Workforce has been out for a while now, but based on the number of implementations I’ve done (more than anything except financials) I’d say that it was still a perennial seller. What company doesn’t want to keep a close watch on their biggest expenditure?
Oracle promotes Workforce as an Out of box solution. I’ve definitely done many of them this way. It has the benefit of being fast and clean. The one thing it’s not is personalized.
Customization is not a problem for many companies. They can adjust their forecasting methodology to the out of box solution and with minimal customization it will satisfy all of their needs.
Many customers, especially larger ones, want highly customized models. When it comes to these, I like to start from the ground up. By this I mean that I start as if it was a non-workforce database and build all of the dimensions, forms and calcs myself (these come out of the box in the prebuild solution). This approach is usually faster than starting with the pre-built Workforce and doing extensive customization. This works particularly well for companies with different components; subsidiaries that run independently or foreign countries. Out of the box is looking for standardization, but this method allows each part of the organization to focus on what’s important to them (varying taxes and benefits, etc) yet still roll up into one workforce.
When you get to extremely large companies, Workforce gets interesting. I’ll compare two installations that I did at similarly sized companies. Both had about 30,000 employees. Company A insisted on naming every individual that worked for them. As you might imagine for a company this size, they had a lot of branches and constantly overturning personnel. The system worked fine, but updating it was a burden. Maintenance outweighed many of the benefits.
Company B used a position based system. Salaried employees were named and hourly were only in as position. So each branch would have one of two salaried employees and x number of hourly based off of sales. That way, the regional managers could forecast hiring. If an hourly employee left, you knew that they would need to be replaced.
Which brings us to one of the greatest benefits of workforce; approvals. In the situation above, it became much more straightforward for Company B to work with HR to add replacement personnel. For them, as well as smaller companies, approval of new employees is an important part of the process. For this reason I always include a comment field that must be filled in alongside any new employee requests. At the end of the budget process it can be printed out on a new employee report, alongside the details. The time savings is enormous from having to explain (often multiple times) why someone needs a new hire. Approval of new hires is streamlined, and a list can be provided to HR. This way, when HR receives a new hire request during the year they can save time and effort by checking the list they were provided at the end of the Workforce Planning process.
Speaking of Human Resources, their involvement and benefit in this process is often overlooked. The raw data is usually gathered from their systems, and they will benefit from the output as well. Finance might be overseeing the process, but HR is carrying it out day to day.
Brass Tacks is highly experienced at Workforce in many customized situations. From quick out of the box to the most customized of processes. What’s been mentioned here is only a few examples of what we’ve done. Please reach out to us for more information about your own implementation.