• Hamza Zaman

The Dirty Data Dilemma and Other False Misconceptions about Getting Started with People Analytics

This article is an excerpt from Panalyt CEO Daniel West's recent feature on RecruitingDaily's The Use Case with William Tincup podcast, where Daniel and William discussed the main challenges faced by clients and prospects who approach Panalyt, along with a few high-value use cases and applications for People Analytics that the Panalyt team has recently been working on.

People in HR and TA are far too cautious when it comes to data. This is because they have been enslaved by the concept of reporting. They've been pounded over the head with the idea that they need to be continuously reporting, and if they get one data point wrong, they get hauled over the coals for it. Every TA leader with whom we've worked has had a similar experience.


Leaders and HR professionals on the ground must accept the fact that Insights & Analytics is not the same as reporting. Reporting needs to be accurate but Analytics doesn’t need absolutely accurate data. You need a large, sweeping data set to evaluate trends and draw conclusions from them. However, it makes absolutely no difference if two persons out of a hundred don't have their manager or start date entered correctly. You want to get that stuff perfect, but it doesn't mean you can't get valuable insights from it if a couple of data points are off. The truth is that companies and HR leaders are too afraid of dirty data to even begin their data analytics journey.

Simply put, your data will never be clean until you start utilizing it and figuring out what's wrong with it, then fixing it and seeing the results.


Go with what you have. If data is messy or incomplete, don’t wait for a better version or for a “data-lake nirvana.” Use the data you have, or find a way to complement it. - Analytics comes of age, McKinsey Analytics

We frequently hear from organizations and HR professionals who say, "I don't have enough data." At Panalyt, we strive to assist our clients in overcoming this obstacle. We always start by alerting our clients about their payroll data's richness and scope.


Another issue that organizations raise is, "We have too many other projects going on", or “ We can't think about analytics because we're getting a new HRIS next year; let's wait until then,” or “We're about to replace our ATS; let's wait until then,” and the truth is that they are just postponing their capacity to begin educating themselves and their stakeholders on how to interpret this data. This tool, whether it's Panalyt or one of the emerging competitors, is designed to work with any other tool. So it doesn't matter if you change your HRIS in six months; we'll just change the API. You are postponing your journey to educate yourself on the business of leveraging analytics and democratizing data. That is a mistake since every day you postpone is a day you will not get back, and you will always have another project and another tool on the horizon.


It's similar to putting out a fire. Another fire is currently raging, and another will be raging tomorrow. People have no trouble acknowledging or understanding that having our tool in place would allow them to fight or even prevent fires much more efficiently, but they struggle to prioritize correctly when it comes to saying, "Let's get this Firefighting equipment in place first."


For most of these companies, a major difference between buying a People Analytics solution and buying another ATS or HRIS is that it will almost certainly be the first time they purchase

it. We nearly never replace a People Analytics solution that already exists. We're brought in 99 percent of the time to replace nothing or to replace a terrible use of Power BI or a misuse of Tableau. It's not a tool that's meant for what they're doing with it. They also don't know how to make that decision, which we believe is another stumbling block. We are working with several global enterprises, from high-growth startups to large MNCs, to help them avoid these common misconceptions and accelerate their People Analytics transformation, and in some cases even cutting short the planned go-live timeline from one year down to one month. If you're interested in learning more, do feel free to schedule a quick chat with our co-founders!

About Panalyt


Panalyt bridges the People-Data Gap, enabling real-time, uniform access to relevant people data, reports, and insights for CxOs, HR and business managers.


People data, including employee interactions and connections is combined with business data empowering businesses to leapfrog to data-driven decision making, eliminating bias and improving engagement, sales effectiveness, productivity and, as a result, business performance.


Interested in a further discussion on how People Analytics and Relational Analytics can help you drive improved employee and business outcomes? Book a 30-minute discovery call with our Panalyt co-founders to learn more!