Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Saba Expands the Concept of Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 23, 2012 3:33:16 PM

Saba this week announced its acquisition of Human Concepts, which provides applications and tools for understanding and interacting with employees through visualizations based on the organizational chart. Human Concepts had expanded its portfolio beyond tools to support planning and change processes critical for organizational succession and transition. The company has more than 500 customers worldwide, including partners like Infor, Oracle and SAP.

When I assessed Human Concepts in 2011, I noted its ability to provide analytics based on organizational charts in its Workforce Monitor and the steps it had taken to provide access to workforce information through mobile technologies. Since then the company has improved its visual analysis of employees based on their positions in the organization; its application’s organizational modeling capabilities can be a great tool for managing structures of people. This software will be a welcome addition to Saba’s portfolio, which needed more capabilities in workforce analytics.

Human Concepts had been struggling as a business because many HR organizations are not mature enough to utilize its new applications. Most still use spreadsheets and tools like Visio that are not designed for these advanced tasks. Expanding organizational planning becomes essential during merger and acquisition efforts or significant structural changes, but these events do not occur as often as some might think, so many HR departments continue to make do with outdated tools.

Human Concepts just released the fourth version of its organizational planning suite, making it easier to use and adding functionality that spans from modeling to publishing using Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat and includes export to Microsoft Excel. The new release builds on the suite’s existing visual modeling and interactive candidate pool selection capabilities for building teams. It also provides workflow for review and approval, with an engaging nine-box performance assessment tool. Advances in succession and transition help not just in developing organizational scenarios but also in sharing and communicating career paths. The applications have not just analytical but also operational value. They can help ensure proper adherence to policies and regulations, which can be documented to mitigate future risk.

With this acquisition, Saba continues expanding its portfolio of tools to engage the workforce and optimize talent in organizations. Saba has already positioned the Human Concepts products as part of its talent management suite. Saba also recently added capabilities to support a social enterprise for human capital that should help organizations improve efficiency for individual tasks and team-based business goals. Overall the purchase of Human Concepts is a smart move for Saba as it tries to add differentiated human capital technology and applications to its offerings and directly relevant to our research agenda and education for 2012.


Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

Topics: Social Media, Human Capital Management, Human Concepts, LMS, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Performance, Recruiting, Research, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Mobility, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Customer Performance Management (CPM), HR, HRMS, Saba, 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.