In 1928, German engineer Fritz Pfleumer invented a method of storing information magnetically on tape. At the time it was used to record music, but today the collection of data can be used to help entire governments adapt to future challenges.

As the world continues to get to grips with the Covid-19 pandemic, work is increasingly going remote and automation is becoming more common. Organisations will have to rethink workplaces to cope with these challenges.

Sandeep Sharma, President of Workday Asia, shares insights on how organisations can stay one step ahead of changing circumstances with data analytics.

Workplace planning

An organisation must be confident that it has the right people, with the correct skillset, working on the right project. This is the ultimate goal of workplace planning.

Analytics has been helpful across organisations academia to healthcare. For instance, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) used Workday to streamline HR.

“Adaptive planning has allowed Heads of Department to be forward-looking in headcount planning to support their business strategy. Workday has enabled a single source of truth, allowing HR to work with finance on optimizing the effectiveness of NTU’s manpower cost,” says Chief Human Resource Officer Esther Quek.

HR administration firm Alight was able to transition their organisation to a 100 per cent remote working with the help of Workday’s data analytics tools. It reduced the time taken to create invoices by 67 per cent and decreased the time spent gathering billing data by 60 per cent according to Workday’s website.

“It is an amazing experience to have everything at your fingertips. You can double click down to any level you want to see,” said Christine Williams, the firm’s Finance Director.

These data systems have also been implemented in the healthcare industry. ChristianaCare switched to a monthly forecast for its annual budget in just four days, their Director of Financial Planning and Operational Analysis said.

This helped the nonprofit healthcare provider respond better to the Covid-19 pandemic’s challenges. The finance team also used Workday to model three potential scenarios so it could allocate resources better.

Workday has allowed a global financial services and communications company to form a real-time plan to manage its workforce over the next three years, Sharma shares. This would help it to manage any disruptions.

Using data to avoid disruption

A recent McKinsey study shows that the changing world has a dramatic effect on the workplace: one in 16 workers across modern economies are likely to change occupation by 2030.

This could bring “an intensifying war for talent”, Sharma believes. By harnessing data analytics regarding the workplace, ‘adaptive planning’ creates what-if scenarios in real-time that allow for organisations to visualise the impact of future disruptions.

By using historical data, plausible future situations are assessed in terms of their “realistic impact for every part of the organisation”. These analytics include an organisation’s head-count, compensation, skills, talent, and recruitment.

Large reporting structures within the public sector can also present an issue, Sharma says. It can be a “game changer” in these workplaces to share data more efficiently, which will then ensure better communication, he adds.

How Workday is making a difference

Enterprise Planning is a service that Workday offers to best safeguard users during uncertain times. “With the rapid rate of technological and societal change taking place, any organisational plans that are set out must be able to keep pace”, Sharma notes.

Workday’s data management tools are most used in the finance department, but these can be expanded to all areas of an organisation. Each team would have their own model to streamline operations and increase efficiency, ultimately leading to better teamwork across the organisation.

Workplaces have become nearly unrecognisable in the past year. As organisations race to pivot, analytics will help to offer a glimpse into future scenarios and protect against disruptions.