Dear High Tech:
Real-time data access of the type you are suggesting isn't available yet. Several vendors do offer data warehousing and related analytics software that come pretty close--the data will be up-to-date as of the last refresh, which can be just about as frequent as your infrastructure and policies will permit.
This software can be pretty expensive, but affordable is a relative term. Sorry for the wimpy answer, but it depends on a host of variables that control the pricing in the first place, not to mention how much money your company has allotted for this. Even if the price is right, implementations can be lengthy and difficult because of the vast scope of data you are going to want to pull from probably diverse systems.
With that caveat, it's probably worth both the money and effort. The reason: these analytics programs save time and effort needed to produce information that will identify trends before they become problems (e.g., how many of your senior engineers are likely to retire within the next two years). Several of these packages (PeopleSoft's included) have components specifically aimed at workforce planning, which is becoming more and more important and should happen more than once a year--whether an organization is looking to merge, acquire, diversify or downsize.
Most analytics packages are extremely flexible in how information is presented, to whom it is presented, the degree of detail vs. summary information, etc.--assuming you set it up that way in the first place, of course.
Will it freak out your information technology staff? Hmmm… in my opinion, IT can see this as either really exciting or really threatening. It could require a lot of work and they may need to learn some new skill sets.
SOURCE:Marcia Barkley, MBarkley Consulting, June 17, 2003.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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