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Author's profile photo Frans Smolders

A 2012 HR Analytics Summary, and the 2013 Outlook

Hello HCM community,

The end of 2012 is nearing, and that is traditionally a good time to look back. In this post I want to briefly touch upon all that we have accomplished in 2012 and provide a brief outlook into 2013.
2012 – what a year! 

Let me start by saying that 2012 was an amazing year for several reasons. Among the most prominent, the SAP product strategy proved to be very successful. SAP HANA is top of mind for us AND our customers. It is clear to our customers that this is the way forward.

From an HR Analytics product and solution perspective we also had a very busy year. On multiple levels we have launched more innovations than ever:

In addition to the solutions we delivered, we have created a major presence on SCN and in other social media. Not only I, but also my colleagues Jean-Bernard, KourosRay, and Mick, along with the SAP mentors brought a lot of attention to the topic of HR Planning and Analytics. This created more buzz than ever before! It is wonderful to see that there is a big demand, and that HR analytics is a high priority on the agendas of most HR organizations.
And there is even more to come. In my opinion, we have a great foundation for the coming year!

2013 – even better!

In the first weeks of 2013 we plan to release our newest rapid-deployment solution called Advanced HR Analysis. The SAP Advanced HR Analysis rapid-deployment solution enables users to answer questions, uncover problems, and validate hunches quickly. It includes over 20 predefined types of analysis that cover important topics in human capital management (HCM), including workforce headcount, movement and cost, recruitment, and talent management.

The Advanced HR Analysis solution complements the SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution, enabling users to drill down into details directly from the dashboards in order to obtain answers to business questions. It enables HR analysts and business partners to explore and assess data visually, drill down to identify the root causes, and share findings with all stakeholders throughout the organization. The underlying data models of the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse are included in the solution together with the powerful visualizations of SAP BusinessObjects Analysis software for OLAP. This package can be implemented in only 8 weeks. More info will be provided soon!

At the end of Q1 we plan to deliver an Operational Headcount Planning solution. This solution will also be launched as a rapid-deployment solution. The planned SAP Operational Headcount Planning rapid-deployment solution aligns workforce plans with financial budgets. The solution reduces the amount of time spent on budgeting, and improves the accuracy of the budget by providing one integrated process for all stakeholders. The solution helps users simplify salary and headcount planning in your organization.

In our HR suite delivery the focus will be on providing managers and HR professionals with new reporting capabilities. Reporting on transactional data has been tough for a lot of organizations over the last years. The performance of transactional reports and ad-hoc reporting capabilities can become a bit tedious when executing a complex query or querying a large amount of data. The reason for this is highly complex time-dependent data models and clusters are often present, sometimes prohibiting easy processing of data. This is also what makes HR so specific and therefore requiring unique capabilities that were not always present in BI tools.

With the technological capabilities that we can leverage currently, HR can better address the challenges of and big data. These new solutions will provide a significant boost to gaining insight into transactional data. Checks on data accuracy, data quality and compliance can be optimized. This could eventually mean that HR can step away from nightly batch jobs, and have insight in real-time. However, real-time reporting is not always what is most important in HR. There will always be a distinction in transactional reporting and the more complex ‘Analytics’. I have written a previous blog on my personal expectations regarding the near future for landscapes for analytical and transactional data. Let’s see how this will evolve in 2013!

In the IT industry,  it is nearly impossible to look too far into the future. Nevertheless, we can use the current market demands and product offerings to try to make a prediction. One of the biggest trends that we can leverage in HR is predictive analysis. This provides capabilities to not only look backwards with Analytics, but to use that historical data to predict the future based on (and supported by) trusted numbers. 

With SAP Predictive Analysis, users can start modeling to see how HR metrics correlate to one another. This could for example start with something less complex like measuring the impact of overtime on illness or sick leave. Ultimately this can evolve into more complex analysis in which for example we can predict the best training offering is for the sales force to help them sell more, and what the financial impact is when organizations start to make little changes. Imagine what that would do to dashboard capabilities in the board room! This would really mean that we as HR can make significant impact on the overall result of our business.

Throughout 2013 I will keep you up to date on all new product and solution releases and will try to keep you educated on where the market is heading.

Happy holidays,


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      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson

      Hi Frans,

      Good overview and I'm really excited that analytics are getting more exposure. In HR - particularly talent management - it has never been a strong focus of SAP or their customers, so I'm really glad that this is getting some traction on both sides.

      SAP HANA is really going to change (and has changed) the analytics landscape and open up powerful real-time reporting and predictive analytical capabilities. Hopefully a high adoption will give other customers more of an incentive to use it. I believe that organizations need to the right data and right analytics to make the right decisions and SAP are revolutionizing how businesses can go about this.

      Best wishes for 2013!


      Author's profile photo Frans Smolders
      Frans Smolders
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Luke,

      It’s true that we are focusing more heavily as in the past on Analytics because it can really change the way we do business. The truth is always in the numbers!

      Thanks for your support and honest feedback in 2012. Looking forward to collaborating again in 2013!



      Author's profile photo Jarret Pazahanick
      Jarret Pazahanick

      Hi Frans

      You did a great job in 2012 keeping the SCN HCM community up to date on everything that was happening in the analytics space both on the SAP HCM and SuccessFactors sides of the fence.  Great job.


      Author's profile photo Frans Smolders
      Frans Smolders
      Blog Post Author

      Very much appreciated Jarret!