Wednesday, 31 October 2018 09:36

Workday launches Skills Cloud while delivering Adaptive Insights, part 3 of 3

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Workday has found a solution to the problem of companies and people describing skills in many different ways, while the strategic workforce planning solution of Adaptive Insights comes to the cloud.

This is the last article in a three part series, with the first article entitled: "Workday has risen to become an impressive enterprise cloud app player in just 13 years, Part 1 of 3", and part two entitled: "VIDEOS: See Workday Rising 2018's keynotes, sessions, interviews and exec Q&A videos, part 2 of 3".

So, what were some of the other announcements at Workday Rising 2018 in Las Vegas?

The company announced it had delivered a "machine learning-powered skills cloud to unlock untapped workforce potential", while a second of a great deal more announced was about the Workday's recent acquisition, Adaptive Insights, offering a new strategic workforce planning solution as you'll read below.

Here the company stated it had delivered "the general availability of its skills cloud, a universal skills ontology that helps organisations cleanse, understand, and relate job skills data.

"Built into the underlying framework of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and delivered as a service, the skills cloud leverages machine learning to recognise and identify related skills, consume new skills, and continuously learn.

"Using its skills cloud as a foundation in Workday HCM", Workday said it "aims to help customers easily tap talent inside and outside of their organisations".

So, what's the explanation of why this is needed?

Well, it turns out that "today’s skills gap has every business leader thinking about how they can better develop and reskill workers.

"But, to effectively connect people with opportunities, organisations first need to solve a fundamental skills data problem that exists at the core of their workforce technology.

"There are multiple descriptions for every skill that exists, and skills are constantly changing—with new ones emerging and others becoming obsolete—making it impossible to keep up with the administration and reconciliation of this unstructured data set.

"Workday found that common skills can have up to 20-plus synonyms, which the skills cloud consolidates to reveal the relationship between skills—for example, showing that “patient management” is related to “urgent care” and “clinical trials” for nurses.

"Within the skills cloud, Workday has already successfully applied machine learning matching to its own proprietary data, customer contributed data, and additional seed data from O*NET—a government agency—to reduce one million user-entered skills down to a manageable 55,000 verified skills.

"With access to 200 million skills from a customer community representing more than 31 million workers, and powerful machine learning algorithms capable of narrowing these skills down to a few hundred families, Workday is uniquely suited to simplify the skill language for recruiters, managers, and HR professionals".

What Workday did was to "harness the Power of a Universal Skills Language".

Workday further explained: "Once customers elect to participate in the skills cloud service, their contributed data is de-identified and added to a secure, aggregated dataset.

"After opt-in, users have ready access to a Workday-managed skills ontology that enables them to avoid spending time on skills administration altogether.

"The skills cloud also makes it easier for workers to enhance their profiles by recommending skills based on what an individual enters in the system.

"For instance, a recruiter entering “talent acquisition” as a skill may have “candidate sourcing” and “employment brand” suggested. In time, the system will recommend skills based on a person’s title or job description, and automatically tag skills or make inferences based on data added."

"The skills cloud will drive future Workday innovation focused on talent optimisation to help organisations clearly see where their skills gaps exist and better understand the untapped potential of their workforce.

"With this technology underpinning in place, Workday will be able to build out talent marketplace functionality that would enable customers to more effectively connect work owners with skilled workers, to reimagine:

  • How work gets done and is managed—Soon, the skills cloud will have the ability to provide more comprehensive talent matching and recommendations. For example, a hiring manager searching for a candidate with a competency in “web design” would also be provided a candidate with “graphic design,” “web development,” and/or “Flash design” skills.
  • How to engage existing workers and apply their skills and knowledge—The skills cloud could help employers connect existing employees with more relevant learning and development opportunities. For instance, an employee looking to broaden his public speaking skills could find targeted learning content on oration or presentation to help further develop this capability.
  • How to seamlessly, and immediately, deploy talent when and where it is needed—As organisations start to deploy new talent acquisition strategies to keep up with the rapid pace of change in business, they could use the skills cloud to source gig (contract) or external talent for an open role. For example, a marketing manager in need of a video editor for an event would be able to consider multiple external candidates—all proven workers that have previously provided services for and are familiar with the company.

Cristina Goldt, vice-president, HCM products, Workday, said: “Nearly every organisation wants to develop and reskill their workforce to grow their people and their business, but they lack a fundamental understanding of the skills they have and the skills they need.

“Our skills cloud tackles this issue head on with machine learning algorithms that bring calm to the chaotic language of skills. This will ultimately help customers connect skills to people in a more meaningful way to improve how they get work done, develop existing workers, and allocate talent to better meet evolving business needs.”

You can read more at Cristina Goldt's blog post entitled: "Workday: Our Vision for a Frictionless Talent Marketplace".

Indeed, there are plenty of other great blog posts that you can find at Workday's site here.

Workday also announced that its new acquisition, Adaptive Insights, added a "strategic workforce planning solution to business planning cloud".

Here we learned that Adaptive Insights announced it had extended its "Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud with a new strategic workforce planning solution that empowers organisations to develop comprehensive workforce plans that seamlessly integrate with an organisation’s larger corporate plan.

"Combining its flagship ease of use with comprehensive workforce planning capabilities, the purpose-built solution enables deeper collaboration between finance and HR for workforce planning, analysis, and reporting.

"The Business Planning Cloud’s powerful engine ensures users can model their workforce with virtually no limits—on dimensions, dimension values, or number of scenarios.

"Self-service reporting and dashboard capabilities enable finance, HR, and business users to analyse real-time, workforce-related data including salary, skills, diversity, locations, and more from enterprise resource planning (ERP), financial management, human capital management (HCM) systems, and other operational systems.

"Users can also compare multiple driver-based, what-if scenarios and assess the impacts of potential changes to the workforce across the organisation.

At Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), teams are taking strategic workforce planning to new levels using the Business Planning Cloud. According to Peter Reppen, director of FP&A, ARC, “Using the Business Planning Cloud, our team works closely with department leaders and HR to consistently analyse the cost of our workforce and plan for the future. With strategic workforce planning from Adaptive Insights, we now have the opportunity to do advanced skills-based planning, ensuring our workforce is continually aligned with the transformation of our business.”

Collaborative workforce planning supports strategic business goals

"The addition of strategic workforce planning to the Business Planning Cloud continues the company’s commitment to deliver the most comprehensive and collaborative cloud planning platform for all users.

"Recognised for its ease of use, the Business Planning Cloud enables a single platform to be used across the enterprise by power finance and HR and business users alike, enabling better collaboration on planning.

"By empowering individual teams to input plans that then roll up into an overall company-wide plan, organisations can create a comprehensive, holistic model that aligns with and reflects strategic business goals."

Erin Riesmeyer, financial analysis director at Maritz said: “Bringing our HCM and financial data together in the Business Planning Cloud gives us the ability to plan, analyse, and execute across our organisation with the visibility and insights we need to drive our business forward.

“Planning with Adaptive Insights allows us to build separate revenue models for each business unit and one standard workforce model that serves all units, giving us a complete picture of our business.”

The strategic workforce planning capabilities of the Business Planning Cloud include:

  • Collaborative planning across finance, HR, and lines of business. Increase visibility and transparency among finance, HR, and department leaders in planning for new hires, promotions, and merit increases. Managers can leverage the self-service capability of the Business Planning Cloud to map hiring strategies with their business plans, while giving finance and HR instant visibility into current and future hiring needs and expenses.
  • Headcount planning. Model hiring, retention, attrition, and restructuring plans by location, department, and project, as well as the associated cost of workforce. For large enterprises, the scale of the Business Planning Cloud enables a single workforce model to be maintained, even if business units have different business and revenue models.
  • Organisational restructuring. Create and compare driver-based, what-if scenarios to choose the optimal organisation structure with the right people, in the right role, at the right time, and at the right cost. For example, users can explore M&A, divestiture, or relocation by quickly modelling and analysing organisational impact as well as drilling down into compensation, benefits, taxes, relocation costs, and more.
  • Skills-based planning. Model skills by location, ramp time, cost of workforce, and more to meet current and long-term business goals. Business users can compare actual versus planned skill and resource capacity to better align with finance and HR. Managers can ensure workforce skills are up to date with learning and development plans as well as support succession plans.

So, to conclude, this was a very interesting event, showcasing Workday's impressive growth over the last few years, with the company becoming not only a formidable competitor, but one that is delivering clear value to not only its customers, but also to its employees.

You can't have happy customers without happy employees, and the culture of the company looks like a genuine win/win situation.

If you have need of enterprise finance, human capital management/Human Resources, analytics, planning and more, and need to modernise your systems, it is well worth putting Workday on your shortlist and to evaluate their products and services.

This is the last article in a three part series, with the first article entitled: "Workday has risen to become an impressive enterprise cloud app player in just 13 years, Part 1 of 3", and part two entitled: "VIDEOS: See Workday Rising 2018's keynotes, sessions, interviews and exec Q&A videos, part 2 of 3".

The writer attended Workday Rising in Las Vegas as a guest of Workday.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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