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SAP recently released its Executive HR Reporting RDS solution and I was quite impressed with the offering. Having been recently involved in a podcast on Cost Planning and Headcounting (http://www.insightcp.com/insights/cost-planning-and-reporting-sap-hcm), it occurred to me that many HR organizations are not providing meaningful reporting or do not make enough use of analytics for measuring what value they bring and what impact they have on the organization. Many organizations don’t take advantage of using analytics for predictive analysis of future trends and areas of focus within HR and across the organization. I think a lot of organizations are missing out on the high strategic value that HR would gain from using analytics.

The solution provides organizations with a HCM reporting cockpit that contains more than 40 predefined HCM metrics and KPIs. Organizations can also include custom-specific analytics in the solutions. What interests me about this solution is that, unlike some other RDS solutions, this offers organizations the opportunity to get a genuinely new solution that is not a fixed-scope version of an existing offering. As someone that likes to see HR prove its worth to the organization, it excites me that organizations can use this RDS to quickly get analytical capabilities within their organization with a much lower-risk than configuring all of these analytics themselves. The process of discovery workshops to define what to measure, how to calculate it and how to graphically visualize these metrics can be a lengthy process that might not provide the valued outcome that this RDS provides.

The Solution

The HR Executive Reporting RDS is a SAP NetWeaver BusinessObjects “bolt on” that provides KPIs and analytics within a series of dashboards that are both visually appealing and easy-to-digest.

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The 40 predefined HCM analytics (detailed below) cover workforce analysis, recruiting, talent management and cost reporting. The analytics are split across 5 dashboards that have customizable content, such as analytic definitions and definable links, and can also be configured to include customer-specific analytics. Most of the dashboards contain a number of dashboards that split up analytics into more specific topic or process areas.

When an executive or HR user logs into the solution they are taken to the Executive dashboard (the landing page). This page contains an overview of analytics and the user then has the ability to drill-down into analytics, create comments or navigate to other dashboards. Users can zoom into the organization structure or cost center hierarchy to monitor operations or identify trends – with worrying trends highlighted – and can track them over a period of time. Selecting an analytic will display a graph or chart of the analytic. Each analytic can be analyzed within the following dimensions:

  • Last year
  • Current year
  • Current month
  • Target
  • Benchmark
  • Variance
  • Cost center
  • Organization structure

In addition to this list, some analytics have specific filters directly related to that form of benchmarking. For example, in the Succession Planning dashboard Bench Strength can be filtered by Functional Area.

Other features include:

  • Role-based security (although leverages BW security)
  • Printing of dashboards
  • Comment on trends and data
  • Keep track of issues and solutions

As this is an SAP RDS offering then the usual RDS terms & conditions along with the usual RDS benefits are available to customers (fixed-price, fixed yet flexible scope, RDS methodology, deployment in fixed time, etc). The RDS implementation package is fixed at 8 weeks and includes an on-site workshop and selection of the analytics that will be displayed – configuration of these analytics is included as part of the RDS implementation package.

What analytics are included?

The landing page contains analytics that are selected during implementation. These are customized according to the need and data that the organization has and is included as part of the RDS package.

In the Workforce analysis dashboard contains 3 dashboards: Workforce, Headcount and Time and Attendance. In the Workforce dashboard the following analytics are covered:

  • Employee turnover
  • Employee loyalty
  • Average age
  • Tenure in position
  • Staff in management
  • Retirement

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The Headcount dashboard covers the following metrics:

  • Headcount
  • Headcount FTE
  • Leavers
  • New hires

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The Time and attendance dashboard contains metrics around the following:

  • Leave balance
  • Illness rate
  • Overtime
  • Productivity

The Recruitment dashboard is self-contained and covers:

  • Vacant positions
  • Time to fill
  • Quality of hire (No. of leavers v performance of new hires in 1st year)
  • Internal fill rate
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Open requisitions

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The Talent Management dashboard is split into 3 dashboards: Talents and Cost, Performance and Potential and Succession Planning. The Talents and Cost dashboard covers analytics on talents with the organization and average total pay increase.

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The Performance and Potential dashboard contains analytics on:

  • Performance and Potential
  • Promotions and demotions
  • Lateral moves for talents and non-talents
  • Job rotation and movement
  • Average training hours

The Succession Planning dashboard covers analytics on:

  • Key positions (viewable by Functional Area)
  • Bench Strength
  • Readiness of succession
  • Talents in key positions
  • Quality of succession (what % of successors are selected to fill key positions)

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The Workforce Cost dashboard is split into 2 dashboards. The Salary Cost dashboard covers analytics related to:

  • Personnel cost per cost type (fixed salary, bonus, etc)
  • Cost and headcount planning
  • Average talent compensation
  • Talent training cost analysis

The Other Personnel Cost dashboard covers:

  • Education costs
  • Number of training days
  • Training methods
  • Travel costs per expense type
  • Number of travel days
  • Absence costs
  • Overtime costs

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Integrated Options

The RDS can be integrated with BW Integrated Planning and SAP StreamWork in order to:

  • Setup targets and create KPIs on behalf of the business
  • Include benchmark data
  • Collaborate and share with colleagues
  • Keep track of action items
  • Cascade action items

Requirements

The following components are required to run the RDS:

  • ECC6 EhP5 or above
  • EhP2 SP10 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0 ABAP AS (with BI Content 7.06 SP03 add-on)
  • SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform 4.0 SP4
  • SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 SP4
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.1 or above

If Integrated Planning is used then EhP2 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Java is required.

Summary

The SAP HR Executive Reporting RDS is a new and powerful analytics solution that is offered under the RDS framework, to provide added business value at a fixed-price and within a short lead-time, to organizations that use BW. The solution provides a variety of analytics across the board that can provide executives and HR individuals with access to analytics through sexy and visually appealing dashboards, while offering functionality to enable them to identify worrying trends, track those trends, identify root causes and evaluate correlations between analytics.

Since this is a new solution then the technology pre-requisites might necessitate some preparation and upgrade work before an implementation can begin. Organizations that are not using BW will have to miss out, but my first impression is very positive and I am certain that this will become a very popular member of the RDS family.

For me, the only real thing missing that would make this a complete solution is attractive functionality that provides users with the answers to the analytics. For example, the dashboard indicates what the training costs are but doesn’t indicate why the training costs are that level. To find answers to the underlying questions it will be down to the HR Business Partners or BW team to find the answers for the users using the less-than-attractive BW Bex ad-hoc reporting tool. It is rumored that SAP are planning a follow-up RDS package that will provide ad-hoc reporting on the dataset used within this RDS, which should go a long way towards creating a complete analytical solution for HR. In addition, SAP are planning to release a new package in 2013 that enables headcount and salary planning. This will help that help SAP to move away from providing only data models to providing full analytic business content that immediately provide real business value to customers.

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15 Comments

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  1. Jarret Pazahanick

    Excellent job with this Luke and Frans Smolders was kind enough to show walk me through some of this a few weeks back.

    This helps fill a gap in my opinion as many customers have had to develop custom reporting to meet their executive reporting needs though one things that jumped out is that amount of SAP HCM modules you would have to have installed to be able to “fully” use all the functionality in this report.

    Going forward I hope SAP is very clear on the reporting strategy for their HCM customers that are using a hybrid SAP HCM Core with SuccessFactors especially given that SuccessFactors has some robust reporting options as well.

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    1. Luke Marson Post author

      Hi Jarret,

      Thanks for the comments. I agree on your comments – the pre-req’s are bit higher than expected, but I would think a lot of forward-thinking customers who need this functionality are keeping their SAP systems fairly up-to-date within these modules. I guess time will tell.

      I like the SuccessFactors reporting and analytics capabilities, but my main concern is around the feasability of this within a hybrid model.

      Best regards,

      Luke

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    2. Frans Smolders

      Hi Jarret,

      Regarding in-house development cost I talked to partners and our internal consulting organization. Estimation is that developing such a solution would cost ~230 days (plan, build, run). This solution is brought to customers for 40 days consulting to make this fitting to customer needs. This means that this is quite the accelerator!

      We offer content for all modules, however if customers want to use less this will be changed to customer needs during implementation.

      Going forward I will keep you informed about our strategy. And if you ever have questions, don’t hesitate (and I know you will not 🙂 )!

      cheers,

      Frans 

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick

        Lets just say if it takes ~230 days to build a custom complex dashboard than there is a LOT of FLUFF in those estimates 🙂 .  I have personally been on projects where we have delivered executive dashboard for a quite a bit less although not as robust as the RDS solution given they didnt have all the HCM modules installed (which will common for most customers)

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        1. Frans Smolders

          Hi Jarret,

          I understand your opinion. However, for the apples to apples comparison we have asked consultants to make an estimate what it would cost to: kick of the project, write specs, design the solution, activate the BW content, design and create the query layer, activate the BO part, develop the dashboards and do full testing cycles. 

          You are right; we have asked them to do a comparison for the 9 dashboards, 40 KPI’s and 98 metrics/measures in the solution. Obviously if customers want less metrics this would reduce some time. But usually processes take longer as creating volume in a project is my experience 🙂

          cheers,

          Frans 

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  2. SherryAnne Meyer

    Another exciting piece of information to quell the death knoll that seems to be ringing (by sales folks) for on-premise!  Thank you Luke.  This is particularily interesting as a  alternative to SuccessFactors workforce planning analytics for those who wish to maximize their on-premise investment.  The question of value really then gets to the cost to deploy, which is expressed by Jarret. 

    Also critical is the idea you express in the comments above about “forward thinking customers having maintained their investment.”  This is critical.  Too often I see customers conducting complex planning around avoiding regular maintenance and implementation of upgrades or enhancement packs until they are defined as “needed” by the business.  If a company — the CIO —  is not establishing practices and policies to invest in the system, to me that’s a message that intellectual assets are not valued.  To keep the car running smoothly, it needs regular maintenance and new oil and an understanding by the owner of how to maintain the value of the investment.  (That is, of course, unless you plan to drive the car into the ground as is and then discard it.)

    In the case of one’s further investment in SAP,  the business area do not understand or know what your system can deliver.  It’s up to the intellectual assets they employ (internally or externally) to provide that forward looking vision.  Thanks for helping us to get there, Luke.

    I’ll be watching this solution — and am very interested in learning more.  Let’s keep this conversation going.  I actually have the pre-requisites! 🙂 

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    1. Luke Marson Post author

      Hi SherryAnne,

      Great comments as usual and some insight into what’s happening out in the “real world” 🙂 .

      You make some great points, particularly around sales, maintenance and business practices. I don’t think the business realize that some practices are actually bad practices. Leaving support packages to the last opportunity or upgrading an EhP without informing the business of the new functionality available is not an efficient way to run business critical systems.

      As for SAP sales folk, best not to get me started. Their commission level determines what is best for the customer, not what is best for the customer.

      Best regards,

      Luke

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  3. Samiuddin Shaikh

    Hi Luke

    Excellent , i already got one customer checking about this solution.  will forward this to other customer as well.

    Can you please let me know what all product are required from license prospective 🙂

    thanks

    Sami

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    1. Luke Marson Post author

      Thanks Sami. I know BusinessObjects and the Executive HR Reporting license is needed, but I’m not sure if there is something additional. Maybe Frans Smolders can help here 🙂

      Best regards,

      Luke

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      1. Frans Smolders

        Hi Sami and Luke,

        The licenses needed for this RDS are offered as part of the RDS. This means that the RDS covers everything you need from a license and service point of view to get this up and running. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

        regards,

        Frans

        frans.smolders@sap.com

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