Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Human Concepts Brings Workforce Analytics and Mobility to the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 3, 2011 1:50:21 PM

Recently Human Concepts sold its personal organizational structure software OrgPlus to Administaff . Since it retains other products with the OrgPlus name, this step might seem puzzling, but it makes sense in terms of the company’s developing product strategy. The sale also frees Human Concepts to focus on organizations with more than 1,000 employees, where growth is more readily available. Human Concepts is experienced in the workforce management market; its customer and partner Zentiva Group won our firm’s 2010 Leadership Award in HR and Workforce Management. Late last year Human Concepts unveiled a new workforce analytics technology tool called Workforce Monitor. It uses the organizational chart as an analytical tool for more than display or monitoring of information – it can provide workforce analytics and planning to serve the needs not only of HR but of line-of-business management and analysts. The product does not just retrofit the limited capabilities of spreadsheets and presentations widely used for analytics, planning and publishing of workforce information. This is a valuable advance; our benchmark research in workforce analytics found that spreadsheets are used universally or regularly in 96 percent of HR organizations but that 39 percent of organizations are not satisfied with their technology and information is not actionable in more than half of organizations.

As well as HR the other business areas need a fast and effective method for assessing the performance of individuals who may work in sales, field service or contact centers. Managers need quick access to quantitative performance metrics also to reformulate organizational structures. Currently most analytics and business intelligence tools only use charts and tables for review of data and provide little if any capability to understand the analytics and metrics by organizational structure. Human Concepts incorporates charts and tables as part of the drill-down process for reviewing departments, managers and employees from within the org-chart view. Our performance management for talent management benchmark found that gaining visibility about progress toward goals and targets has the highest importance in 94 percent of organizations, as does blending of organizational and personnel charts in 53 percent. Workforce Monitor addresses these needs in a simple way that advances the workforce analytics industry.

In addition, Human Concepts has brought to market OrgPlus Mobile to provide rapid access to organizational and employee information on the Apple iPhone and RIM BlackBerry, with devices running Google’s Android coming in the near future. This application will help organizations provide ready access to the employee directory and related information in a secure and consistent manner, which normally is a challenge. This new capability, announced in late 2010, is timely as mobile access becomes significantly more important. It also sets the foundation for further advances in accessing other information from Workforce Monitor; the combination could create a significant opportunity for Human Concepts. But it is not yet clear how compatible the Workforce Monitor technology is with existing browsers and environments that operate on smartphones and tablet computers today.

Both Workforce Monitor and OrgPlus Mobile complement the vendor’s OrgPlus Enterprise platform and can help existing customers gain more value from using the organizational approach to workforce analytics and planning. The new products also can add value to existing sets of data from underlying HRMS and talent management systems that rely on reports and dashboards by allowing users to examine the organizational chart. Workforce Monitor is made available in the rental model of software as a service (SaaS) or cloud computing, which enables users from HR or any other organization to start using the software rapidly. The price point for the technologies is calculated as a percentage of the number of employees. Now Human Concepts must convince more organizations to use the technology than merely its 600 or so OrgPlus Enterprise customers. Other organizations could use the capabilities through specialized data integration of their in-house data to the cloud-based system.

Human Concepts will have to sharpen its marketing edge to increase enterprise sales and distribution through new channels. It must show the market that Workforce Monitor is not a monitoring or reporting tool but a sophisticated workforce analytics application that can help with organizational and succession planning and related areas. Career and succession planning is one of the top three functions that organizations in our research demand from talent and performance management suites. Their value may be even more important for contact center, field service, sales and retail store departments that have routine changes in employees and reporting structures; these departments need to analyze behavior proactively to improve business outcomes and not just wait for annual performance reviews. The tool also can be useful as organizations look to do what-if and scenario planning with their human capital. Human Concepts faces direct competition in its organizational approach from Aquire and others in the talent management application market, but its new approach makes a breakthrough in the simplicity of applying sophisticated analytics and planning in one application.


Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research

Topics: Learning, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Performance, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Mark Smith

Written by Mark Smith

Mark is responsible for the overall direction of Ventana Research and drives the global research agenda covering both business and technology areas. He defined the blueprint for Information Management and Performance Management as the linking together of people, processes, information and technology across organizations to drive effective results. Mark is an expert in technology for business from Performance Management, Business Intelligence, Analytics to Information Management across finance, operations and IT. Mark has held CMO, product development and research roles at companies such as SAP, META Group, Oracle and IRI Software. He has experience across major industries including banking, consumer products, food and beverage, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail and consumer services.