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It’s been a while since I’ve last blogged; projects and moving house are a draining combination! However, better late than never I’m going to discuss Nakisa’s latest offering, SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa 2.1.

Apart from an even fancier new GUI there are lots of features that come out of the box. There are still plenty of customisations that can be made to enhance the products but the out of the box products now offer a great deal more usability immediately after installation. The “On The Fly” (OTF) extractor technology makes the Live solution incredibly flexible in terms of adding new data from SAP makes it almost as functional as using the Staged solution. Inherited data such as cost centres and chief positions is a big plus as I’ve seen this requirement across many clients and I’ve often had to write a procedure to inherit data down the structure in the database rather than use the true SAP inheritance model.

STVN 2.1 also, for the first time, comes in a Java edition. This removes the requirement to use a Windows based server and the Microsoft .NET platform. While it can reduce TCO by re-using existing Java servers, the applications require SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment 7.1 in order to run because of the version of Java required by STVN2.1. However, NetWeaver 7.2 should remove this requirement because it comes with the same version of Java required by STVN2.1.

One of the features I think is a massive step forward is the Accessibility mode. This allows members of an organisation who are visually or audibly impaired to use OrgChart in a text-only mode which also offers support for screen readers such as JAWS. I think this is a huge step forward in making visual OrgChart’s available to everyone in every organisation.

Product-by-product there are a number of additional enhancements, features and functionality that are now available in the product and also out of the box. The nodes now have new graphics and some of the icons have been made that bit more silky.

OrgChart out of the box is greatly enhanced. There are now a number of views and pre-configured security roles. While these won’t fit every organisation’s scope they are certainly a great platform to begin building a bespoke solution that will. The details panels design has also changed, but the general principles are still the same. The biggest plus for me is the inclusion of HCM Dashboard in OrgChart and the new Flex-based pie and bar charts used to display the analytics. These are slick and sexy and give managers, HR professionals and senior executives instant access to key business intelligence. One of the major down points for me is that they require a Talent Planning licence to use them instead of the standard OrgChart licence. Another couple of useful features are bulk-printing and the re-introduction of Chartbook, a neat way of producing booklets of your structure. They’re pretty useful if you have a large structure and don’t own an A1 printer! The “Call From” feature looks quite useful but only really works for multi-national and global organisations.

OrgModeler’s primary new features are the use of effective dating and a linked employee hierarchy. Previously I’ve had to create the linked employee hierarchy so that my client could edit employee data and move employees between different positions, but now Nakisa have included this as an out of the box feature. OrgModeler also features the inheritance icons, bulk printing and “Call From” features.

SuccessionPlanning, like OrgChart, has HCM Dashboard embedded and shows many important analytics and KPIs in Flex pie and bar charts for positions, competency management, succession planning and potential/performance rankings. Also like OrgChart it features objects inheritance, particularly for job and qualification inheritance down the job architecture. Other new features include new views, an Essential Competencies flag, the Flex-powered Talent Grid (the 9-box), Succession Calibration Grid and a newly designed Profile Match. Apart from being very very slick-looking they also look amazingly powerful tools for Talent Managers and HR professionals to enable even greater influence over the succession needs of their organisations. The Talent Grid has had drag-and-drop capabilities introduced to allow greater control over succession planning.

HCM Dashboard, as mentioned above, is now Flex-based and looks very very good on its own or as part of OrgChart and SuccessionPlanning. It also include the ability to run ad-hoc reports and includes a new set of analytics (which are available in OrgChart and SuccessionPlanning) that include statistics such as Age, Gender, Equity and FTE.

I was recently invited to give Nakisa some input into STVN3.0 at their HQ in Montréal. While I was there I got a sneak preview of some of the new features they were designing. While I can’t give anything away at this stage, all I can say is that for both implementors and users this will provide some excellent new features and functionality. I’m very excited about what I saw and I think STVN3.0 is going to be head and shoulders above any other software in this category.

With technologies such as Flex and Java coming into the fore, TVN is going from strength to strength with every release. Even in its relative infancy it is already way ahead of where it was when it first came into the SAP ecosystem. I’m quite excited about how the technology is going to help organisations manage their talent more effectively and empower their workforces to develop into a crucial part of their ongoing success.

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