Workforce Analytics - A Blend of Business Intelligence and Human Resources

In a previous blog post, I described how artificial intelligence (AI) can help human resources (HR) in the recruiting process. It is interesting to note that almost half of the people who took our poll would use AI—but not extensively.

Besides being used for recruiting purposes, AI is used more and more in workforce management. By combining business intelligence (BI) with HR processes, business performance management (BPM) for HR is created. Vendors call it workforce analytics—and Infohrm, Aruspex, and Vemo are among the three that specialize and offer really interesting products and services in this combined area of BI and HR.

Of course, there are HR vendors (Kronos, Mercer, etc.) that offer workforce analytics, and BI vendors (IBM, Oracle, etc.) that created modules or versions of their products for this niche. No matter which vendor is offering workforce analytics, it is still used in midsized companies or large corporations.

What Can Workforce Analytics Bring to Your Company?

If you are a HR manager in a company that employs thousands of people, one of your main concerns should be reporting and analytics. Workforce analytics can help your organization determine how efficient its recruiting processes are. It can also help during the hiring process—recruiting the right people at the right costs.

Workforce analytics can give your company a general overview of the activity of the HR department. Depending on the product being used, you can drill down to the next level of detail, build interactive graphs, and export the data to different file formats.

By understanding the demand and supply in HR—as well as the gaps between the two—HR professionals can create and implement better internal procedures for talent management, retention, succession, etc.

This is done by gathering information on your workforce and putting it into a single repository. This information comes from your HR system, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, or other business software (e.g. time and attendance, project management, accounting software, etc.).

By using this data, your company can create forecasts and what-if scenarios in order to understand how a change in the activity of the company can impact its HR department and vice-versa. For instance, if you decide to launch a new product line, you can estimate how many people you’ll need and how much it will cost you.

Most of the vendors in this area (HR, BI, or workforce analytics) offer pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) that your company can use to measure the efficiency of its workforce, but they can also help build new ones and even implement best practices to improve the way people work.

Finally, these vendors offer consulting services that can be used to define the way you gather and interpret the data, create and use KPIs, define and manage internal work procedures, and review strategies for recruitment, talent management, compensation, or training.

In a future blog post I will describe what the main players in workforce analytics have to offer. In the meantime, I welcome your comments, and if you have any specific questions you would like to ask the vendors, please let me know. I will include the most interesting ones (with the answers), in my next blog post.
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