The business world is fast evolving. Making quick and effective business decisions, especially those related to talent, is becoming even more crucial to survive in the fierce competition. Technological advancement is supposed to help you do this task more easily; however, I often hear from many of my clients that they are struggling with selecting the right technology for talent analytics from too many options available in the market.
In many cases, I see that companies do not have a defined approach and methodology for talent analytics. This makes it even more difficult to do the technology selection. In order to do this right, there are eight things I suggest you to take into consideration.
Balance your immediate versus longer-term needs
The objective of talent analytics tools can vary from integrating human resources (and potentially other) data from multiple sources into the same platform to providing deep analytics in specific areas of human resources (HR). As you consider the ways in which you’ll extend your analytics capability over time, it is important to understand a platform’s core objectives as well as its strengths and weaknesses in relation to your needs.
Don’t get caught up by the show
Unlike other areas of HR, where a given capability is clearly defined (even if somewhat flawed), organisations often look to talent analytics software to “give” them an analytics capability. Unfortunately, technology often fails due to lack of organisational and data readiness, among other factors. You need to clearly define roles and responsibilities for ensuring effective software implementation and enablement.
Know your target audience(s)
Are you trying to support talent analytics experts, HR centres of excellence, HR business partners, business leaders, or all of the above? Depending on your constituents, you may need a different approach to your analytics platform. Software can vary significantly in terms of usability for specific roles in the organisation. For example, how intuitive is the software for a business leader? Does the methodology and calculation logic meet the needs of a subject matter expert?
Don’t do it just because you can
Although the purpose of these technologies is to allow users access to more and better data than ever before, you may not want to leave it to end users to decide what and how much information they use. Software success is more often than not tied to a thoughtful and deliberate release of insights that help the organisation manage its strategic priorities and risks.
Focus on change management early and often
Successful implementation of a talent analytics tool is not the same as successful use of the tool. For usage to succeed, the tool implementation has to be accompanied by a comprehensive change management and education process to create a more evidence-based culture that can easily use analytics to make better talent decisions.
Consider flexibility of both inputs and outputs
Many organisations have learned the hard way that workforce analytics should be an iterative process, evolving as needs and capabilities develop. Over time, you’ll add data elements, analytics and reporting capabilities to ensure that the software is able to scale to your needs, whether they are anticipated from the outset or identified through usage.
Be wary of the “build-your-own” model
You may be tempted to build your own analytics platforms based on the raw functionality of a business intelligence platform. After all, this approach yields maximum flexibility, and we said that was critical, right? Not exactly. For the same reasons that organisations have long eschewed the proprietary human resource information system (due to resource commitment, maintenance costs, best-in-class thinking across a broader customer base and so on), it is unlikely that home-grown workforce analytics platforms will be able to keep pace with market-based solutions.
Make sure that the software is managed jointly by both HR and IT, at a minimum
While IT is essential to help evaluate the scalability and risk of various solutions, HR has to drive the functionality discussion, both during implementation and as an ongoing responsibility. These roles need to be articulated from the beginning to ensure you get the most value from this sizable investment no matter what software solution you select.
As the money and effort you are investing on talent analytics may not be small, it is important to get the most out of it. The return on this investment can be huge, if you select the right solution and your organisation has the capability to deploy and use it right. A successful deployment not only increases the speed to decision making, but also frees up business analysts in the organisation to move away from mere data extraction and synthesis to more strategic analytics.
Also, keep in mind that technology is essential to empower leaders in such complex and fast-paced environment, but should be viewed as an enabler, not a solution in and of itself.
Neeraj Tandon is the Practice Lead for the Asia Pacific region for Workforce Analytics and Planning based in India. He has over 17 years of cross-functional experience with Fortune 500 ITES & Management Consulting companies. Neeraj has successfully developed and deployed analytics solutions in the area of Strategic workforce Planning, HR reporting and dashboards, Sophisticated predictive analytics solutions from recruitment, retention, Leadership development in multiple industries including Telecom, Financial Services, Oil & Gas and Hitech.