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Former Member
When it comes to workforce analytics, SAP runs SAP and SuccessFactors.

Here in the HR Analytics and Reporting team at SAP, we are in the unique position of being both customer of our SAP analytics solutions, and part of the company striving to innovate, build and put the best workforce analytics solutions on the market.

We face the same challenges as many of our customers: data quality, finding meaningful metrics and standards, and being able to deliver HR programs in a scalable yet secure way to the business. Yet we are fortunate in that we have direct access to many of the brilliant minds working to make meeting these challenges easier. In this blog I would like to discuss some of what we have learned inside SAP’s HR Analytics and Reporting team, with the hope that it might help add another dimension to our conversations with customers.

Content is king

At the beginning of 2012, we encountered a new opportunity with the offering of SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics. You may wonder why at SAP we would look into this solution when we have such a rich portfolio already with our HR BW data warehouse and SAP BusinessObjects technologies. There are a number of differentiating factors which have made us quite excited about the SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics solution – most importantly the content. How many of you have spent months debating which metric to use and taken a whole year to implement just one dashboard on headcount? The SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics solution has behind it years of consulting expertise around workforce analytics and measurement, before a tool was even thought of and implemented.

As a professional in the HR Analytics space, it is refreshing to be looking at technology which directly builds on industry expertise of workforce related metrics, with embedded explanations of what these metrics mean and why we measure them. In addition to this rich content, we can display benchmarks against others in the industry; benchmarks which protect the data of others, but which allow us to provide a frame of reference in our analysis. Finally, with this solution supported in the cloud and directly connected to Strategic Workforce Planning capability, we feel confident that on a regular basis we will encounter more and more rich capability on top of an already very rich set of standards and metrics.

HR domain expertise really does make a difference

We embarked on the implementation of the core of SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics in February of 2012, Core Workforce and Mobility. By April we were live with data in the system (excluding Germany pending negotiations with the workers councils), 150 standard metrics (most with benchmarks available), a number of standard reports built and ready to go showing headcount, hires, terms, gender diversity, headcount movements, all against our standard SAP organizational unit hierarchy from our internal SAP HCM system, IPP.

The speed and quality of the implementation was incredible in our eyes, and the deep knowledge of the Workforce Analytics experts with whom we worked with from SuccessFactors was equally impressive. It is one thing to implement analytics solutions with people who are more used to calculating sales and financials figures, who tend to be unfamiliar with the core questions we and the business ask in terms of our workforce. It is quite another thing to work with experts who speak the same language, and have in-depth knowledge not only of analytics in general, and how best to drive such a function, but specifically about workforce analytics. We were highly impressed with the professionalism, passion, and expertise of the SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics teams.

Workforce analytics transformation is a journey

We have made the first steps on our Workforce Analytics journey, yet there are many more steps ahead we must take before reaching our goal of reaching a high level of maturity in this area. Yet one fact that will accelerate our progress is that the standards from SuccessFactors are there, available to internal HR customers. With this automation we are able to start to take that critical step towards where we spend less time calculating numbers from the system, and more time understanding results to support the business in answering their critical workforce related questions.

We have a two-year plan in front of us to enrich the content in Workforce Analytics to cover more workforce related topics, allowing for increasingly sophisticated analysis to support business decision-making. For example, we will be able to better analyze impact of workforce programs by having enterprise-wide data available, allowing us to consider recruiting metrics along with our learning and development and our high level financials data. How much more this will enable us to answer such critical questions as time to productivity, or impact of learning programs on company results! We see this as a transformation for us first, moving from being specialists in extracting data from our systems, to being specialists in answering workforce related business questions. It also represents a transformation for our business, by virtue of leveraging data-based insights and analysis about our workforce to make better, more sustainable decisions.

Check back again soon to hear more about our experiences, challenges and success with Workforce Analytics at SAP, around such topics as data protection and security, metrics standards, selection of true KPIs to monitor and predict success. We look forward to your comments and questions!

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