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        Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

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        Human Capital Management Research and Educational Agenda for 2012

        Utilizing the talents of everyone in the workforce is a critical priority for businesses. Savvy executives understand and are anxious to avoid the cost and time incurred in replacing trained, experienced employees and the downturn in productivity while jobs are unfilled. Our benchmark research into recruiting found that more than half of organizations now use metrics of cost and time-to-hire, which indicates the maturing of human resources organizations in response to this challenge. 

        Deployment of people-related applications for talent management (for the entire process from recruiting through separation) and workforce management (traditionally activities related hourly workers to salaried managers) has simplified administration and enhanced efficiency in many organizations, helping HR to become a more strategic partner to the business. The days of depending on a human resources management systems (HRMS) are over; state-of-the-art applications are more engaging and easier to use for employees and HR alike and can operate across the Internet via cloud computing and on mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets. These two technology advancements, along with others including big data, business analytics, business collaboration and social media, change what businesses can do to optimize their use of human capital. But in many cases HR must change the way it operates to derive full value from the technology. For example, the use of social media to advance recruiting is seen as key to identifying new talent pools in 81 percent of organizations, but 59 percent of organizations prohibit the use of social media and prevent themselves from seizing this advantage.

        Our research this year will help businesses advance their human capital management. Ventana’s 2012 research agenda for human capital management will focus on providing education and best practices in three key areas at the intersection of people, processes, information and technology: empowering the mobile and social workforce; recruiting and retaining talent; and utilizing workforce information and analytics.

        In the area of empowering the workforce, we will look at the use of social collaboration technology to connect and engage managers and workers. We’ll show why applications that can be accessed from smartphones and tablets through cloud computing should be a key priority to provide access for managers and workers. Social collaboration will be critical for helping businesses provide learning, improve productivity and stimulate employee engagement. We are conducting new benchmark research into next-generation workforce management applications and technology. In new benchmark research on social collaboration and human capital management that we have yet to release, we find that half of organizations do not encourage or manage informal social collaboration, but many see value in doing that for  knowledge sharing (49%), learning (37%) and collaborating (34%).

        For acquiring and retaining talent, our research will examine how recruiting and hiring processes are expanding with the use of cloud computing and providing access to larger talent pools via social media. More engaging compensation and incentive techniques can also have a significant role in retaining and valuing talent. Our benchmark research into total compensation management found that inconsistent execution and limited alignment between pay and performance are major impediments today in almost half of organizations, but dedicated applications can remedy the lack of integrated compensation information and of systems to accurately manage scattered information. Overall workforce management to embrace all levels of talent, from workers to managers, is critical and a focus of new benchmark research that we will release in 2012. Building upon previous research in total compensation management and social media and recruiting, this new research will help educate the market and reveal best practices.

        In the area of utilizing workforce information and analytics, our research will investigate the use of big data, analytics and more sophisticated metrics and indicators in human resources and associated parties in finance and operations. HR must expand beyond performance-related measurements to look at governance, people, process, risk and compliance metrics to ensure the proper behavior of its workforce. Our benchmark research into workforce analytics found that a majority of HR organizations are bogged down using spreadsheets for human capital management and other methods that take time and increase errors. This has led to almost half (48%) of organizations being dissatisfied with their existing processes, in which two-thirds of the time is spent on data-related activities. Organizations that want to advance performance management will have to use objectives and tasks to better engage their workforce. Our benchmark research into performance management for talent management found that inadequate systems and time-consuming processes are the most impactful factors in more than one-third of organizations, and dealing with them is very important in more than 63 percent. 

        Advancing techniques for making workforce-related information more accessible is essential to improving efficiency and productivity. Businesses need to have central places where users can access information about a range of benefits and goals, including training and succession paths that can inspire individuals to perform better. Aligning the workforce to business goals is a top priority for advancing performance management in 81 percent of organizations. Meeting these goals will require HR to look at new methods of assembling and accessing information through mobile and other channels, including worker self-service. We will conduct new benchmark research into social collaboration, learning and performance management to further investigate the potential for engaging the workforce through information and analytics. 

        I believe that 2012 will be a bellwether year for human capital management, as organizations realize the importance of improving their processes and using applications and technology strategically. The desire to represent their organization as the best place to work in order to retain human capital has become a key priority for executives. Sophistication in the use of technology can ensure that organizations step up their competencies and maturity in support of this goal. Significant changes in talent management technology suppliers through mergers and acquisitions, along with new product introductions with support for analytics, cloud computing, collaboration and social media, have created a need for HR organizations to ensure that their technology is not and preventing them from competing effectively in managing their people. 

        The need to optimize use of human capital is now a strategic business imperative. Our research will deliver education and best practices that can help you reduce the costs, time and risk of making the wrong choices or paying insufficient attention to this strategic imperative.


        Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer


        Mark Smith
        Partner, Head of Software Research

        Mark Smith is the Partner, Head of Software Research at ISG and Ventana Research leading the global market agenda as a subject matter expert in digital business and enterprise software. Mark is a digital technology enthusiast using market research and insights to educate and inspire enterprises, software and service providers.


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