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The Role of Human Analytics in HR & Business Management: It is the Man Behind the AI That Matters!


A university which is extremely successful in 25 years of operations, having expanded from a medical college to offering an extremely diverse curriculum including engineering, computer science, management and policy, is facing major financial challenges despite (or perhaps because) of the incredible expansion. A bank faces mounting HR costs that threaten to cripple its ability to serve its customers despite an extremely successful penetration across Pakistan. Another company finds itself wondering how to manage its sales territories and what span of management it should have amid customer complaints, falling sales and lower productivity. Nearly all the banks and regulatory institutions in the country are struggling with KYC issues and a plethora of AI tools and millions spent seem to have been useless as penalties and fines have kept climbing. Purchasing expensive AI has neither diminished the problem nor provided any means of solving it. One of the leading companies in the world tried applying psychometric software to sales recruitment and then spent a fortune dismantling the infrastructure. The eventual solution that worked for them was to develop profiles through testing of their high performing employees and then testing against them. Obviously, these are diverse problems with diverse solutions, but the methodologies used to address them are startlingly similar. The answer my friends lies in the details as has been famously quipped by many military leaders and statesmen, industrialists and writers over the years. The university was to discover that all their programs were not equally successful and some were simply not tenable given the resources required to run them, the demand for them and the financial outlay on their operations. Others could be salvaged if workload was analyzed and apportioned judiciously, if they were marketed properly, costs were managed and operations were limited to the markets that could sustain them. The bank found that the various components of their HR costs were not all the same. Policies that once made sense in the old regulatory environment had frightening financial (including tax) implications in present day and legacy issues had a bite that tended to fester the wounds if they were left untreated. Job worth was a line in the sand that too many did not notice and crossed with impunity and on the revenue side too, much like the university’s degree programs, marginal cost and revenue analysis of all products and services had to be segmented and monitored for all markets….or else! Segmenting sales and operations across territories, product lines and developing organograms, organizational and management structures is not an art but a science. The language of this science is a kind of mathematics that stems from concrete insights such as customer experience and analysis of marginal and activity based costs and revenues. How many customers are you managing and how satisfied are they is a key question to optimize the span of management. What works for the organization is often simply a question of what works for the customer and the employees. The data is all there if we but develop the will and expertisese to mine it intelligently. Big data analytics is not all about computing power, rather it is important to cultivate the wisdom of discernment. If this was untrue, all companies would buy a variant of the deep blue chess computer from IBM that defeated world chess champion Gary Kasporov and be done with it. The secret lies in knowing where to look, and that is a function of management capability. AI and machine learning are powerful tools if applied to transaction monitoring but the rules have to be defined by human agency. In the case of Deep Blue, it was computing power harnessed to the knowledge of thousands of grand master games and outcomes programmed into the computer with the help of chess Grand Master Joel Benjamen that brought down the champion Kasparov. In the brave new world of computing, it is still the manager who defines the way forward!


About the writer TAIMUR AHMAD KHAN The writer is a seasoned HR Costs & Analytics Expert. Currently he serves as CEO at TNI HR C