Fact-based decision making has become an imperative for successful organizations, and it isn’t possible without data and analytics. Yet organizations still struggle with a whole host of challenges around gathering data and delivering insights.
More data is being generated and captured than ever before, but it can be fragmented throughout an organization. There’s often a scarcity of specialized data and analytics talent, and many corporate cultures lack the necessary skill sets and change management practices to be data driven. And, for good reason, there are increasingly stringent requirements around data privacy and governance.
We talked to Pete Schlampp, general manager, Workday Analytics, about these challenges, how product advancements from Workday are helping customers glean better insights from their data, and to get an update on Workday People Analytics, our first augmented analytics offering.
What’s changing in the world of analytics?
We are seeing a true shift in how insights are delivered to end users and business leaders. In the early days of reporting, a business user needed information, and asked someone in the IT department—a trained expert—for a report. The user submitted a ticket or a formal request, and there was plenty of back and forth before they received a report with all the information they needed, formatted how they wanted it.
That method has evolved into two additional modes of data delivery:
- Self-service reporting. Business users can ask their own questions of the data and build their own reports with data discovery tools. They can drag-and-drop data elements to instantly visualize their data, then explore freely via drilling down, filtering, and mixing. This type of reporting can unlock the power of data for the business user, if they know what questions they want to ask.
- Augmented analytics. A more recent innovation in analytics, and powered by machine learning and AI, augmented analytics searches through millions of data points generated by the business, looking for patterns and trends. It automatically ranks what business users need to know and finds what is driving the changes. In this way, it answers the questions people don’t even know to ask.
What is Workday introducing to address these different categories of delivering insights?
We’ve made advancements in our products to support the different ways organizations continue to obtain and deliver data. Our customers can get better self-service reporting today with Discovery Boards. Initially we launched our data discovery capability as part of Workday Prism Analytics, and now we’ll make it available in Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and Workday Financial Management so customers can quickly analyze their native Workday data.
We’ve heard from customers that they want reporting to be easy. Whether it’s a chart, table, financial report, or scorecard, Discovery Boards provides one canvas for analysis, all secured in Workday. Customers can access Discovery Boards as part of their Workday HCM or Workday Financial Management subscription, at no additional cost.
What are some examples of the benefits users will get from Discovery Boards?
It has huge benefits. HR leaders can leverage Discovery Boards in Workday HCM to uncover trends in open headcount, and slice-and-dice by location, supervisory organization, or hundreds of other native Workday dimensions. Through this iterative analysis, they can visualize trends to better understand how areas of the business are growing, and where potential skills gaps may exist.
Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) or accounting teams can also leverage Discovery Boards in Workday Financial Management to uncover trends in revenue or expenses, and use drag-and-drop functionality to analyze by ledger account, cost center, or any other dimension in their data sources. Through charts and pivot tables, they will be able to see trends by product or by region, and perform detailed variance analysis.
How do Workday products support the most advanced approach, augmented analytics?
For the first time we’re delivering augmented analytics technology in the form of Workday People Analytics, which is now available to a limited set of customers. We will continue to expand availability throughout the coming year.
In its initial release, Workday People Analytics brings insights to HR business partners and business leaders in five focus areas: hiring, organization composition, diversity and inclusion, talent and performance, and retention and attrition. It gives business leaders a view into the most critical business trends in their organization, coupled with an understanding of what is most likely driving those trends—all delivered in narrative form, which we call a story.
Here’s one example: Workday People Analytics surfaced a story of female promotion rates at the executive level at a customer’s organization. The customer had recently implemented a program to improve this metric, but data showed that the gap was actually widening, not closing as hoped. Because Workday People Analytics not only discovered this story and surfaced it to the HR business leader, but also uncovered why the gap was widening, this customer was able to quickly work with their HR business partners to make the necessary adjustments.
What’s the bigger vision for data and analytics inside of Workday?
Our ultimate vision is to unify plan, transactional, and operational data, live, in a single interface, for HR and finance leaders to drive better decisions and move their organizations forward.
Here’s how we plan to get there: One source for data, one analytic engine, and a common set of analytic tools and applications. One source for data includes data about your future planning, your actual financial and worker transactions, data from your non-Workday systems, public data like census data, and peer data that you can benchmark against. We’re working to provide one analytic engine that can query and transform data across all these data sources. And finally, our analytic tools and applications will surface insights tailored for each type of user.
To find out more about the future of Workday Analytics, watch our innovation video.