Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

OrcaEyes Delivers a Whale of Workforce Analytics and Planning

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 5, 2013 11:43:39 AM

Human capital analytics used to be simple. It focused on compliance reporting, showed basic information and was an afterthought in most applications.  Today analytics is the centerpiece of many human capital management applications and involves many sophisticated tools, because it delivers the some of the greatest value of any process in all HCM.  Our next-generation workforce management benchmark research found that 61 percent of companies surveyed are planning to invest in improving their workforce analytics capabilities.

OrcaEyes, founded in 2007 and vr_nextgenworkforce_planning_to_improve_workforce_analyticsbased in Texas, is a company that focuses exclusively on delivering workforce planning and analytics solutions for enterprise and mid-market customers.  OrcaEyes has many Fortune 500 companies as clients demonstrating its enterprise class capabilities. In 2012 OrcaEyes gained several new customers for a product in the healthcare market.  OrcaEyes offers three products: SonarVision Insights, a labor market statistics product; SonarVision Enterprise, an enterprise workforce planning product; and SonarVision OnDemand, a basic version of the workforce planning product.  All the products are deployed and delivered via SaaS.

One of the main challenges organizations face in successfully launching a workforce planning and analytics system and keeping it running is quickly and easily mapping all their data sources into the system.  OrcaEyes solves this for customers by doing much of the data extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) and setup for data normalization on the vendor side.  This saves customers time and effort.  To speed the process, OrcaEyes has a set of tools that help with most basic data conversion needs.  Solving this basic need helps customers improve the time-to-value for their investment.

Recently I got a demonstration of the latest release of the SonarVision Enterprise product with Brad Hilbert, chief technology officer for OrcaEyes providing insight to the latest capabilities found in it is version 3 release that came out in 2012.  It’s a powerful interactive application that helps organizations handle both the labor demand and labor supply side of workforce planning effectively.  The overall application has a nice user experience, which came up as the most important technology consideration for respondents in our workforce analytics benchmark. SonarVision Enterprise also includes rich historical labor trending and slicing and dicing capabilities that provide users valuable insights into the major factors that are contributing to the supply side of the workforce planning equation.  On the labor demand side SonarVision Enterprise offers a good set of modeling functions (including some by industry) which give organizations the ability to calculate labor demand based what is important to most customers.  The application also presents this information (labor demand, supply, predicted gap) in nice charts that makes it easy for users to consume and understand it.

In addition to labor supply and demand modeling, SonarVision Enterprise includes several features to help organizations create and implement workforce plans.  These include easy-to-use what-if tools that let users calculate future labor supply by changing factors such as turnover, retirement and number of hires per year and then quickly seeing the results the changes have on future labor supply.  In addition, it includes a one-click auto-fit function that automatically adjusts labor plan variables to meet required demand.  The application also lets users see, in a simple spreadsheet view, the total cost breakdown for their specific workforce staffing plans. OrcaEyes also recently released new modules that contain analytics and metrics across talent management activities.

OrcaEyes has many strengths, but it also faces some challenges.  While it includes a strong set of features, it is largely built on a customized platform.  As the product grows in success this may cause issues, and prospects should be aware of this in their evaluation process.  In addition, OrcaEyes is not well-known in the market, but spending more on marketing, branding and awareness will likely help make organizations aware of the value of the products and services the company has to offer.  OrcaEyes should also articulate the benefits of its applications to finance who will gain value from its workforce planning capabilities and also have the metrics to benchmark its human capital potential.

If you have not looked at OrcaEyes’ workforce planning or analytics products recently, you may like the latest release and some of the company’s recent wins validate that customers find value in the software.  In addition, I believe that dedicated applications for workforce analytics and planning such as these ultimately serve customers’ needs more effectively than generalized BI tools.  We found similar results in our workforce analytics benchmark, which found that the top two reasons businesses stated they were going to change the way they conducted analytics were to improve the quality of the business process and to improve decision-making.  Ventana Research will be releasing key findings from our human capital analytics benchmark research, which will show how the market for human capital analytics is evolving and how solutions such as workforce planning are being used today. To learn more about this, see my blog post Turning the Spotlight on Human Capital Analytics.


Stephan Millard – VP & Research Director

Topics: HCM, OrcaEyes, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Workforce Planning, Talent Managment

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