The Future of Analytics in Defining Capabilities

This past week, SuccessFactors, a business execution software company, acquired Inform, a leader in HR, Talent Analytics, and Workforce Planning. In the same week, Accenture released a report (http://bit.ly/cfZmWZ) based upon a survey of senior managers at blue chip organizations that stated:

“Weak analytics capabilities – ranging from siloed data, outdated technology and lack of analytic talent – are preventing organizations from gaining valuable insight that could lead to better business results…”

The importance of analytics, especially to human capital and talent decision making, is increasing. Successful organizations that are able to react with agility and adaptability in the future work environment will be those that know the strategic human capital capabilities to execute business strategy and know the capacity of the workforce to execute that business strategy. Organizations that can do this require a model to help identify capabilities and capacity and a workforce analytics capability that can analyze and create decision advantage from workforce data. When these two are combined, they form a powerful means to provide competitive advantage in a complex and changing global environment.

While many organizations utilize analytics capabilities to improve decision making in finance, sales, marketing, supply chain and operations, utilization of analytics in human capital and talent continues to lag. The same Accenture survey indicated that HR analytics investment would increase by 16%…putting it dead last in the survey.

IBM’s 2009 report titled “Getting Smart About Your Workforce: Why Analytics Matter” indicated three overarching themes:

1. In today’s difficult economic environment, workforce analytics play an increasingly important role in addressing strategic human capital challenges.

2. Workforce analytics enable HR organizations to take a more proactive role in driving business strategy.

3. The implementation of workforce analytics continues to be hindered by both technical and skill related issues.

In a global environment where the one true competitive advantage is an engaged workforce that drives knowledge creation and innovation, a workforce analytics capability to enable strategic human capital capabilities and capacity identification. This enables making informed decisions on what capabilities to buy, build or rent and the necessary resources to enable organizational success.

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