation has been solely pursued with a cost-saving goal, and thus success has been eventually measured by the dollars the HR organization has saved. But at what cost? Way too often the result is a service organization that is distant (not only physically) from the needs of the employees. Managers have effectively to undertake too many HR tasks designed by HR for HR, not really having in mind the different approach a line manager would have. HR Business Partners that maintain the HR generalist mindset, not having evolved in terms of competencies through the transformation, and that continue to pursue HR tasks instead of being actor of the business support.

Failing to recognize customer needs

customer_service_joke

But why does this happen? I believe the real issue is that HR has failed to bring the idea of “HR Customers” to the logical conclusion, and really structure itself as a Customer Centric organization. It is very easy to spot this inconsistency, with few examples (unfortunately way to common around the world).

Laura is an employee at Acme Corporation. Her life is going to change a lot in 9 months, as she just discovered to be pregnant for the first time. She has never really bothered to get informed about what this means in terms of work, so she starts looking for some information.

  • First thing she does is looking at her Employee Handbook. There is a section around Leave, with a chapter dedicated to Maternity and Parental leave. But the section is 6 years old, and refers to some roles that are not existing anymore.
  • She decides then to have a look at the HR Intranet. She clicks on the Leave system she normally uses to record her absences, but there is no option to ask for a Maternity Leave.
  • She then looks in the Knowledge Base section. it’s not easy to spot on something specific in that multitude of documents, so she runs a search. The word “Maternity Leave” returns 60 documents, basically there is one policy per country…
  • Luckily she finds a page titled “What to do when you’re pregnant“. But her hopes to get a fast answer disappears in the first lines of the page: Depending on the contract terms you have been hired on or your company of origin, select the most appropriate Policy. Which Contract Terms? True… she was hired originally in a company that was later acquired by Acme… but the titles of the various documents do not help out…
  • She then resorts to call in the HR Help Desk. But the call menu at the beginning is not at all clear. Is this a Payroll question, or a Other Hr Services one? She tries the Payroll one, but although the HR agent on the other side of the phone was very helpful, he did not have full access to her profile to establish which policy would apply, so a case was opened, and she would get an answer in 48 hours.
  • During the day, at the coffee machine, she tells the great news to two of her best friends and colleagues. One of them, already with children, tells her to go immediately and talk with her boss, as apparently the policy states that that is the first step to do.
  • Laura then goes to meet her manager, and tells him the great news. After a couple of minutes of felicitation… he however says that he cannot process that information, as HR would need to be informed first. There’s for sure a form online to fill-in in this case. As Laure explains she had not found it, the manager quickly drops a note to the HR Business Partner requesting help.
  • In the afternoon Laura receives an email from the HR department. Quickly looking through it she notices that the original email from her manager had circulated to at least 5 different person in the course of the day. And an attachment: The official Maternity Policy! She quickly opens the document and… she discovers it’s 43 pages long. Probably too long also for her afternoon commute…

Many will recognize if not all, some of the elements that are common to many companies in the way that HR Services are delivered. Often similar stories appear when we engage with employees or managers trying to describe their experience, together with a sense of frustration and solitude ind ealing with these elements. HR is very often aware of the issue, but not always to this extent. And when facing the truth, their reaction is to fix the process, trying to figure out how to maybe have a better intranet, or update the Employee Handbook more often.

This failure impacts on the business bottom line

However there are two key learnings that often HR misses from similar stories:

  1. Employees and Managers think in terms of real problems they are facing when they need to contact HR. Whereas HR has the tendency to think in terms of functions and processes when delivering services. This unfortunately means that HR is normally not capable to match the needs and wants of their customers, which is to deliver one consistent solution to the problem.
  2. The above issue means that Employees and Managers dedicate time in trying to find answers, read useless documents, try to find shortcuts in the HR organization, resulting in losses of productivity and eventually real money. And creating external inefficiencies while pursuing your own internal business case, is probably not the best way to contribute to the Business.

Some organizations have tried to elaborate on this problem, and have tried to answer by articulating their services around the so-called Employee life-cycle. Despite being an innovation, it is however not enough. Also the Employee Life Cycle is de facto an HR concept, often not linked to HR.

Embedding the Customer Experience concept in HR.

To help out, we need to embed into HR a concept that is rather common in the rest of the business world, that of Customer Experience. I recently came around a very comprehensive definition of Customer Experience as being everything your brand does for your customers, everything your business processes do to them and how it makes them feel. 

And this applies thoroughly also to HR. Therefore we can come to a conclusion that:

Your HR Customer Experience is:

Everything your HR Organization does for your HR Customers
– Everything your HR processes do to them
= How this makes them feel.

This definition has therefore 3 parts:

  1. What you deliver to your customers.
  2. What you oblige your customers to do (in terms of filling in forms, completing transactions, calling in contact center etc.)
  3. What your customer feels of the total of these interactions.

The relationship between point 1 and 2 is effectively linked to the way they relate to each other in producing an experience. And this is all linked to the perceived value of what you are doing. Taking an example from the airline industry, today many people are embracing online check-in because they appreciate the fact that it is faster. However, not all airlines have been equally successful in implementing this, and recent developments at Ryanair show that there is only so much you can do in pushing your customers down a bad experience route. Which is why it is always a bad idea to design and develop self-service applications without having clearly in mind what the customer want or need.

Thinking in terms of Customer Experience is not easy. First of all because this is created by a sum of different interactions. A positive experience can be immediately balanced off by a moderately negative one. Which is why consistency  is key in the development of customer centric approach. What is really key in this is clearly identifying all the moments when employees or managers enter in contact with HR. These Customer Touch-points may be of different kind, covering system as well as personal interactions.

Is the experience you deliver across all these touch points is consistently positive for your customers?

This is the question you should be posing yourself. Carefully designing your interactions around the key customer needs is vital. So for example, if Laura had access to a portal where content was organized at what was relevant for her (in this case her Maternity), perception of quality would have been higher. Same as if the “Maternity Policy” would have been shorter. Or you seriously think that 43 pages is something that everybody would be happily willing to read?

What is the Cost of Good Customer Service?

But here’s come the catch. Many people feel that Good Customer Service is in opposition to cost control. I.e. investing in the quality of service immediately increases costs, something that HR under pressure for cost optimization cannot sustain.

Well, I see it differently. In many cases the cost of not delivering good quality much higher than the cost linked to improving your HR services.

When you don’t deliver positive services for the sake of efficiency, you are in reality moving inefficiencies somewhere else in the business. Which was the case in the example above, where Laura spent how many hours figuring out where to look for the information? And what about her boss? Or the 5-6 people involved in the email chain that eventually led to a policy delivered to her? As you see, poorly designed services have immediate effect in the organization. This may not be in the P&L of HR, but it ultimately is in the Business one!

Customer Service Components

High quality service is a must for all HR organizations that want to stay relevant for their business. There is no choice for this.

Clearly linking Quality, Efficiency, Service and Reliability are the only way to make a Customer happy. Something that is really key for the new HR organization.

Fire the Project Manager


20130505-125310.jpgThe last decades have seen a key trend in organisations: more and more work is carried through “Projects“. The actual content of what a Project is varies from company to company, but as a rule of thumb the common element of it all is that somebody assumes the role of “Project Manager“. Other elements instead (the availability of a resource plan or of a specific budget) vary instead.
Very often this is a part time role, assumed by somebody in the Organisation who is supposed to continue carrying on its own job at the same time. But in many cases this role is delegated to a “specialist” in Project Management. This can be an internal resource, or more often a contractor, who professionally does project management by applying one of the many methodologies available. The goal of this role is to ensure that the project itself is maintained within budget, planning is respected, results achieved.

I guess you all recognize this. Yet a sentence I heard a couple of days ago from an executive made me really think.

“I have yet to see a project were the project manager is really focusing on the business objectives which underlie the project itself. Issue is that instead the PM works in micromanaging the tasks of the project, focusing on the intermediate deliverables, and trying to spend the available budget at its best. At the end of the day this only produces suboptimal results.

I was really surprised, also because being in the middle of a project of which this person was one f the main person, this consideration made me really think of what is the aim of project management itself.

A new bureaucracy

Truth is that in many cases this whole way of working adds a layer of useless work (made of endless PM meetings, status reports that nobody reads, endless coordination efforts) and stress to the team, with the only apparent advantage of having somebody to blame if something goes wrong.

The issue can be expressed in a very simple example. Most of the PM methodologies are heavily inspired from the building and construction world. At a very high level the process to “build” a house (but this can apply also to a monument, a bridge etc. the only difference being the scale and the resources involved) is articulated into four phases:

  1. design: this is when an architect starts to “draw” the way the house should look like. It is a moment of high interactions with the future owners or sponsor and ends up with a detailed building plan.
  2. plan: this phase (where usually an engineer supports the architect) concentrates on the detailed planning of the project in terms of resources over time, but also in terms of assessing all the technical aspects related to the actual build.
  3. build: this is the phase where the “real” work begins. The construction takes slowly shape. Ad is a phase in which a lot of work is needed to manage resources and face challenges and unforeseen events.
  4. delivery: here the construction is ready, and is given to its owner or sponsor. It is also the moment where the “project” ends and the “normal” use of the house starts.

Now, the interesting thing is that experience shows that also in the building industry, this approach very seldom works. And in 80% of construction projects budgets is exceeded by at least 15% and time is not respected in 86% of cases.

So why would you use this approach? Ok I can already see your eyes rotating puzzled, thinking that there is no other way. Many people would state the obvious: if a project fails to deliver in time or budget it is because of bad project management.

Curiously enough, however, in the 20% of construction projects that fell into budget, the majority of cases had no formal “project management” processes separated from the real work. Very often the person who was leading the project was either the architect (responsible of the design phase) or one of the contractors actually “building” it. The moment that PM does not become as a separate role but persists as an integral part of the project delivery, the project itself seems to gain a lot in terms of effectiveness.

The wrong focus

20130505-125413.jpgWhich goes in line with what of my mentors taught me at the beginning of my working experience.

A good project manager does not focus on processes or mere execution, but on the satisfaction of the goals underlying the project itself.

If you are involved directly in the project delivery, and maybe are a key actor in the design phase, you will for sure be able to interpret the process necessities a lot more proactively. A project manager that instead is just there to supervise the PM process, will focus on the process itself. Which by the way is very often organized on the assumption that everything is always going well.

Interim reports, status updates, project logs, risk assessments, are all useful tool if used by somebody that knows the project aims inside out. The same tools can simply become an unbearable bureaucracy layer instead if handled by somebody that only “manages” the project.

Yet some people think that project management as a discipline makes sense exactly because you can apply a method to whatever type of project you are implementing. But the problem is that no methodology will ever tell you how to react to an unforeseen circumstance.

If we go back to the building example above, what happens if you find out, let’s say, that the terrain you are building on is less consistent than expected? If you are the designer who planned the construction, you could immediately find out what elements are needed to modify the project, verify its impact etc.. As an external PM you may well intercept the same issue in time, but then you can only coordinate that somebody else figures out what to do. Which eventually brings up the issue of delays.

Plus, there is an intimate flaw in most of the project methodologies around. They are all based on the assumption that a project needs to be split up analytically into the small tasks needed to be built. Now this is necessarily a very relevant part of the planning of the execution. But cannot equate to Project Management as a whole. Which often simply misses the big picture.

Limited Responsibility

If all of this is true, why are so many organisations continuously relying on legions of external project managers? In my opinion in many cases it has a lot to do with a de-responsabilisation mechanism. As a manager you have certain responsibilities to achieve. Adding something that may have unforeseen circumstances is often rejected, as it could impact too much your performance evaluation. Thus often any “innovation” activity is packaged into a project that is delegated to somebody external. If the results are positive, usually this means positive impact on the evaluation. If it is negative, it usually blamed to the circumstances, trying to avoid too much of a negative impact.

However, why should the “opening of a new market” be a project that needs a different management structure than that of a sales division? And why should project management skills be different than “plain” management skills?

I once taught a Project Management course. To my really big discontent at the end of the course one of the participants had written up a mixed feedback on the feedback form.

The content was well presented, but after 12 years of being a manager you are already supposed to do all of this. You just don’t draw a GANTT chart around all the time.

If drawing a GANTT chart is the only added value, is it really worth it?

Against the Big Data revolution


Ok, I must really say that I start to get afraid of this hunt for “Big Data” in HR. Apparently on the blogosphere and in the HR domain there is nothing else to talk about. Up to the point that somebody labels this as a A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think.

Your needle is here...

Your needle is here…

Don’t get me wrong, a lot around this is inevitable. We are producing more and more data everyday. Somebody should be able to do something with it. What I do question is this hunt for a miracle recipe that is lying within this huge amount of data, sort of resembling the famous needle in the haystack. And apparently there’s somebody that holds the secret recipe (in the form of an IT system) to find it.

Sorry, but I don’t buy this. First of all because the issue is to define what we are looking for, and not explore the data just for the sake of it. As any student of statistics can demonstrate, give me enough data and I can demonstrate practically anything. Big Data cannot (and will never) replace thinking.

A second point is which data are we talking about. Since the beginning of the “dot economy” there’s a huge wave around data. But what are the information that we are trying to get? We have been able to already explode a huge financial bubble thanks to too much data (that was completely meaningless). This just for the people that forgot how many Dot.Coms got public basing their business plans on “clicks”.

The third point is what consequences will our analysis have. What are we going to use these data for. What I have been reading around Big Data for HR is the possibility to analyze and collect data related to employee activities, and that can help understand future performance patterns.

Of course collecting this level and type of data about employee activity will inevitably collide with employee notions about privacy first, and then once most if not all employees accede to this nature of data collection, (perhaps under threat as a condition of employment), to concerns about the ‘fair’ or proper interpretation of the data. What employee actions and activities are ‘good’ or ‘beneficial’ to overall performance of the organization as opposed to the individual’s own performance will also be a bone of contention – it really is a big data version of the classic ‘results vs. how those results are obtained’ conundrum.

This issue is really relevant, as the question remains: simply because we can collect the data, should we do it? Does it really make sense to track employees walking around the office? What can we grasp from the frequency of their toilet breaks?

What scares me the most is the parallel of Big Data as the New Oil Apparently this is something that is particularly hitting many marketing departments, because every 15 minutes somebody around the world is using this metaphor. But tho my opinion this parallel is only useful to identify a key issue with this big revolution. Aren’t we just assisting to a new form of pollution?

Perhaps the “data as oil” idea can foster some much-needed criticality. Our experience with oil has been fraught; fortunes made have been balanced with dwindling resources, bloody mercenary conflicts, and a terrifying climate crisis. If we are indeed making the first steps into economic terrain that will be as transformative (and possibly as risky) as that of the petroleum industry, foresight will be key. We have already seen “data spills” happen (when large amounts of personal data are inadvertently leaked). Will it be much longer until we see dangerous data drilling practices? Or until we start to see long term effects from “data pollution”?

This especially in the context of an HR Job family that is, in most cases, not even capable of handling small and medium data. The bulk of companies around the world still have only basic payroll systems, what are we really talking about?

The issue is that everybody would like to find the secret recipe to avoid making sense of the numbers, and get down to the real meaning behind them. The problem is that there is no easy answer to this. The process is not new: how much information you can extract from your data? How much knowledge you can create from this?

At the end of the day your data is worth only the Story you can tell from it.