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Acquiring talent analytics

SAP has announced it has acquired the intellectual property of SwoopTalent, a leader in talent analytics. Talent analytics, also known as HR analytics or people analytics, helps managers make decisions about the deployment of their workforce.

SAP will embed SwoopTalent analytic and machine learning technology in all SuccessFactors solutions. The purchase price and other financial details of the asset acquisition have not been disclosed.

This asset acquisition will help SAP to develop its human experience management (HXM) goals. These include creating experiences and dynamic opportunities specific to each employee through SAP SuccessFactors. These aspirations aim to boost employee engagement, organisation agility and contribute to the digital transformation of a business.

SAP HXM Strategy

Business organisations have evolved: from officer-centred activity, to a hybrid of the office, working from home and working remotely. Consequently the analysis and organisation of the workforce is now crucial to maintain productivity, and to develop the skills of the talent pool.

SAP SuccessFactors chief product officer Meg Bear said:

Delivering individualisation at scale requires a sophisticated, powerful data platform that extends across multiple systems. By making workforce data more reliable and accessible, we can help our customers gain powerful insights about their people to effectively up-skill, re-skill and redeploy talent and future-proof their business. The founders of SwoopTalent are industry thought leaders with proven expertise using data, machine learning and analytics to elevate HR and make organisations more competitive. We are thrilled to have them join SAP to further our HXM strategy.”

Better HR Insights

According to a report by McKinsey “the majority of large organisations have people analytics teams”, and “70 percent of company executives cite people analytics as a top priority”. Although the interest in people analytics is high, the majority of teams involved in this type of analysis have yet to reach their potential. The key issue is how to derive meaningful insights that drive better HR decisions from the volume and variety of types of data.

Stacy Chapman and Satish Sallakonda started SwoopTalent in 2012. The platform collects, analyses and interprets various types of data from a network of disparate HR systems using language processing, AI, and machine learning to provide HR insights. The use of AI, ML and language processing technology has brought SwoopTalent to a position as a leader in this field.

SAP intends to augment its SuccessFactors AI capabilities with SwoopTalent technologies to provide customers with a real-time overview of their workforce. The platform will use information on employee skills, interests and learning preferences to find the best fit for internal jobs and projects. It will also improve the prospects of employee career development by matching them with courses and mentors, to increase individual skill-sets.

“Agility, Purpose and Culture”

SwoopTalent CEO Stacy Chapman said:

“Organisations are at a pivotal moment as work is being redefined around agility, purpose and culture. With HXM, SAP has the right vision and strategy to deliver technology that enables individuals to up-skill and create a career that aligns to their interests and skills. SAP and SwoopTalent are a great cultural fit and share the same values. We are excited to continue advancing HXM together.”

Other SAP SuccessFactors Developments

SAP SuccessFactors has made recent investments in native cloud applications like Time Tracking and improved configurability for Employee Central. SAP Work Zone is a new solution that helps customers navigate the demands of flexible and remote work. It allows employees one point of access for multiple tools, apps and systems.

At SapphireNow 2021 SAP also unveiled Rise with SAP for HXM. It is a new offering that helps organisations “drive the cultural change needed for ongoing digital transformation”, and move HR operations to the cloud. SAP claims the package provides on average a 90% increase in employee engagement, a 38% increase in productivity, and a 36% reduction in existing HR and IT costs.

Boosting SAP Technological Capabilities

The new acquisition for SAP of SwoopTalent technologies for SuccessFactors will help them to drive and connect this collection of applications and capabilities. Strategically it is similar to SAP’s acquisition of Signavio, the business process intelligence analysis company in the last week of January this year, because the acquisition gave SAP extra technological capabilities to integrate with SAP software solutions.

It is another example of SAP being future-orientated and ensuring they can provide for the transformative needs of their customers. The integration of SwoopTalent technologies is principally a boost to SAP’s AI and ML development which may well be employed beyond the scope of SuccessFactors in other areas of SAP solutions.

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The acquisition is also a carefully calculated reaction to a change in the working environment and culture toward a more remote workforce precipitated by Coronavirus. The need for companies to get insight into the activity and development of their workforce over time will only increase, and so this strategic acquisition is certainly a smart move for SAP.