Among Layoff Reports, An IBM Executive Explains How Big Data Can Be Used To Manage A Workforce

IBM's Brenda DietrichIBM’s Brenda Dietrich

Although IBM is being tight lipped about about how many jobs it will slash in a round of layoffs that are reportedly happening now, IBM’s worker union says that 2,833 workers have been let go so far in the U.S. and Canada.

So we listened with interest to IBMer Brenda Dietrich talk about a big data project that IBM uses internally to size its workforce.

Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and VP, CTO and Strategist for the Business Analytics unit at IBM. She was speaking on a panel about big data tech at Bloomberg’s Next Big Thing Summit.

The project began when IBM data scientists took two separate sources of data within IBM, smashed them together and analysed them, she said. The data came from the global services billing database and the human resources database. The billing database contains records of every project and its status. The HR database contains details on every employee’s skill set.

By mashing them together IBM’s big data consultants determined dozens of patterns,¬†Dietrich said. Ultimately it helped IBM “look into sales pipeline” and determine “six months from now, do we have enough java programmers in Bangalore, enough [technicians] in Utah, enough database administrators in Zurich? We can start hiring and training in advance,” she said.¬†

IBM sells a whole bunch of big data analytics products to help others hire, recruit, retain, and rightsize their workforces. By applying its big data to its own workforce it is doing what the tech industry calls “eating its own dogfood,” sometimes also referred to as dogfooding.

Although the company is trimming thousands of employees, it also has over 950 job openings, according to Glassdoor.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.