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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Workforce development via skills training and learning is becoming more and more emphasized since the beginning of the pandemic, as the importance of Human Capital is weighed heavier than ever. Organizations are looking for answers to how to best equip their workforce with necessary skills and do it virtually, with cross-utilizing or internal movement of talents becoming more frequent.

Organizations' journey in achieving Learning and Development programs that can effectively close skills and position gaps is no doubt a continuous one, and it requires deep yet actionable insights to build a holistic learning environment with agility. In this blog, I will further illustrate the ecosystem of Skills, Learning, and overall Workforce Development and Workforce Compliance. We will also take a look at the Extended Learning Analytics Business Content Package to see how integrating and extending your SuccessFactors HR data with enterprise analytics strategy will unlock the answers to some of the business questions.

"I need to help my team develop skills by asking 'What are the current and future gaps', and ensure I have sufficient skills and talent to fill critical roles...[to execute my strategic priorities]."

-Business leader from a large manufacturing company


Table of Contents

  • The common Learning and Skills-related business challenges

    • Workforce Development

    • Workforce Compliance

  • How investing in Learning and Skills adds value to your organization

  • How SAP's Extended Learning Analytics Business Content Package can help

  • Architecture of Extended Learning Analytics Business Content Package

  • Big picture of Enterprise Analytics with HXM


Source; SAP


The Common Learning and Skills-related Business Challenges​

Many organizations are still in their infancy stage when it comes to implementing large-scale transformation programs for Learning and Development, and instead engage in slow strategy and curriculum change in lieu of the agility and adaptability. In a BCG survey of some of the world’s biggest companies, "about 95% of respondents agreed that corporate learning was crucial to the future of the company and should be granted high-priority status." In contrast, only 15% of the respondents answered that they had delivered on this high-priority, "owing to the difficulty of developing a world-class learning capability".

As identified by McKinsey's report on Elevating Learning and Development, "the leaders of [Learning & Development] functions need to revolutionize their approach by creating a learning strategy that aligns with business strategy and by identifying and enabling the capabilities needed to achieve success"; and they suggest that the most effective organizations are the ones that invest in innovative Learning and Development programs with flexibility and agility that builds human talent.

From various conversations we have had in discussing these challenges, we were able to group two areas of the current landscape, explained further here.


Workforce Development

First area is in the realm of Workforce Development. Questions on the organization's existing Skills gaps and Roles gaps are presented as the driving force, and require answers to how to close the gaps. This requires accurate analysis of the existing employee skillsets and skill ratings, assessment of current and future demand and supply of skills, and actionable insights on how those skills and roles gaps can be closed.

Workforce Compliance

This area of Workforce Compliance deals with more of the traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the current learning offerings. Are the learning offerings being completed on time? Which groups are more likely to leave their learning offerings overdue and take extra long time to complete? This view allows the Learning and Development (L&D) manager to understand the engagement level of employees with the offered learning opportunities.



How investing in Learning and Skills adds value to your organization


Source: SAP

The impacts of closing the Skills Gaps and offering Learning opportunities doesn't stop within L&D department

L&D strengthens engagement levels of the employees as well, which in turn will also impact employee experience. According to the employee engagement surveys co-sponsored by Glint and LinkedIn, employees who see good opportunities to learn and grow are 2.9 times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. And by comparing business units that score in the top quartile of their organization in employee engagement to those at the bottom, Gallup suggests that highly engaged units realize:

  • 41% reduction in absenteeism

  • 17% increase in productivity

  • 24% less turnover

  • 10% increase in customer ratings

  • 20% increase in sales

  • 21% greater profitability

Data is there to prove that investing in Learning and Development of your workforce the right way, and by looking at your organization's Workforce Development and Compliance landscape, you have the potential to establish the culture that is engaging and growing.


According to Gartner, only 33% of HR leaders rate their organizations as effective at using data in Workforce Planning

Finding these existing skills and roles gaps can a powerful point of advantage to plan for the workforce. It's all about knowing what you didn't know - having this data on where and what the gaps are provides insights into the profile of employees that are needed for your business. Then by understanding the skills of your existing workforce and learnings offered, your organization now holds the power to decide on either to up-train, cross-train, cross-utilize your existing workforce or look externally.


Jay A. Conver & Robert M. Fulmer (Harvard Business Review): Two practices - succession planning and leadership development - share a vital and fundamental goal: getting the right skills in the right place

Extending on this idea of workforce planning, David V. Day, Ph.D. writes in Developing Leadership Talent that an investment in succession management is an investment in individual and organizational learning. The author also points to "no strategy for development" and "Lack of adequate support for development" as some of the obstacles to effective succession management; and suggests emphasis on learning skills and adaptability as part of solution in improving the succession management process.


How SAP's Extended Learning Analytics Business Content Package can help


Source: SAP


Planned for 2H 2021, SAP's Extended Learning Analytics Business Content Package is created to empower SAP SuccessFactors users by extending multiple SuccessFactors modules with the power of SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. To gain meaningful insights from cross-organization data, you need to seamlessly connect to, integrate with, and able to blend multiple data sources - and establish Enterprise Analytics.

You may be familiar with the way SAP aligns Finance and HR data from SAP S/4HANA and SAP SuccessFactors to integrate these two verticals for workforce planning. Similarly, this content package is built upon the same idea of achieving the vision of Enterprise Analytics, and is designed to be deployed quickly as a prebuilt business content. It will be sourcing data from different SAP SuccessFactor modules and planned to add data from non-HR sources to assess demand and supply of existing skill sets of your organization, and analyze the skill gaps to close.


Learning and Skills-related data are also stored in multiple places, even outside of Human Resources line of business

As you will see in the later part of this blog, learning and skills-related data are also stored in multiple places as your organization recruits, develops, and grows your employees and workforce. For example with SAP's SuccessFactors modules:


Then you would most likely have your cost and other financial data of recruiting, learning, and development stored in your Finance database, cost of your contingent workforce in another, and so on and so forth.


Separate HR data brings less value to the business

When we asked HR managers on the value of HR data in our Pulse survey with Harvard Business Review in 2020, 89% of the respondents answered they agree that HR data is most valuable to the organization when combined and analyzed in conjunction with financial, operational, and other enterprise business data.

Going back to the two areas - Workforce Development and Workforce Compliance - of current business challenges, this Extended Learning Analytics business content package includes a Story with KPIs that correspond to each of those areas. This is achieved by extending multiple SuccessFactors modules by taking advantage of SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to achieve the vision of Enterprise Analytics. It is designed to be deployed quickly as a prebuilt business content. While it is designed currently to source data from different SAP SuccessFactors modules, businesses would be able to include non-HR sources as their data source, to assess demand and supply of existing skill sets of your workforce and analyze the gaps to close.

In the aforementioned employee engagement surveys done by Glint and LinkedIn, 91% of respondents say it’s very or extremely important for their manager to encourage learning and experimentation. Also, LinkedIn's 2021 Workplace Learning Report 's findings show that 63% of their respondents agree that L&D has a seat at the Executive table with their strategic importance, and these L&D professionals answered that upskilling and reskilling programs as their top priority for 2021. The insights gathered from Extended Learning Analytics business content package will help L&D professionals to establish their strategic importance and enterprise-wide insight for their organization.


Extended Learning Analytics Business Content Package provides the tools to break down these silo by offering SAP Data Warehouse as the data harmonization layer and SAP Analytics Cloud as the analytics layer to achieve Unified Analytics. 



Architecture of Extended Learning Analytics Business Content Package



Source: SAP


As you can see from the diagram above, this business content package sources data from multiple places. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is used as the data warehouse layer where all the data gets harmonized with its ability to connect data across multi-cloud and on-premise repositories. Not only that, we also have the ability to add non-HR sources such as Qualtrics and SAP S/4HANA. So the possibilities are endless; depending on your organization's needs and objectives, Employee Experience and/or Finance data could be brought in as additional data sources to do further analysis between L&D, Skills, and how they affect employee experience and top/bottom line of your organization and vice versa.


Then SAP Analytics Cloud is used on top of this data as the analytics layer to create Stories showing insightful and actionable KPIs. It allows the user to explore data across the organization and deliver insights at the point of decision with self-service analytics with Business Intelligence features.


Here's a quick demo video of Extended Learning Analytics business content package:




Big picture of Enterprise Analytics with HXM

Source: SAP


The era of focusing on capturing and storing data is long gone - now the problem lies in finding the most efficient and productive way to seamlessly connect, integrate, and blend multiple data sources that are in siloes. With this kind of fragmented data, the opportunity cost of not providing the holistic, enterprise-wide analytics is higher than ever.

A holistic approach ensures your people are set up for success and feel empowered. Learn more about what it takes to implement a comprehensive strategy in The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise Analytics.