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The state of the economy has intensified scrutiny of organizations’ people assets, and so we’re seeing new dialogues about human capital management. Deriving full value from the people in a workforce requires more than just HR managing annual performance reviews or occasional scrutiny of the compensation processes for increases to merit pay or incremental incentives. Investing wisely in workforce-related processes requires assessment and optimization using analytics that can provide a lens on the past but more importantly can provide visibility into forward-looking results. This renewed focus on improving the workforce analytics fits with the findings of our recent benchmark on workforce analytics, which shows that workforce analytics are important to 89 percent of organizations. But using them efficiently and effectively is no easy task since spreadsheets are used in 62 percent of organizations.
In 2010, a technology provider named Aquire used the knowledge it had gained in developing its OrgPublisher application, which is used for organizational hierarchy management, to launch a new application called Acquire Insight. This announcement, not well covered by the industry press, was a large contribution to the resurgence of workforce analytics that utilize a combination of the organizational chart and a new generation of user interfaces to more easily present metrics and what I call key people indicators.
Aquire Insight is delivered using a software-as-a-service- or SaaS-based approach – what we increasingly will call cloud computing – to ease onboarding and decrease the time to operational value of the workforce analytics. Instead of just using pie or bar charts, the Aquire Insight application makes it easy to assess the trends of the KPIs and underlying metrics to determine where improvements should be made within a division, down to the individual department and operational manager. From the top-level view one can easily do root cause analysis of issues ranging from attrition to underperformers. The organizational chart is used as a visualization tool and analytic framework within which to advance the workforce planning process, from hiring to succession. For those that want to easily understand how metrics and KPIs are being calculated, Aquire has provided a business-level explanation and visual representation of the analytic calculations.
Aquire addresses the challenge of understanding the movement of talent in an organization in a unique way in Insight by using funnel visualization, which can look at the movement of new hires and transfers by level in the organization. The product provides some out-of-the-box analytics and metrics covering areas like recruitment, succession and workforce activities. Moreover, this workforce analytic tool can be used for planning purposes whenever an organization needs to determine the status of its talent.
Workforce analytics and planning should be an core element of talent management processes and should be applied regularly to optimize existing activities. Aquire is addressing this need with some unique and very useful approaches that will; enable the user to understand the organization’s workforce and also perform the activities necessary to optimize its human capital.
Insight has benefited from the experience and workforce reporting technology Aquire acquired in developing OrgPublisher, which is now in version 10. It offers search, visual reporting, chain of command views and support for non-Western languages. The application also has been configured to be able to access an HRMS from Oracle or SAP.
Aquire is not new to the HR market. It has a foundation of 2,700 customers using its OrgPublisher technology and is beginning to address the demand for mobile access to this technology. It has been investing into a common platform called Aquire Unifi to support both of these applications. I see Aquire in a competitive battle with Human Concepts that I recently assessed who both use the organizational chart as a technology for providing workforce analytics and planning capabilities.
If you are looking for workforce analytics and planning capabilities that can interoperate across your portfolio of applications from talent management to HRMS, Aquire should be on your list of vendors to assess. If you balance the evaluation criteria for assessing vendors and products with an eye on usability, manageability, functionality, adaptability and reliability, you will find a good offering for your organization.
Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research