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Most HR and IT organizations face complexity in assembling and communicating insight to business leaders, especially when working with workforce data.  Business Intelligence (BI) based analytics often prompt follow-on questions that are hard to address in a timely manner.  Data scientists have solid analytical skills and bring a keen ability of deriving robust conclusions from data; however, they are hard to find, costly, and do not scale. Most of their time is spent working only on the most critical and high profile analytics projects as opposed to data quality, reporting, or day-to-day analytics.

SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics: Headlines

What it is: a feature unique to SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics, and the overall Business Innovation winner in 2012 Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards recognizing visionary technology vendors, tackles this challenge head-on. Headlines (video) takes a fresh approach to changing the paradigm of how workforce data is communicated within companies.

Headlines is descriptive.  It systematically scours through the employee data.  It interprets and prioritizes findings, and identifies hotspots requiring managerial attention.  It then pushes this information in common language, stripping away obscure analytical terms to tell the manager precisely what they need to know about their people on their mobile devices, via email and the Internet.  Headlines takes it further to describe what could be contributing to the condition, and brings to forefront other related items that should be given consideration.

Headlines anticipates the follow-up questions and provides answers.  Based on the segmentation and the profiles, it proactively identifies who or what else may be at risk. And finally, it has elements of prescriptive analytics, suggesting strategies to address the situation and to manage potential risks.

What it isn’t: an open, deep-dive, slice and dice analytics tool. There are other aspects of the SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics solution suited for traditional power users and analysts.

The story it tells

Similar to newspaper headlines, you can see the headlines that are relevant, systematically prioritized to bring your attention to what matters to you as a manager and leader:

For example, by segmenting the workforce into clusters, it becomes easier to determine what the priorities should be and where scarce resources can be allocated, much more so than if only the average termination rate of the company was presented.

In this particular example, we’re already looking at segmentation by termination type (voluntary) and performance (high performers). The manager can go deeper on the issue to get asnwers to their next level questions and gain a better understanding of the situation, and build a perspective areas most exposed to risk.

The system pulls all of this together and delivers the full story – you are losing too many high performers - to you in form of a scrolling and interactive infographic:

The denouement, or the final outcome or untangling of events in the story is in your hands.

Headlines helps shift the time and discussion from data assembly, transformation and quality, past debating about metrics definitions and their relation to one another, and onto discussing prospective actions and allocating resources to execute.

What does this mean for your business?

Work just got easier. Today your analysts are asked to perform a similar exercise of pulling and collating data, which is mostly manual and very tedious and time consuming.  And then next week, month or quarter they’re asked again for the same reports based on the most recent data.   SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics Headlines automates this process, and making it repeatable and scalable, and freeing up your analysts to perform more strategic and one-off analysis.

This all is a very different tact from BI technology such as dashboards or exploration tools, which leave the audience to its own device to read and interpret the charts and graphs.  Headlines differentiates itself from traditional BI tools by helping your managers and leaders understand the situation as it is happening, pre-empts questions, provides advice and guidance, and focuses and facilitates dialog to address issues.

Cool, eh!

Refer to the blog “SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics or SAP Business Intelligence for Human Resources?for details on how SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics is different from enterprise BI.