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Competition in the human capital management market rages on, with application suppliers racing to provide sophisticated applications that operate in the cloud. Cloud computing is a key factor in advancing human capital management, included in our research agenda for this area, along with analytics, collaboration, mobility and social media.

Workday recently unveiled version 16 of its suite of applications for financial managementhuman capital management and other areas, including payroll, project management and spend management. Key advancements in the software include Workday for Mobile, which brings a new look and feel, native support of the Apple iPhone and iPad and a new HTML5 version that can work on Apple and Android-based mobile platforms. Unlike most application providers, which have picked either native or Web-based versions, Workday decided to support both approaches. The Web-based version works on the RIM and Microsoft mobile platforms as well, even though they have smaller and declining market shares. Workday 16 supports many of the capabilities you would expect to find in a workforce management product, including time and attendance and also organizational chart capabilities. On tablets it creates a series of application workflows called work feeds for areas including performance management and collaboration using analytics and metrics to help managers assess the performance of their teams. These work feeds are supported by a visual workflow designer that can help users adapt the applications to their organization’s business processes. The well-designed applications feature usability and simplicity, and are well worth the time to evaluate.

In human capital management, Workday provides improvements to the onboarding process and support for automating the population of I-9 and benefits forms. It also has made the employee and manager work environments simpler to engage with on a daily basis. For compensation, it can allocate a pool of funds to be used in merit increases as part of the performance appraisal and recommendation processes. Compensation management is an area that Workday will need to continue to improve upon, as is support for modeling and planning across all types of workers in an organization and our benchmark on total compensation management finds an expanding set of needs. The software’s payroll capabilities can support more than 100,000 workers, a level of processing that enables Workday to provide very large employers with its processing capabilities.

Workday had been partnering with Taleo to accelerate its investments in recruiting and bringing both internal and social media sources to bear on optimizing the talent pool. Our recent social recruiting benchmark research shows that HR is expanding its reach to social sources like LinkedIn and Facebook. Recruiting talent is half of retaining talent, and both of these are key business priorities. Workday will need to explore other partnerships to provide a more complete solution in the short term while it determines a longer term strategic approach.

Workday faces heightened competition from other human capital management application providers who provide core HRMS, talent management and workforce management like Sum Total Systems along with Oracle and SAP, which have made large, expensive acquisitions to address gaps in their human capital management application suites. Oracle recently acquired Taleo. While Oracle continues to have its executives make snide comments about Workday that are easily refuted, Oracle has its own challenges in the adoption rate and readiness of its public cloud offering, as I have written (see “Workday Rising while Oracle Sleeps in the Clouds”). SAP, also feeling pressure to advance in cloud computing, acquired SuccessFactors and is integrating those product offerings with its own existing cloud and on-premises applications.

Workday is now a force to be reckoned with in human capital management. Its continuous quarterly releases of new capabilities have enabled it to quickly improve its application suite. The company could grow even faster if it would make its mobile demonstrations freely available so anyone can appreciate the capabilities that I have seen through its demonstrations. If you wonder what the next generation of human capital management is shaping up to be, look at what Workday 16 is delivering today.

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

The workforce analytics market continues to evolve as organizations seek to improve the time it takes to find insights and employer metrics in order to meet compliance requirements, mitigate risk and enforce governance policies. TALX, a subsidiary of Equifax, provides a range of data-oriented services that help HR, payroll and tax professionals. Its integration with eVerify service assists the hiring process with I-9 compliance, and capabilities to examine workforce compensation and financial liabilities and reduce false unemployment claim costs. TALX, which has the credit files of tens of millions of employees in the U.S. through its parent Equifax, that with employee salary data provided by the employer can determine the financial health and risks of a workforce.

TALX, which last year acquired eThority, a provider of workforce analytics that I have assessed, has been enhancing its workforce analytics software. This week the company announced the availability of TALX Elements, a workforce analytics product that brings together key data services with eThority’s analytics and TALX’s industry expertise to help employers gain faster time to insight. TALX Elements focuses on reducing the time it takes to comply with I-9 reporting regulations and mitigating the risk of not being in compliance. HR professionals can examine compensation methods to reduce the risks of losing talent and of employees filing unemployment claims when they’re not eligible.

Compliance reviews create time pressures for employers. According to our workforce analytics benchmark research, Only about one-third of HR organizations can generate metrics within a week after the report period. The eThority workforce analytics was designed to empower HR and other business professionals to quickly identify issues and take actions. The software can access the most up-to-date employee data and does not require the data preparation tasks that our research shows can take more than two-thirds (70%) of analytics process time. TALX Elements can immediately find ways to reduce the costs of not being in compliance and provide salary benchmarks to ensure that an organization is paying employees the appropriate amounts.

At the core of TALX Elements is a prebuilt set of people, process, risk and compliance metrics that go beyond traditional performance-related indicators and also provides headcount, compensation, tenure, turnover, compliance and liability related metrics. HR organizations that want to add more data and develop additional metrics through analytics can do so. Users can publish the metrics and reports to Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Excel and other common formats. One of the areas it supports is compensation and our benchmark research into total compensation management found that improving reporting and analytics on compensation was a priority for management in 79 percent of organizations. Compensation was identified as the third-most important set of metrics for executives and management, cited by 57 percent of organizations in our workforce analytics benchmark research.

Our research identified usability of analytics software as the overall most important vendor and product evaluation criteria in 56 percent of organizations. In TALX Elements moving a mouse across a chart or legend can be done to automatically select data, while a quick zoom can display the next level of detail in a chart to see what is contributing to the metric. These unique approaches address the need our workforce analytics research found for making analytics more actionable and easier to build and maintain, which are top two issues in 55 percent of organizations.

TALX makes Elements available as software as a service (SaaS) in a cloud-based approach accessible via a Web browser without IT involvement. Its usability could help get HR organizations to stop using spreadsheets, which are the most-used technology in almost two-thirds (62%) of organizations and are a contributing factor to a lack of accuracy in data – only 22 percent of participants said their data is fully accurate.

TALX eThority provides other workforce analytics beyond what is in Elements, including for recruiting and retention. Our benchmark in social media and recruiting found that cost and time–to-hire metrics are still important to half of organizations, and retention metrics like employee satisfaction and retention rates are important in more than 60 percent of organizations.

TALX maintains a customer advisory board that provides input into the direction of the product. The company says it will continue to expand TALX Elements to other data services that it provides, but it has made no specific commitments yet. I would like to see it offer predictive indicators on employees, which will be an interest over the next year in 27 percent of HR organizations. I also believe that further investing into automation of data integration from HR and talent management systems could help organization get analytics ready faster.

Organizations that are looking to enhance their sophistication in compliance, compensation, retention and governance should examine TALX Elements. Those looking for a simple and robust workforce analytics offering should consider the TALX eThority software, which can address a range of needs from recruiting to retention. TALX efforts to help employers with I-9 compliance is becoming increasingly important for organizations that do not have rigorous process to support them and now with analytics to monitor them. Our benchmark in workforce analytics found fewer than one-third of organizations (30%) have any level of satisfaction with their existing software. Considering that only 12 percent of organizations have achieved an innovative level of maturity according to our benchmark, TALX eThority and Elements should find an opportunity to help HR departments place workforce analytics on stronger ground.

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

Mark Smith – Twitter

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