In the last year some software vendors have been developing a new generation of workforce analytics that leaves pie and bar charts behind in their dashboards and reports in favor of a more intuitive approach. One such company, Visier,is now demonstrating such a fresh approach, which exemplifies what business analytics in general and especially those used to optimize and understand the workforce should look like. I spent time at the HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas this week reviewing the software and talking with the development team to learn about the company and its products.
Visier’s software has visualization and interactivity features that change the way users understand pertinent information and expose underlying root-cause issues that they should address. Visier Workforce Analytics includes defined workforce metrics and indicators that can help users examine their workforce processes to determine where to recruit talent and how to retain it. It guides managers in HR, finance and operations to look at areas where an organization can apply performance and compensation techniques to ensure they keep the talent they have and avoid the cost and time of replacing trained staff – an expense most organizations overlook. Our recent workforce analytics benchmark research found the time from onboarding to job proficiency to be the most important metric in 77 percent of organizations, followed by time to hire (67%); both indicate the importance of quickly getting new hires contributing to the organization. That issue can be minimized if the organization focuses on retaining talent that also requires insight on compensation and incentives to gain insight on pay for performance methods that require analytics as found in our total compensation management benchmark and performance appraisals and review data that needs to be accessible as we found in our performance management benchmark.
Using this application is simple and requires no help from IT resources. This is a significant benefit in light of our research, which found that for half of organizations the worst impediment in the workforce analytics process is information that is not actionable. The Visier software also makes it easy to notify others about key findings in the workforce analytics, which enables more collaboration, a capability that 56 percent of organizations desire.
The product guides users through check, assess, explore and review steps that help streamline the stages in using analytics to improve business. The analytics are processed in ways that help you understand what is really going on in your workforce, such as providing indicators of underlying issues that contribute to problems with people, processes and performance. It shows how these key indicators are calculated across metrics and where improvements are needed. In addition you can create what-if scenarios and set thresholds or warnings for tolerance levels that can provide notifications if performance does not fall within them. The software also provides advanced clustering that makes it easy to see problems that underlie the analytics.
Seeing is believing, and the business-quality charting and visualization set Visier Workforce Analytics apart. Many products have long just presented bar and pie charts and called it analytics, even though they did not show users where to focus and what to do. Visier’s visualization of analytics makes it simple to understand and act upon information.
The largest challenge for Visier is not the sophistication or experience of its product; it’s marketing the product as a tool to help organizations save time, decrease costs and also discover opportunities for improvement. Visier’s analytics and visualization are unique, and the better the company explains them to the market, the faster it will find customers for this approach to business analytics. It could see significant growth if it can break the spreadsheet logjam and show potential customers how fast they can go from silos of data and reports to a better set of workforce analytics. Providing direct access to demonstrations on the Internet would help, too. I would love to see the application available on a tablet so management could use it to do reviews, and I expect this will come in the future.
Visier has set a workforce analytics challenge for talent management and human capital management providers that do not deliver the accessibility and usability that users require. Our workforce analytics research found that only 30 percent of organizations are satisfied with their existing software, even fewer with their existing process – and not coincidentally that the majority of organizations (62%) use spreadsheets for this purpose. These facts suggest a bright future for Visier, thanks to its visual approach that will help change how we think and work with workforce analytics and thereby help businesses become more efficient and effective in talent management.
Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer