Workforce Visibility

What Is an Intelligent Workforce Platform?

The Intelligent Workforce Platform has arrived, which is good news because we need it.

An Intelligent Workforce Platform is a single integration point and gateway to all complementary technologies that captures data in relation to the entire workforce – internal, external, past, present and potential. The Platform’s purpose is to apply AI and machine learning to provide insight on the best way to get work done.

The range of inputs that comprise a Universal Workforce Model™ strategy span all facets of a business. These inputs come from the many sources of workforce information that are commonly known by their acronyms. These include all human capital management (HCM) technologies, HR information systems (HRIS), applicant tracking systems (ATS), vendor management systems (VMS), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and associated applications, and information in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, to name a few.

The work itself – and its component tasks, priorities, timelines, dependencies and costs – all play into the mix. Likewise, any workforce decisions that determine what resources will execute on the needed tasks must account for the capability, availability and costs of all resource options.

These options encompass current employees, prospective new employees, contingent workers, contractors or services providers. Add the potential for automation, and the resulting complexity demands a daunting amount of knowledge to inform resourcing decisions.

Today, the ability to make informed decisions is now available. This ability comes through a robust knowledge Platform that has the power to enable data-driven strategies as the Workforce Business Partner guides how work gets done. A technology infrastructure informs sourcing strategy, right-sourcing, accurate classification, and supplier and rate advice. The technology does this by capturing and aggregating comparable data for the entire external and internal workforce, and all talent intelligence and analytics into a single system. This technology is the Intelligent Workforce Platform, the third major component of the Universal Workforce Model.

Stop Adding Complexity and Start Simplifying Integration

One primary differentiator for the Platform is that, rather than being designed to encompass all data needs on its own (an impossible task), it is focused on easily integrating the systems and channels where that data currently exists. The system easily integrates procurement and recruiting systems and their sources of information, including the previously mentioned HCM, ERP and VMS data.

The resulting universal view across all systems allows the Workforce Business Partner to search and analyze data from permanent employees and contingent workers in a single effort. This information is the foundation for developing strategies that align talent outcomes with business goals and bottom-line results. In essence, the system enhances and maximizes the value of existing systems. Once engaged, all workers are tracked in the relevant system of record for enterprise-wide visibility.

Key Priority: Minimizing Connection Points

When it comes to integration, a one-to-many approach is recommended. The Intelligent Workforce Platform, such as AGS’ Acumen® Workforce Intelligence Platform, should be the conduit to all channels and sources of data. At the same time, it should achieve this connection to those sources through a minimum of integration points with the organization’s internal systems.

As shown in the diagram below, the Platform minimizes the number of integrations inside the firewall and maximizes access to best-of-breed point solutions outside the firewall. This strategy enhances agility, flexibility and scalability – all vital success criteria in the new world of work.

The Intelligent Workforce Platform replaces multiple points of integration across the firewall to bring together all resources and options for accomplishing business outcomes. 

The Platform Advantage: Comparing Apples with Pears

The real value of the Intelligent Workforce Platform comes to light when it enables the user (the Workforce Business Partner) to compare all forms of talent and all methods of getting work done in one place. Even as information is presented in different forms in different places, the AI functionality understands the information in the context of the work and the resource decisions to be made.

The Platform is the difference-maker for the Workforce Business Partner, as it provides the data and the analysis capability to compare apples with pears. For example, consider an organization facing an IT project. That project may be part of a digital transformation that seems to be on the agenda of nearly every company around the world today. The complex decision process grows simpler with a mature Intelligent Workforce Platform. First, the Workforce Business Partner describes the scope of work, and then the “machine” provides recommendations for getting that work done in the most efficient and effective way.

The output is a product of current machine learning technology. The machine recognizes the elements of the project. Based on successful outcomes of similar projects it has “seen” across a portfolio of organizations, the system arrives at recommendations about different parts of the work. The plan will flow around the detailed tasks involved. One element may be outsourced; another may be automated. Contractors might be recommended to do another part of the work, and employees may own yet another section of the work close to the organization’s intellectual property.

Just 10 years ago, this concept may have seemed far-fetched. However, the barrier between today’s systems and this fully intelligent functionality is no longer held back by the technology. The machine learning capability is here. The remaining gap is in the training of the machine (i.e., giving the Platform the results from work initiatives to inform how it responds to new requests).

Now's the Time: The Pace of Change Is Accelerating

The world is on a journey to fully automate the work and resourcing decision process. However, human expertise and guidance will remain an essential part of the Model even as automation capabilities grow. That means the Workforce Business Partner will be providing advice based on data that sits inside the Intelligent Workforce Platform.

Analysis and resulting intelligence can take on many forms. For example, it may include comparing the total cost of ownership of various worker types, the financial risk value of giving the work to a service provider or deciding whether to pay services providers based on outcomes versus bringing in contractors on a daily rate. Also, consider the impact of increasing or decreasing an hourly rate or sending work to a worker in a lower-cost location (i.e., nearshore versus offshore).

These options are in reach when the organization understands the internal and external data needed to make the right decisions and finds a way to bring that data into a single, structured environment. That is why having an Intelligent Workforce Platform is critical to achieving the Universal Workforce Model.

Explore the Universal Workforce Model

**Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from “The Universal Workforce Model: An Outcome First Guide to Getting Work Done.”  

As co-authors of “The Universal Workforce Model: An Outcome First Guide to Getting Work Done,” Simon Bradberry and Bruce Morton are thought leaders in the workforce industry. Simon Bradberry, Vice President, EMEA Region, Allegis Global Solutions, is a workforce transformation professional with more than 25 years of experience in workforce strategy and execution. Bruce Morton, Global Head of Strategy, Allegis Global Solutions, has more than 40 years of experience in the human capital industry and is well known as a global workforce design and talent acquisition expert.