Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Value of Pre-built HR Analytics

It's a beautiful fall day in the Sierra foothills. We spent yesterday picking a neighbor's grapes and while I was tired and achy yesterday, I feel great today. Maybe it's because it's our anniversary and I'm looking forward to a wonderful day with my husband of many amazing years. I started the day in my studio, working on some little Japanese panels. But in the back of my mind was a work issue. I'm writing a white paper on HCM Analytics and one piece of the white paper is on the value of HCM Analytics. Personally, I think that organizations can not long survive and thrive without managing their business, and workforce, with metrics, but I am always challenged by readers and clients to "prove it." Fortunately, the CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey can show some strong and continued links to improved financial performance. And, we're certainly starting to see lots and lots of organizations report on the value they've achieved. Wait and see the white paper for some of those stories. But what I was thinking about this morning is "why pre-built." And what better place to think about this than in my studio where I build quilts.

When I first started making quilts, like most novices, I used patterns. Irish chain was my first, followed by Log Cabin, and some Amish patterns. It's only been as I've matured as a quilter and even had some coaching from incredible art quilt teachers that I've designed my own quilts. Even now, I return to patterns, but put my own creative color choices, or even break the pattern and just use pieces of a pattern, along with my own creative design. I value pattern makers for figuring out how to integrate a particular design piece (like a diamond, star, or other geometric design) into another piece. That integration is critical for merging pieces with the exact measures...and I don't like to take the time to do that engineering calculation all the time.

I think the value of pre-built analytics, such as those from Oracle's business analytics and specifically, the HR Analytics product, is similar. Oracle has done all the integration from a recruiting dashboard into the talent management applications, into financials, and into the system of record. In the learning arena, it has integrated from learning management, to financials, etc. as well as to display a learning dashboard with metrics valuable to the training department. It is not to say that technical resources couldn't do all these integrations themselves, but why take their time? All of those integrations come ready made.

There is another subtle value of pre-built. Here I have to diverge a moment to comment on how many analysts and pundits just love to criticize HR for not being good with numbers. So what? Are these pundits good with numbers? I don't think so! So, how does HR get started? Let them use ideas from others. I say, help HR out with some pre-built functionality and from these examples they can start to branch out to identify the metrics that will matter for their own companies. But starting with pre-built KPIs, metrics, reports, and dashboards gives them a big boost to get started.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blogging every day??

I recently heard a motivational speaker who suggested that one should blog every day! I put it on my list of "to dos" about three weeks ago and you can see that I don't keep my commitments. So, I'm going to publicly renege on that one and promise to do a blog at least ONCE A WEEK on the survey, on HCM in general, perhaps something on BI (business intelligence and analytics), and, of course, quilting. I just don't know about these daily bloggers. What kind of life do they have? For me, I find that I just can't move from data analysis (my primary job) to writing. I think my brain just isn't wired for those cross modal activities. And, I also don't seem to balance my life interests very well. My quilting has gone down the drain the past month or so as I've worked to get the annual CedarCrestone HR Survey out the door, presented at several conferences, and set up for ongoing benchmarking.

But, at long last, I got back to my quilt room this weekend and am working to complete my UFOs. I did finish a baby quilt for a baby born a bit ago. And, on my list of to be finished: a Japanese kimono triptych -- just need to bind, last year's Christmas quilt, the hers to the his and hers comforters, and then on to the new one using the Kingyo, Red Rooster fabrics. I'm going to adapt that pattern, using the panel in the middle but my own blend of fabrics from my stash. Stay tuned on that one.

And, I'll post the triptych by this weekend -- my goal for finishing it! Let's see if I can start keeping my commitments to me again!!