If you're still recovering from a chaotic, time-consuming 2011 year-end, now is the time to turn things around for 2012. By streamlining year-end activities and gaining insight into workforce data, businesses can contain costs in the short term while improving planning for long-term savings. 

Business Intelligence: Improving year-end processes, year-round strategies

If you're still recovering from a chaotic, time-consuming 2011 year-end, now is the time to turn things around for 2012. By streamlining year-end activities and gaining insight into workforce data, businesses can contain costs in the short term while improving planning for long-term savings.

According to a recent Towers Watson study, 27 percent of HR executives cited streamlining processes and systems as one of their top three HR issues for 2011 – 2012, while 25 percent cited more involvement in strategic business-driven issues and 19 percent cited reporting and analytics. Business intelligence (BI) tools, sometimes known as HR analytics or enterprise reporting, offer a cost-effective solution to all three.

Invaluable insight into 'big data'
By easily presenting different views of HR data across the organization, BI tools increase employers' visibility into the company's operations and help them identify specific opportunities for improvement.

That's why BI tools are no longer a nice-to-have, but fast becoming a must-have, according to Jayson Saba, a former HR analyst and vice president of strategy and industry relations for Ceridian.


 
 
jayson-saba.jpg"With BI tools, you can identify that your southwestern sales force over the age of 40 has extremely high relative turnover, then use that information to identify disparities in hiring practices, leadership, training, etc. to increase engagement and retention."

— Jayson Saba 


"BI solutions help you make sense of what the industry calls 'big data' — that large pool of business metrics that you just don't have time to pull meaning out of in a spreadsheet," Saba said. "By drilling down into these HR analytics, businesses can understand what's working and what's not, and ultimately control labor costs, improve customer satisfaction and grow revenue," he said. "And if you're not doing this, you're missing a major competitive opportunity."

One of the most valuable ways that BI tools can improve business strategy is talent management. "Solid data is critical to ensuring that the organization has the right talent to support its business objectives," Saba said.

BI tools allow employers and HR professionals to quickly view snapshots of their workforce using various demographic filters, such as age, gender and location. "For example, you can identify that your southwestern sales force over the age of 40 has extremely high relative turnover," Saba said. "Then, you can use that information to identify disparities in hiring practices, leadership, training, etc. to increase engagement and retention."

Drastic savings through increased productivity
According to Nucleus Research, organizations earn an average of $10.66 for every dollar spent on deployments of analytics applications such as BI solutions. But how?

Today's best-in-class BI solutions leverage the latest technology to make minutes of what would be hours, even days of work in a spreadsheet or complex legacy software during year-end, significantly boosting workforce productivity. BI tools with elegant, easy-to-use interfaces help employers save even more by reducing or even eliminating the need for training.


 
 Improving processes with BI

Advanced business intelligence features like drag-and-drop filters and automated date range selection streamline year-end processes such as:
  • W-2 reconciliation
  • State mismatches
  • Multiple states
  • Payroll balancing
  • Vacation liability reporting
  • Quickly releasing W-2s

"In the past, training someone on a new reporting system would take a lot of time and research," said Johnnie Thompson, senior compensation analyst at California Casualty, a Ceridian BI customer. "Our latest BI solution is easier than using Excel. The drag-and-drop interface is so intuitive because people are used to this format in today's technologies," he said.

When BI tools are integrated with payroll under one vendor, not only do they cost less, but they also eliminate redundant data entry and retrieval. This saves a significant amount of time and mitigates compliance risk from potential inaccuracies.

What value do you think business intelligence tools could add to your organization? Let us know in the comments below.