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Ensure That Your Company’s Talent Pool Never Runs Dry: Maintaining a Sustainable Workforce

by Bil Khan | SAPinsider

April 1, 2010

77% of organizations have little or no view of existing talent gaps in their business. Where does your company stand? Recognize the importance of effective talent management processes to help your company establish a sustainable workforce — and understand how a talent visualization application can help.

What does the phrase “sustainable workforce” mean to you? To some, it simply means having employees that support green practices and social accountability. But it’s more than that: A sustainable workforce focuses on driving profitability, compliance, and company reputation through sustainable, responsible business practices. This workforce must support the company’s objectives to capitalize on global trends and exploit business opportunities regarding social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

Why is a sustainable workforce so important? Because it closely links with the sustainability and profitable growth of your business. With effective talent management processes and tools, an organization can ensure that it is equipped with the right employees to drive its growth well into the future.

Achieve a Sustainable Workforce by Visualizing Your Company’s Talent

Human resources is under pressure to meet new talent needs, manage organizational transformations, and identify talent gaps. Yet, according to Bersin & Associates, 77% of organizations have little or no view of existing talent gaps in their business.1

The SAP Talent Visualization application by Nakisa supports an end-to-end talent management process. It allows SAP customers to visualize information in real time to gain valuable insight into the workforce, identify high-impact roles, model organizational transformation, optimize employee productivity, and develop a reliable talent pipeline to ensure a powerful leadership strategy for the future.

SAP Talent Visualization provides employees with access to details on themselves, their team, and the reporting hierarchy, allowing them to:

  • Make sense of vast amounts of workforce information and gain insight to confidently make tough workforce decisions
  • Gain clarity into existing organizational talent and determine what changes may be needed to support short-term and long-term strategies
  • Identify and monitor areas of compliance risk
  • Transform talent and organizational data into strategic information through a visual interface
  • Retain and engage top performers
  • Enable HR professionals to make better-informed decisions by viewing, updating, modeling, and analyzing their talent inventory
  • Improve the way employees work by giving them access to up-to-date, hierarchical information
  • Facilitate organizational planning with advanced modeling

With access to all of this information, companies can identify the roles that are most critical to the business’s success and ensure that people within the talent pool can fill and excel at these roles — this is the crux of maintaining a sustainable workforce.

2 Key Ingredients for Talent: Succession Planning and Organizational Visualization

Nothing can replace a capable and inspirational leader who can help a company move into new ventures or markets. Likewise invaluable are hardworking employees whose work ensures that the company’s core competencies are met.

But in a complex business environment, resignations, retirements, and demographic shifts add uncertainty and increase pressures to maintain a talent pool that will support innovation and respond to new challenges. Whether it involves optimizing retention, engaging top talent, or adapting your current workforce to fit new directions, succession planning is often the key to creating long-term business viability.

To support this need, SAP Talent Visualization provides real-time, in-depth capabilities that help effectively align talent goals with business strategies (see Figure 1). These capabilities will enable you to:

  • Close talent gaps in company-wide succession plans
  • Foster communication and collaboration
  • Prevent underuse of talent due to a lack of transparency into employees’ abilities
  • Gain access to the right information for a specific role to enable better, faster HR decisions
  • Automate tasks and processes
Figure 1 With SAP Talent Visualization’s succession planning capabilities, you can easily see which employees best fit your company’s talent needs

Another key part of maintaining a sustainable workforce is the ability to easily visualize your organizational hierarchy. For any biological ecosystem to remain sustainable, its inhabitants must be able to react quickly to a changing environment, innovate, and use available resources efficiently. Similarly, companies that can innovate, create efficiencies in their processes, and react quickly to evolving market needs are the ones that thrive in changing business cycles.

But as businesses merge or consolidate, a company might find its organizational structure in flux. To prevent confusion among employees as new hierarchical structures take shape and new leaders emerge, and to ensure that those new leaders are the ones who can best take charge of the company, clarity and transparency into the organizational structure are key.

SAP Talent Visualization’s human capital management (HCM) dashboard feature enables managers and HR professionals to navigate the organizational structure and evaluate potential business leaders (see Figure 2). These “HCM analytics” are made possible through the solution’s integration with SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse. This ability to visualize actionable talent information provides:

  • Clarity into HCM metrics and KPIs — including bench strength, employee potential, and diversity — via a consolidated, role-based view
  • What-if organizational model scenarios and contingency plans with dynamic metrics that demonstrate the impact of proposed workforce changes
Figure 2 The analytic capabilities of SAP Talent Visualization allow HR professionals to easily see employees’ KPI performance statistics


SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa offers capabilities to help maintain a long-term strategy for building a sustainable workforce that will drive a company’s future success. Learn more at

Bil Khan ( is a marketing leader with a record of driving profitability, expanding market share, and spurring global growth for high-tech entities by implementing pragmatic, strategic, and tactical programs and initiating effective partner and reseller relationships. He received his MBA in marketing from Pennsylvania State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas.

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