HRO and a Culture of Analytics

Recently, Bersin & Associates held a webinar on HR measurement and the need to create a culture of analytics to get to data-driven decision making. Bersin refers to four levels with HR metrics and workforce metrics as the basics. Integrated talent management metrics and business impact predictive metrics are the advanced levels.  Getting to the advanced levels is not easy to achieve and it will likely take several years for those with the vision and fortitude to make the journey.

Many HR vendors offer HR analytics tools including IBM. I spoke with several IBM’ers to learn more, including Steve Johnson in product management.  IBM’s Workforce Performance application is based on its Cognos platform. It is prebuilt with highly configurable HR analytic content from hire to retire with pre-packaged standard reports. It is available as a licensed product (on-premises or hosted) that has prebuilt connectors for SAP, PeopleSoft, and Oracle’s e-business suite. To ensure the application functions well at every level from basic to advanced, IBM has added SPSS predictive analytic software.

Designed to map to HR data from many sources, it brings in data internal to the client and from other applications from third party vendors — key in getting consolidated cross functional workforce information for HR’s many processes and subject matter areas.

IBM understands that HR analytics is a journey and measurement is in its own DNA. The application can be used from basic to advanced levels and extended from HR specialists -only to business unit HR partners and on to line managers as readiness matures. Reports vary by user type from pre-set dashboards and scorecards, to detailed operational reporting, and to ad hoc research by power users.

IBM starts from the viewpoint of business workforce questions HR needs to answer and advise such as: do we have the right mix of people to meet business objectives optimally, or what will our workforce age distribution in key jobs look like in 3 years, in 5 years?  After assessing client needs and interest, a discussion of the actual metrics follows and a starting point can be identified.

The Workforce Performance application is available directly from IBM. It is also available to IBM’s HRO clients and to other service providers who want to integrate advanced HR analytics capabilities into its service offerings. A typical client is in the 5K to 10k plus employee range and there is particular interest from high tech and global employers.

IBM has a user forum for its Cognos products and with the HR analytics users interested in learning more from IBM and each other, there may soon be a user group just for them.

Even the best tools and most capable service provider cannot make the whole journey, especially the cultural part, for a client. Do you have the strategy and roadmap for your HR analytics journey and do you have a HRO partner that will help you create a culture of analytics?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

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One Comment on “HRO and a Culture of Analytics”


  1. […] HRO Insights HR Outsourcing success through data-based insights from industry research firm NelsonHall « HRO and a Culture of Analytics […]


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