Data Warehouse

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Download the HR Data Warehousing PDF

Why an HR Data Warehouse

One of the biggest challenges for HR in any size company is bringing multiple datasets together for accurate and meaningful metrics, analytics, and reports.

This is because:

  • HR Data is some of the most complex within a business due to its nested, historical and progressive nature. HR Data becomes even more complex when you add business dimensions from other systems like performance, outcomes or productivity - especially when there's no unique identifier.
  • HR Systems (HRIS, ATS, etc.) are transactional. These systems have databases which are built to store a system transaction in the most efficient way possible (think of simply piling old books on top of books in a storage room), and not the aggregation, effective management or retrieval of that data for reporting (now think of a beautifully catalogued library). Transactional systems cannot be built for analytics given the limitations of their technical design.

In a nutshell, transactional systems are for transacting, or writing data to a system. Data warehouses and analytics systems are designed for reading data from systems, data management, discovery and visualization. Apples and oranges. You can’t expect your HRIS or your ATS to do an adequate job of analytics and reporting - it simply wasn’t built to do that.

The reality is, when you have multiple sources of workforce data (with each source providing a disparate and singular dimension of ‘reporting), you need an HR data warehouse to bring everything together. You need this to be able to access the metrics, analytics and reports that you need.

Why are so many organizations still struggling with their people data?

One reason is because organizations spend a lot of time, energy and money on their transactional HR systems. These are big investments. And with big investments comes the hope and expectation that these systems will provide adequate analytics and reporting, as well as performing their transactional role. The reality is, these systems fall short in analytics and reporting, and, as a result, HR teams are in the weeds trying to pull analytics and reports together. This is unnecessarily time-consuming and diverts energy and attention from using the data in meaningful ways. Also, when the team is knee-deep in joining tables, vlookups, and data activities, who has time to investigate if there is a better way? It’s treading water, and more of the same, day in and day out.

Even HR groups within organizations that have a data warehouse can struggle with analytics and reporting. This is often because the data warehouse teams do not have the bandwidth to support everyone. As one customer told us “Operations tends to monopolize the data warehouse team, and as a result HR requests and priorities can fall down in the list. We needed our own data warehouse.

Warehousing of HR Data isn’t easy - but it’s essential for reporting and analytics

There are two aspects which make data warehousing of HR data, and therefore, people analytics complex and hard to get right.

1. HRIS systems store transactions much differently than what is needed for reporting

As mentioned above, transactional systems have databases which are built to store and retrieve a transaction in the most efficient way possible - not to aggregate data for reporting. If someone was adding a bunch of transactions to an HRIS (e.g., bringing on summer hires), the technical result will be the addition of numerous rows to the database - something that an HRIS is set up to do.

On the other hand, a data warehouse in a people analytics solution stores data much differently than any transactional system. It stores data centered around the employee, position or requisition, versus storing the data around a system transaction like a hire, promotion or pay raise.

The logic needed to translate a single dimension transaction into a people-based record (that identifies key characteristics about an employee and his/her position) is complex and requires expertise.

2. You must also construct this people-based record by bringing together different data from different sources within the context of point-in-time

As discussed in point 1, because data warehouses store differently than a transactional system, when we bring data together in an HR data warehouse, the technical activity shouldn’t be viewed as "adding transactions" as much as it is “adding more context” to an employee, position or requisition.

Time is one of these contextual dimensions - and creates a number of challenges when designing, building and optimizing the performance of an HR data warehouse.

So when bringing in other data sources into a data warehouse for HR reporting and people analytics, we are transforming them to fit within the context of the data that is already there - which is this people-centered view.

Let’s take performance data, for example, which is often from another system or possibly even a spreadsheet. For this data, we are not just taking a file and inserting records (as your transactional systems are designed to do). We are assessing the time period for which this rating is valid (starting with an Effective Date) and adding in that characteristic, within that specific time period, to an existing employee.

This means that there’s lots of under-the-surface activity that must occur so that when you go back in time to analyze the impact that accelerated pay increases have on performance and productivity, your data is structured in a way which will make that analysis easy and speed-of-thought.

Unify, Cleanse & Audit

A data warehouse is essential because it brings all your people data together in one place AND in a way that makes pulling analytics to answer business questions not only possible, but easy and fast. The processing and transformation of HR files to the data warehouse is no joke. This is where the heavy lifting occurs. The bringing together of multiple sources of data requires precise attention and expertise in data, logic, and rules creation.

Another thing a data warehouse approach simplifies is the data process. Through data warehouse activities, continuous auditing, testing and validation of the data can be configured. This ensures that inaccuracies and inconsistencies when connecting data from different HR systems are identified and fixed and that the data you are relying on is accurate. 

With an HR Data Warehouse, your data is processed, tested and validated to ensure your unified data warehouse is accurate.

Thinking of a DIY solution for your data warehouse - read this first

No time to read the full document? No problem here are 5 reasons our customers choose to partner with us for their data warehouse and analytics solution versus building in-house:

  1. Customers feed their raw, native format to PeopleInsight. PeopleInsight is continuously updated with data feeds from transactional HR systems and there’s never a need for an Administrator on your side.
  2. PeopleInsight does the heavy lifting in connecting, processing and continually auditing your data for inaccuracies or inconsistencies. You can have peace of mind that your data is accurate. One less thing to worry about.
  3. Building dashboards and reports in-house is time consuming and complex. Often the reports don’t meet the specific business needs.
  4. PeopleInsight processes, discovers and visualizes data faster than in-house solutions. You get to spend your time analyzing data rather than preparing it.
  5. We are deep experts in HR data. Our Founders first started working with HR data in early ERP systems in the mid nineties. This is all we do and our core capability at PeopleInsight.

PeopleInsight makes it easy

PeopleInsight makes HR reporting simple. Feed us your raw data from your disparate HR systems and within 5 days, you’ll have the analytics and dashboards you need to make data-driven decisions. The best part of it is that PeopleInsight is continuously updated with data feeds from your transactional HR systems and there’s never a need for an Administrator on your side.


Send us your raw data

  • Start by sending us your raw, native format HR data from your current and historical HR systems and we’ll connect them together to build dashboards that fit your needs.
  • No need to transform your data into a special, vendor-defined format, simply just upload your raw data and we’ll do the heavy lifting.

We connect your data together & customize automated data feeds based on your exact needs

  • Our platform fixes any inaccuracies and inconsistencies when connecting data from different HR systems. Your data is processed, tested, and validated to ensure your unified data warehouse is accurate.

We get you up and running within 5 days

  • Within 5 days, you are presented with the initial suite of analytics and dashboards that you’ve subscribed to. We are built around rapid, predictable and high quality deployment cycles. From this point, we iterate with you for a few more weeks until you have exactly what you need and have trust and confidence that your reporting is accurate.

You have access to your own team of HR data and people analytics experts

  • With PeopleInsight, you’ll have access to our team of experts running and operating the PeopleInsight platform. We are able to create custom reports specific to your organization and become your extended people analytics team - ready to deploy new data feeds, build new dashboards, or handle urgent ad-hoc queries.

In PeopleInsight, you deploy a SOC2 & GDPR compliant secure platform

  • Securely managing who has access to your confidential employee and salary data is always a major conundrum. How can you have an in-house solution supported by internal IT and not expose critical and confidential data to those internal administrators? How do you ensure row-level, role-specific data authorizations across your users? How do you best protect yourself against a data-breach? The answer that many have turned to is to work with a highly accredited, trusted 3rd party people analytics platform whose business was built with Privacy-by-Design at its very core.
  • The best proof-point of this is that PeopleInsight customers include some of the most prominent big data companies, consumer and healthcare analytics platforms and bona-fide market creators in the security and authentication space.

You get flexible, powerful and customizable reporting

  • Every metric and dashboard is customized to you and your company so that you’ll get the metrics and dashboards that matter to you. We’ll take on the analytics and reporting so that you and your HR team can focus on building strategy and creating action with your workforce data.
  • Whether you need day-to-day reporting or have a major change, we work with you to get these analytics ready for you. The sky’s the limit with your analytics and we work with you to get the analytics that fit for your company.

Flip your focus from preparing data and dashboards to using your data

  • PeopleInsight processes, discovers and visualizes data faster than in-house solutions saving your company time and resources so you can focus on analyzing the data and creating action rather than spending time on building dashboards.

  • See below for some of our UKG customer testimonials 

See PeopleInsight in Action with our Interactive Free Trial

Check out our free 7 day trial of our HR analytics platform. Qualified businesses can sign up for the PeopleInsight Trial Account and experience the people analytics platform built to integrate all your disparate HR and talent data.

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