Why Is Real-Time Such A Big Deal?
Real-time. It’s a concept that has become increasingly more prevalent in this always-on, always mobile society. We want our news in real time, our sports, our entertainment, our personal data. Mobile devices and all of their apps have fueled the fire for instant information and the ability to do virtually everything in real-time.
We outfit our homes with cameras that give us real-time views from our mobile phones. We watch 24-hour news programs that offer real-time insights into events happening around the world. We can use apps to do our banking, pay bills, track a package or a flight, find friends and communicate – all in real-time. We can see a doctor from our mobile device in real-time. We can find a home to buy and see the inventory of a local car dealership in real-time. Shoot, we can even keep tabs on our teen’s whereabouts in real-time.
Our penchant for instant, real-time data is only growing. There’s an interesting website you can visit to see real-time stats on the world population, government expenditures, products produced, titles published, cell phones sold, email sent, tweets, people who died of hunger, money spent on weight loss programs, water consumed, oil pumped, and deaths by type. Actually, there are several of these types of websites because we, as a culture, simply want to know.
What’s The Big Deal about Real-Time?
In a word, real-time is relevant. Whether it’s in our personal lives or the workplace, we want relevant data. Information that was aggregated an hour ago, let alone a week or month ago, is no longer viewed as accurate. Things change and they can change fast. Organizations know this better than anyone. They know the value of having real-time analytics to power their business decisions.
Companies view old data often as bad data. It just can’t be trusted. This is particularly true when it comes to HR. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median number of years workers stayed with their current employer was 4.2 years in 2016, down from 4.6 years in 2014. This presents a significant challenge for these organizations. Added to employees coming and going from their employer are those who shift positions within an organization. These movements are constant, particularly for fast-growing and larger companies.
What does this have to do with real-time information? For HR, keeping track of all of these changes is a full-time job. How can HR guarantee the business organization chart is ever truly accurate? Because it rarely is, many in the organization view it as a nice, historical document that is generally accurate but not to be completely trusted. For the amount of effort that goes into keeping it as current as humanly possible, this indifferent attitude is disheartening.
Traditional Org Chart Software Wasn’t Cut Out for Real-Time
How can HR regain the trust in the company org chart? They must ensure it is a real-time representation of the company. The problem? PowerPoint and Visio, two of the more commonly used org chart products, can’t do it. They still require manual entries. Entries that take time and resources. Resources that must track this information down on a daily basis from managers who must also keep track of all of the variables. Of course, this is in addition to the many other job responsibilities both HR and managers have to deal with every day.
It’s no wonder things fall through the cracks.
Take a look at your current org chart. Are every single box, name, title, and rank 100 percent accurate? How do you know? How do you know if you have the latest version or if there’s another version out there that is more current? How do you know if the new hires have been added or Susie Q who just got promoted is in her rightful place in the organizational structure?
If you can’t answer these questions quickly and definitively, you’re using the wrong org chart software.
Decisions Need Real-Time Data
We have all become quite accustomed to real-time information. It’s time we bring those expectations to the workplace. The data we use every day to power our business systems and inform decisions must be accurate, first and foremost. Accuracy is inextricably linked to time. What was true yesterday may not be true today.
Case in point: can you confidently make a critical business decision based on data from a report that was printed two days ago? Are you certain the data hasn’t changed at all? Have no external factors come into play that could alter that data? If the life of your company came down to one decision you had to make, wouldn’t you want to be certain the data that was informing you was 100 percent accurate? Of course, you would.
Now, the org chart may not be life or death, but it is a reflection of the entire organization. Plenty can be garnered from this data, such as resource gaps and over-utilization, management issues and problematic spans of control, skill deficiencies, and opportunities to share skills and resources.
Each manager hires and fires, promotes and moves employees yet not everyone in the organization is made privy to this information. What often results is one department may know what’s going on, but the rest of the company has no idea. This leads to silos where resources, data and ideas are contained within a single department instead of shared across the company to reduce costs and duplicative efforts, and increase collaboration and efficiencies.
Modern Org Chart Software Brings Real-Time to The Table…Finally
In order to make all of these continuous changes transparent, companies must invest in the right software that automates the process. Today’s software is cloud-based and can be integrated into HR systems. What this means for organizations is that the information in the org chart is always up to date, always in real-time with the most current HR records. Multiple people can be working on the same org chart at the same time without anyone wondering who has the latest version. No one has an ancient saved version on their hard drive because the org chart is now available in real-time on the cloud. Every edit is stored in real-time so every employee is guaranteed to have the most current version.
Decisions can be made confidently using the data from the org chart. Instead of the org chart being a historical document, it is a valued tool that can be leveraged in many areas of the business. No longer is the org chart filed away in some remote crypt, but it can be accessed from any mobile device via the org chart app. No matter where an employee is or what mobile device they are using, they can gain access to their company’s org chart and all of the valuable information it holds.
Employees have real-time insight into their organizational structure, the employee directory, availability of co-workers, skill sets and experiences, project leaders and teams, even personal details such as co-worker’s T-shirt sizes and favorite restaurants. No other software tool provides such transparency into the culture of the organization.
If you haven’t seen what modern org chart software can do, step away from your PowerPoint and give innovation a chance. While PowerPoint may be good for presentations, it won’t give you the real-time data you need for today’s instantaneous needs. Software that is custom built to be real-time, interactive and user-friendly will surpass any perceived benefits of PowerPoint and Visio. Real-time is the only time that really matters.