New Workday Products Focus on Actually Using Data

Workday Analytics

Workday launched products this week designed to help employers make better use of a data by identifying connections and trends, then presenting results and scenarios in simple terms.

Workday AnalyticsThe first product, Workday People Analytics, will give employers a look into critical workforce trends and help them understand their most likely drivers. The second is a “universal skills ontology” called “skills cloud,” which allows organizations to organize and understand jobs skills data.

Workday People Analytics leverages AI, machine learning and augmented analytics to provide “dynamically created key metrics” along with ideas of what might be behind them, Workday Vice President Pete Schlampp said in a blog post. For Workday HCM customers, People Analytics will work out of the box with existing data. For those using another system, Workday’s Prism Analytics will import data and make the same insights available.

A big piece of the solution, Schlampp said, is the use of augmented analytics. While we’ve heard the term before, this is the first time we’ve seen the technology applied so extensively. By Workday’s definition, augmented analytics brings together a number of AI capabilities including automated pattern-detection capabilities, machine learning and natural language processing.

Bundled this way, Workday will be able to search through millions of possible data scenarios, then automatically push personalized insights to executives and other users. Workday calls these insights “stories” and describes them as “a natural language explanation of what’s happening.”

“Insights can be positive or negative—they’re simply something you should know,” Schlampp wrote. “They dig even deeper into your data, automatically, and tell you why it’s happening.”

As an example, the system might show that new hire turnover has increased overall, and that executives should not only look at the sales organization in London, but also examine compensation and a specific hiring manager. In the end, the system simplifies data analysis so decisions can be made more quickly. (That assumes, of course, that the company’s leadership leans toward acting rather than examining options.)

Skills and Synonyms

Now, the skills cloud: Built into Workday HCM, it recognizes and connects related skills, identifies new skills and uses machine learning to continuously update its knowledge. The point, said Workday, is “to help customers easily tap talent inside and outside of their organizations.”

Essentially, the feature views the skills gap as a data problem. Because the same skill may be described in a number of different ways, and skills themselves are constantly changing, employers need a way to make sense of what they’ve got in-house and what they may need to go out and find. Workday believes common skills can have more than 20 synonyms, and the skills cloud pulls these together. So, for example, “patient management” can be related to “urgent care” and “clinical trials” in the nursing world.

Workday said it stress-tested the idea with its own internal and customer data, as well as publicly sourced information. That work allowed it to reduce 1 million user-entered skills down to 55,000 verified skills, a much less daunting number. In practice, the company said, skills cloud has access to 200 million skills from its customer community, which includes 31 million workers.

The skills cloud is now generally available to customers as part of its Workday Innovation Services package. Customers decide for themselves to participate in the service. If they do, their data is anonymized and aggregated. The skills cloud also allows workers to enhance their profiles by recommending skills to add based on their initial entries.

It’s worth noting that the skills cloud is the second synonym-based feature related to skills we’ve seen in the last few weeks. At HR Tech, we saw how Dice’s new version of TalentSearch also relates skills to different terms, allowing users to more easily conduct focused searches of the technology talent pool.

Image: Workday