Boris Evelson and I have published research entitled “Use HR Analytics To Optimize Talent Processes.”

The premise: HR analytics have taken on new importance as companies work to find, develop, and retain top talent. Using analytics requires asking the right questions that address key organizational pain points and determining the metrics and best practices that will move the company toward greater productivity. We anticipate that this report will help guide HR professionals as they focus on analytics to support recruiting, performance, and learning.

HR faces a challenge of proving its value in helping to set business priorities. Data from technology solutions now give HR the opportunity to become a valued business partner in determining the appropriate metrics to help the executive suite and people in other lines of business make important talent management decisions. The tactical role of advertising for and finding employees, negotiating the hires, and bringing employees on board is no longer enough; HR must become a strategic business partner.

We recommend that you start with solid foundational components including data sources, data extraction and integration processes, master data management (MDM), and an HR data mart as the official HR data repository. Once that’s in place, you need to build queries, reports, and dashboards. Medium-size organizations may use a packaged solution, but large global enterprises with many business units will have to assemble these components.

Vendors now provide some rich and varied offerings. Vendors include those in talent management like SuccessFactors, Taleo, Peoplefluent, and SumTotal; ERP and core HRMS vendors like Oracle, SAP, Infor/Lawson, and Ultimate Software; BI vendors like IBM Cognos, QlikTech, SAS, and Tableau Software; and boutique vendors like Aruspex, OrcaEyes, Vemo, and Visier.

We recommend that you start small, assemble business leaders to identify key employee questions  that relate to company goals, identify people to serve as HR data analysts, and if necessary work with expert consultants to learn from their experiences and best practices.