This is the second part of blog about VSN and covers the solutions themselves. You can read the previous part What is Nakisa? … or Everything You Need to Know about Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN) part 1. So, I won’t keep you any longer.
A bit of terminology
Before I go into the solutions in detail I thought it might be useful to provide a bit of terminology. I’ll be using this terminology through the following section. An in-depth guide to terminology can be found in the blog Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN) Terminology.
A box that represents an object, such as an OrgUnit or Position
A selection of information shown in the nodes
The layout of the nodes
A set of same-type objects that form a basic structure or part of a structure when linked to another hierarchy
A object-orientated chart of objects from a number of hierarchies linked together by a common field
Panel of details about a selected object
Facility to search for objects of a given type by certain criteria
A search listing that also displays details of a selected object simultaneously
“Flat” details panel designed to be printed or exported
A booklet that shows a hierarchy over a number of pages
A step-by-step, option-based method of performing bulk tasks quickly and easily
Use of application roles to secure data and/or functionality, rather than or in addition to SAP-based authorization(s)
An application role that allows the user to see particular data and/or have access to certain functionality
Derives and below
Common type of security mechanism created to allow a user to only see “restricted data” about objects in their direct and/or indirect reporting structure (part of role-based security)
Sensitive data that has been restricted to a security role (so it is not available to all end-users)
About the Solutions: Features and functionality
All the applications have Flex-based and HTML orgcharts, export and printing functionality and search listings. They also support SAP authorizations (structural and profile) and can have role-based security applied if necessary. Authentication via SAP logon forms (login using SAP user ID) or SAP Enterprise Portal SSO integration is standard.
Below are also some examples of functionality that it is possible to configure in all of the applications:
- New orgcharts, hierarchies and views (including new objects)
- New search listings (including new objects)
- Node background colour based on one or more attributes
- Additional data and icons
- Fonts, colours and other styles
- Additional languages
You can find out the latest features since this blog in the following blogs:
- What’s new in Nakisa 3.0
- What’s new technically in Nakisa 3.0
- Visualization Solutions by Nakisa 3.0 Service Pack 1
- Visualization Solutions by Nakisa 3.0 Service Pack 2
- Visualization Solutions by Nakisa 3.0 Service Pack 3.0
- What’s new in Visualization Solutions by Nakisa 4.0
- Nakisa OrgHub™ for Mobile app
Now we’ll give an overview of the applications.
OrgChart is an org structure visualization solution. It reads and displays the org structure based on the data held in various OM and PA infotypes (including, through customization, customer specific infotypes). It also allows the user to view details about a selected object in the structure, print/export structures or object details and perform searches on data. The orgcharts, details panels, views and searches are fully configurable and additional items can be added to the application configuration. Almost any item can be secured to a particular application security role and, in Live mode, data access is also be controlled by SAP authorizations.
OrgChart is split into 3 modules:
OrgChart contains the standard orgchart functionality, such as display of the org structure, navigation, zoom etc. This is where the user can browse the org structure and details about objects. The user can expand OrgUnit’s to see the child OrgUnits and the child Positions and expand subsequent OrgUnits. The user can also change the “view” of each OrgUnit or Position – each view allows them to see different information about that particular object. Different styles allow the user to lay the boxes out in different ways so that the best view of the structure can be seen.
The user has the ability to click on object to view a panel of details about that particular object. Out of the box there is basic information about each object, such as OrgUnit Manager (for OrgUnits), Cost Center, structure information and incumbent contact details (for Positions).
For data export there are several options. These include good ol’ fashioned Printing, PDF, PowerPoint, Visio, Image and Chartbook. Printing has been enhanced in recent versions and allows features such as printing over multiple pages and inclusion of notes and images. The Chartbook feature gives the user the opportunity to print a booklet of the org structure, thus allowing them to print large parts (or all) of the org structure that normally would not be possible. The Chartbook can be configured to contain legal information, front page, index and protection from being printed or password protected.
Directory contains the search listings used to find OrgUnits, Positions or People in the organization. It allows the user to search using various criteria and use a filter to narrow down search results. Simultaneous display of the object details enables the user to make sure they have found the right object – very useful if you have several John Smith’s in your organization! Search criteria and settings can also be saved for later use.
SocialLink is a business social networking capability that also includes LinkedIn integration. It allows the employee to maintain a profile of interests, skills, hobbies, qualifications, likes etc that can be used to find collaborators for internal projects or transfer skills to areas of the business where required, for example. It also allows the creation and management of networking groups for use within the organization. At present this is not integrated with the Talent Profile in EhP4, but I am aware of thoughts to make this the case in future versions.
Some of the other OrgChart functionality includes:
- 5 pre-configured security roles
- Cost Centre and OrgUnit Manager inheritance
- “Level” based hierarchies
- Support for Work Council and Assistant nodes
- Print orgcharts and object profiles
- Export orgcharts and object profiles to image, PDF, Visio, PowerPoint image and PowerPoint object
- Export search listing results to Excel or CSV
- Bookmark or save a search listing
- Save global user preference settings and settings for OrgChart, Directory and SocialLink modules
- Authentication via SAP forms, Portal (via SSO) and Active Directory
One of the big benefits of OrgChart is the ability to use it for data cleansing and cleanup. At nearly all of the 15+ organizations where I have implemented OrgChart, the first time many users had seen their SAP data properly was through OrgChart. OrgChart, for most organizations, is the best means to clearly visualize what data actually sits in the SAP HCM system and how it is setup.
While the DataQualityConsole allows organizations to pinpoint technical and systematic data errors (such as vacancies, duplications, missing attributes etc), OrgChart enables organizations to highlight business or semantic errors in their data (an employee no longer has that position, email address is incorrect, Employee Subgroup is wrong etc).
Some of my OrgChart implementations were done as part of a rollout of SAP HCM or a business transformation where the solution was used to validate the orgstructure as it was built. This proactive step enabled Managers and HR specialists to “proof read” their HCM data as it was being created in the system for the first time. In other organizations it has been used as a reactive step to correct data that had not been properly maintained over time. With the right balance alongside DataQualityConsole and OrgManager these tools can be used to help become proactive in maintaining data integrity in SAP HCM.
Other benefits include the enhanced communication and collaboration that can be obtained by using OrgChart. Access to key SAP HCM (and even Active Directory) data can be used to help enable people to find the people in the organization, contact those people and generally help with their day-to-day processes. At a business transformation project I worked on OrgChart was introduced to offer managers a single access point for all the key data for their employees, rather than use 2 or 3 unintuitive interfaces to get the same – or less – data.
You can see a video of OrgChart in action here.
OrgModeler is an org structure modeling solution, designed to help reduce the risks associated with planned and unplanned change. It creates a snapshot of SAP data, based on user settings, and allows the user to model and that data in an independent scenario. This data can then be modeled or simulated in such scenarios as mergers, departmental reorganizations, acquisitions or even full business transformation.
With full honesty, this is the weak link in Nakisa’s solution portfolio. Luckily for end users the next release of VSN will see a revamped version of OrgModeler. When I say revamped, I mean completely rewritten from scratch. I’m not going to dwell too much on OrgModeler because the solution will soon be very different and much improved – much to the benefit of those that would find such a solution beneficial to their organization.
The application is fairly similar to OrgChart, with the added benefit of being able to drag-and-drop objects and to edit data about them. There is a log to record changes and an export to CSV or Excel option to get data out that can be input into SAP. OrgModeler also contains the Chartbook feature. Other features include:
- Create custom views
- Create custom analytics
- Log changes and export them
- Export CSV or Excel of entire structure and data
- Print orgcharts and profiles
- Export to PDF, Image and PowerPoint
- Export orgcharts and object profiles to image, PDF, PowerPoint image and PowerPoint object
- Authentication via SAP forms, Portal (via SSO) and Active Directory
You can see OrgModeler in action in this video here.
You can also watch Nakisa’s “Case of the mixed-up merger” video here.
SOVN OrgAudit (formerly DataQualityConsole)
The OrgAudit solution was introduced as part of 3.0 under the title DataQualityConsole and is, as the name suggests, a data-quality dashboard interface for detecting and reporting data inconsistencies, such as data conflicts and inconsistencies, missing data and noncompliance with business rules etc. It should be clear to most SAP HCM consultants about how critical it is to have correct data – business processes and things such as workflows and payroll rely on this data – and this solution helps enable organizations to keep information correct.
Driven by Eamonn Mullally, until recently Global Account Manager – SAP IT internal Business Applications HR at SAP, this tool was originally an OrgChart bolt-on that quickly evolved into its own dedicated solution. For a detailed background you can read the excellent ERP Executive review of OrgChart and DataQualityConsole by Jon Reed.
To summarize, OrgAudit uses a set of business and technical rules to check data in the desired infotypes in SAP. Automated data audits can be setup to check SAP HCM data against these rules. Like OrgChart, the solution shows the org structure, but instead of showing data or analytics in the object boxes, it displays errors with the SAP HCM data. This in-depth analysis allows identification of different data anomalies and integrity issues and provides details on resolution. Some of the features include:
- Automated error detection
- Real-time actionable error data
- Error tracking and prioritization
- Data quality metrics
Errors are displayed by lists and for each OrgUnit with description and status, categorized OrgUnit, Positions in the OrgUnit and Employees in those Positions. History of the error for the OrgUnit and a graph of the trend distribution for data errors are also displayed.
A number of reports exist so the user to search for various types of error data. These include:
- Audit Runs
- Open Errors
- Recently Closed Errors
- Recently Opened Errors
- Last Audit Run Errors
- Error with Recent Status Change
- Stale Errors
- All Errors
An analytics dashboard also exists to display graphs around data integrity, such as:
- Error Detection Trends
- Error Detection Distributions
- Average Response Times
You can a demo of OrgAudit here.
SOVN TeamManager (formerly OrgManager)
TeamManager is a new solution in the VSN suite and is designed to work from EhP5. It allows the creation and maintenance of OM and PA data in an easy to use interface, much akin to the user interface of OrgChart. Quite simply it provides non-SAP users, junior HR users, Managers, Business Partners, Talent Management Specialists and HR Executives the opportunity to maintain SAP HCM data, including customer infotypes, in a much more intuitive interface than that provided by the SAP gui. As SAP customers look to move further towards more innovative, usable and accessible ways of performing SAP transactions and business data processing, this tool could come to the forefront of this movement and offer real benefit to HR.
Standard out of the box functionality includes:
- Create Positions and related infotypes
- Change Position infotypes
- Copy Positions
- Make Positions Obsolete
- Transfer Employees (from one position to another)
- Hire Employees into the system
- Remove Employees from Positions
It will also support custom infotypes, providing greater flexibility for key data that is not provided for in the standard SAP solution. There is no limit to what data can be changed, as long as it fits into one of the categories above. This application, along with OrgChart and DataQualityConsole, provides a clear path to creating, maintaining, fixing and validating SAP HCM data.
Check out the TeamManager demo here.
STVN TalentHub for Employees (formerly CareerPlanning)
TalentHub for Employees is Nakisa’s first and only employee focused solution and was originally called CareerPlanning. The solution is designed to empower employees with their own career choices and help shape their development. Featuring integration with the EhP4 Talent Profile, the application is more dashboard-based and moves away from the typical orgstructure-orientated approach used in all of the other applications.
While this solution is fairly basic in functionality, it maximizes ease-of-use and has plenty of potential for the future. No doubt this tool will form the basis of Nakisa’s Development Plan roadmap sometime in the future.
The application is split into 3 logical areas for an employee:
- Where am I?
- Where do I want to be?
- How will I get there?
This is really like planning a journey: Current location, destination and route. Each section provides different functionality to allow the output to be devised. The ultimate end goal is for the employee to identify their Competency Gap, print it and take it to their Manager/HR representative so they can arrange the development required to enhance their Competencies and thus become more able to take a better Position.
Currently the application is designed to display the Career Types of the Position and the Competencies, Career Goals, Mobilities and Preferred Jobs of the employee. It allows the employee to identify Jobs that interests them, as positions can be too specific in some circumstances, and includes a Profile Match to find Jobs that match their profile. Like TalentHub for HR & Executives, the key driver for this is Competencies and the Job Architecture/Competency Framework.
There are 2 hierarchies available for the user in the application, the Job Architecture and the Organization Structure. However, the Organization Structure uses the O-O-C Evaluation Path to display Jobs in each OrgUnit. Again, this follows the Job model described in the previous paragraphs.
Nakisa’s TalentHub for Employees video can be seen here.
STVN TalentFramework (part of TalentHub for HR & Executives from STVN 4.0)
SAP’s Talent Management model for Succession Planning and Career Planning revolves around the Job Architecture – or Competency Framework. In EhP4 SAP introduced the concept of the Job Architecture, a 4-level hierarchy of Functional Areas, Job Families, Jobs and Positions to enable Talent Management and HR specialists to more effectively manage the assignment of competencies requirements across the organization. Competencies assigned at any level of the hierarchy cascade down the structure to objects below. Nakisa’s STVN TalentFramework solution is designed to facilitate this competency management through the usual VSN interface. It provides an easy-to-use platform to quickly and effectively assign the skills and competencies required to achieve company objectives at multiple levels without the need to manually assign competencies to every position.
You can watch the Nakisa TalentFramework demo here.
There is also the Advanced Competency Framework video which might be of interest.
TalentHub for HR & Executives (formerly SuccessionPlanning)
In recent years there has been a lot of discussion, articles, white papers and blogs about aging workforces and the retirement of the “baby boomers”. Organizations need to find a way to manage their key and mission-critical positions as key members of the workforce retire. Being prepared and ready with a strategy and plan to replace these individuals is imperative to preventing organizations from suffering from planned – and unplanned – losses.
TalentHub for HR & Executives provides functionality not provided by SAP in the Portal, although basic functionality is offered in transaction code HRTMC_PPOM. The solution provides functionality such as:
- Key role vacancy
- Operational risk
- Knowledge gaps
- Challenge to engage talent and align with objectives
- Sub-optimal productivity
- War for skilled talent
- Rising cost of retention and turnover
- Potential gaps in skill supply & demand
- Weakened competitive edge
- Inability to meet future talent needs
TalentHub for HR & Executives helps to meet those business challenges by enabling users to:
- Track pending departures & have reliable bench strength ready
- Mitigate operational risk
- Align talent with defined competency needs
- Optimize operational productivity
- Improve talent retention and engagement
- Visualize and monitor global talent KPIs
- Identify high-performing, high-potential talent
- Effectively match talent supply & demand
- Identify development needs for successor candidates
- Achieve organization readiness for planned and unplanned losses
The key functionality provided by the solution to help organizations achieve these includes:
- Assignment of key indication to jobs and positions
- Key analytics and reports
- Identification of talents using the Performance v Potential Grid (9 Box Grid)
- Assignment of talents to Talent Groups
- Creation Successor Pools
- Access to key employee and position Talent Management data
- Profile Matching
- Assignment of successors
- Calibration of successors
- View chain of successors
- Calculation of bench strength (risk-based measurement of successors for a position)
- A wide variety of searches and reports
- Comparison functionality for various objects
- PDF Talent Profile
- Wizards to process bulk transactions
- Various data maintenance tasks
- Printing and exporting of orgstructures, profiles and analytics
It is important to mention that TalentHub for HR & Executives isn’t the answer to Succession Management, but part of a bigger process that includes SAP functionality such as Talent Profiles, Talent Assessments, Talent Reviews and Development Plans.
The functionality of TalentHub for HR & Executives is based around functionality similar to OrgChart, but with several additional functions as specified above. I won’t go into the solution in-depth as that is probably a blog in its own right, but I will try and touch on some of the key functionality.
The analytics dashboard views help to measure, analyze, and optimize the succession planning process by evaluating specific positions, talent, competencies, as well as actual employee performance versus potential performance. In addition, you can configure alerts within the dashboard interface for any of your KPIs when they meet critical thresholds. For example, you can trigger alerts for key roles with no successors or with insufficient bench strength. You can also customize the dashboard to add your own custom analytics and KPIs or remove those unneeded by the business.
The Employee Grid (Performance v Potential or “9 Box” Grid) allows high-performing, high-potential employees to be identified easily in a grid based on Performance and Potential values. Any Risks defined in the Talent Assessment can also be used as an axis in the grid. The size of the grid is dependent on the Performance and Potential scales, so it’s not uncommon to see a 25-box grid! The grid has several views of the employees in each segment and a business card of employee data can be viewed. The full employee information can also be viewed so that their entire profile can reviewed before a decision is made whether they should be assigned to a Talent Group or Successor Pool.
The powerful Profile Match matches potential candidates to a selected position based on the competency requirements of the position and the competencies held by the employee. The employees can be selected from sources, such as Talent Groups, Successor Pools or specific OrgUnits. Once a Profile Match has been run one or more matches can be compared to the position via the Competency Match-up. Suitable candidates can also be assigned as successors.
Succession Plans, chain of successors and succession information can easily be viewed in one screen to provide maximum visibility of the current state of the organization.
A number of search listings are available to quickly find positions, employees, job families or Talent Groups. These contain a vast array of search and filter criteria to narrow down searches to the exact results required. The listings include:
- Employees in Talent Groups
- Employees in Successor Pools
- Talent Groups
- Positions with Successors
- Key Positions
- Key Positions with no Successors
- Positions with Career Types
- Job Families with Successors
As with most of the application, additional search listings can be added and the standard ones disabled, amended or enhanced – although TREX configuration is required to enhance the listings.
Once a number of successors have been assigned to a position they can be calibrated in order to align them. Changes in circumstance, competency or profile may require calibration of one or more successor candidates at any time. Calibration can be achieved via drag and drop.
Wizards allow bulk processing of common tasks, such as:
- Nominate Successors
- Approve Successors
- Create Successor Pools
These Wizards allow a step-by-step process to create tasks for multiple objects. This provides additional efficiently for larger organizations, particularly after talent reviews. I expect more to be introduced in the future, but other Wizards can be customized.
See TalentHub for HR & Executives in action in this video.
It’s also worth watching Nakisa’s “The Case of the Runaway Talent” video!
The VSN suite of solutions offers powerful functionality for OM, PA, Talent Management and data integrity – all from SAP. All SAP HCM consultants involved in these areas should have a good basic understanding of what these solutions offer and how they can add benefit to organizations. And organizations should also understand the benefits they can realize by implementing these solutions.
This is a young but quickly expanding area of SAP HCM and it will continue to grow over the coming years. More solutions and enhancements to existing solutions are planned over the next 18 months and beyond and with the growing movement towards usability and accessibility to SAP HCM this is something that should be on everybody’s radar.