When executives at Sears, Roebuck and Co. wanted a better handle on company spending, they first looked at gaining control over the silos of employee data located in multiple systems.
Growth and changes had contributed to making the company hierarchy difficult to manage over the years. Some executives saw the reporting relationship between employees as a better way to get a handle on the bottom line.
"Even well-established companies find the process of managing employee data daunting and expensive," said Martin Sacks, CEO of HumanConcepts LLC.
Sacks' firm makes a product used by some SAP and Oracle customers to collect and manage employee data from multiple systems. As companies look for ways to manage employee data from disparate systems they are turning to firms like HumanConcepts to deliver software with an intuitive interface.
The rise of third-party Human Resources (HR) systems and the growing use of business process outsourcers has required companies to get a better handle on employee data as the experience growth, Sacks said.
"People are using our tool when they are going through transformational change," he said. "It's important to be able to model data in a very visual way."
HumanConcepts' software, called OrgPlus, gives executives secure access to graphical views of organizational structures and employee information through a Web browser for real-time workforce modeling and intelligence. Employee data can be collected, validated and integrated into existing HR systems such as SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft.
Sears employees can import employee data from any source to automatically build and publish a view of the organization's hierarchy, using HumanConcepts software. It is also integrated with Microsoft Excel, and has grouping and advanced search features for data mining, segmentation and analysis.
The Sausalito, Calif.-based vendor received certification for OrgPlus to run with mySAP ERP Human Capital Management (mySAP ERP HCM) and the company is working on NetWeaver certification, Sacks said. HumanConcepts competes with a group of other vendors in this niche space, including Irving, Texas-based Aquire Inc. and Montreal-based Nakisa Inc., each of which produce similar employee organizational software.
SAP's mySAP HCM supports payroll, benefits and other HR processes. Many SAP customers have been seeking more feature rich products and turned to third-party software such as PeopleSoft to support HR.
While SAP, Oracle and other large ERP vendors have tools to extract and manage employee data, small, best-of-breed vendors like HumanConcepts have found a niche in the ability to extract data intuitively, said Phil Fersht, vice president of global research at Business Process Outsourcing advisory firm Nelson Hall. The tools give executives a nice graphical overview of a company's hierarchy, Fersht said.
"Companies in the upper midmarket are certainly farming out their HR systems to outsourcers, but this has given them more control and more importantly it has placed more information in the hands of employees," Fersht said.