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Are You Advancing with Analytics — or Drowning in Data?


In a business environment where market and economic changes are faster and more pervasive than ever, it is ironic that a major barrier for more effective workforce planning and analytics is the level to which companies are overwhelmed by the data they already have. After having gone through the rigors of implementing SAP HCM, organizations can tend to focus on the operational and sustainability aspects of maintaining the system, and miss the opportunity to look for possibilities to actually create value. For example, the Chief HR Officer — and business leadership as a whole — has an opportunity to use information from SAP HCM, coupled with other external and internal data sources, to deploy effective workforce planning with advanced analytics, helping the organization become much better prepared to deal with change.

In simple terms, workforce planning and analytics is focused on understanding the long term strategic goals of the organization and on making sure the workforce is in place at the right time to execute those goals. While this provides a long-term value proposition through better informed staffing decisions over time, there also is a more immediate value — namely the ability to swiftly respond to changes in the internal and external factors which affect the health of the organization. With a robust workforce planning and analytics platform in place, course corrections can be quickly made by adjusting the appropriate inputs and variables for the workforce planning model.

In this way, we see that workforce planning and analytics can provide value by:

  • Providing a rational basis for achieving long term strategic goals
  • Enabling the rapid response to changing environments
  • Helping to minimize poor decision making made using incomplete or inaccurate information.

In addition, we believe workforce planning and analytics is a critical component of an Integrated Talent Management model (ITM). In the model shown here, we show that workforce planning drives efforts around talent sourcing and learning and development to make sure that the organization is acquiring the right resources from the best sources and applying the necessary development approaches to keep the skills of the workforce continually relevant and supporting the strategic goals of the organization. In addition, information about the current workforce provides a feedback mechanism to the workforce planning and analytics process, so that any changes in staffing or competencies can be factored into future planning cycles.

Workforce optimization

We believe that the data contained within an SAP HCM system and business intelligence (BI) environment can also be combined with other internal and external data sources as the basis for a workforce optimization effort.

Note: Please refer to the attached PDF for more information.

The diagram illustrates the “People Supply Chain,” which combines macro economic data, sales forecasts, and current workforce deployment and utilization information to develop the “demand” side of the equation. In other words, what types of workforce do we need, how many, and where? The demand estimation work can be done for the present and for future periods as long as the necessary input and variables are available. When coupled with a sophisticated, organization visualization solution, the results can be graphically represented and manipulated to represent various scenarios and may even be used to illustrate skills gaps, development areas, and succession planning needs that can be fed back into the talent management process.

Using SAP to enable workforce planning

The workforce data currently in your SAP HCM and BI systems can be used as the basis for enabling the workforce planning scenarios above, but requires integration with external data sources to be truly powerful. This is where BI & Business Objects (BOBJ) comes into play. External sources can be integrated within BI and presented to the user (either a manager or a HR professional) using Business Objects and the SAP Enterprise Portal.

These can be presented at a summary level with drilldown capability to show how different departments or business units are performing, either through trend analyses or peer comparisons. This shows how powerful analytical tools can be effectively used to understand what is happening with the workforce and to support the development of effective plans for achieving the future objectives of the organization.

SAP HCM data can be very powerful in enabling workforce planning and analytics, which, in turn, can allow organizations to achieve significant advances, rather than simply collecting data and not knowing how to effectively use it. We always welcome the opportunity to discuss how our approaches and tools can be used to help companies in their efforts to achieve these capabilities.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

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