A recent article by Wired Magazine revealed that China plans to begin rating the trustworthiness of its citizens using a “Social Credit System” starting in 2020. It will be based on things like credit history, fulfilment capacity, and citizen’s personal characteristics. While mass surveillance and data collection on this scale may seem Orwellian to some, there’s a great deal of vital information that can be learned through smaller-scale data collection and machine learning, especially when applied in the workplace.

The Art of Data Collection

Luckily for us, big data collection in the United States isn’t nearly as disquieting as the tactics being employed in China. If you’re familiar with tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Fitbit, then there’s a very good chance that data collected about yourself is being put to use right now. “Big data” collection has become a massive industry in recent years, being put to use by a wide range of industries including government, retail, healthcare, and travel. Mass amounts of data can be analyzed to understand past and present trends - which can then be used to more accurately predict future trends - and enhance productivity in the workplace by better understanding employee and customer habits, among other uses.

The increasing prevalence of machine learning has helped to make data collection and analysis far easier, ramping up the speed at which data is being gathered. If you aren’t familiar with the term, machine learning is an algorithm-based method of analysing data to find for hidden insights without being told where to search. Popular applications of machine learning include recommendations on platforms like Netflix and Amazon, fraud detection, and even self-driving cars. Machine learning has made analysing mass data faster, more accurate, and far more effective than ever before.

A Competitive Advantage - Even for Your Business

Big data has become a major part of many businesses’ competitive advantages because of the wide range of insight offered. Data analytics can help an organization identify information that will help them cut costs, make better informed decisions in respect to the wants and needs of their clients, and introduce new products and services to the market that meet the specific needs they have identified.

The combination of data collection and machine learning can help any organization identify new opportunities for growth and even potentially help generate additional product and service development. Being able to more accurately identify the wants and needs of your clients and employees can open up a whole host of exciting new possibilities, giving you an edge over your competition and allowing you to prosper.

A Non-Invasive Alternative

While the Chinese government’s use of big data collection to identify potentially troublesome citizens seems invasive and easily exploitable, there’s a far better alternative for the workplace. Commonly-used workplace software like Prodoscore uses the same general idea - assigning productivity scores to employees based on their activity in applications like G Suite - while never compromising the privacy or trust of employees. This method of calculating employee productivity can help managers to address potential productivity bottlenecks and identify productive employees, making it a much more gentle approach to real time data collection.

Productivity suites like Prodoscore give managers an accurate representation of how productive their employees have been by monitoring only relevant applications. The software only monitors time spent within workplace software and applications, rather than allowing management to view activity in real time. Employees don’t have to worry about management being able to take screenshots or see activity spent in non-workplace related applications. Prodoscore and other productivity suites are particularly effective when considering remote employees, allowing management to accurately measure their activity and contributions from their home office.

The current period of human history is often referred to as the “Information Age” - this title could not be more accurate in regards to Big Data and what we can learn from data collection and analysis. There is no limit to what we are capable of doing when using hard data as a launching point. When data collection and analysis is used responsibly, as it is with Prodoscore, there is no better way to understand the ins and outs of your business and give you an edge over the competition.

To find out more about what G Suite and Prodoscore can do for your workplace, contact us today.