Until recently, data warehouse and business intelligence deployments have primarily focused on financial and other readily quantifiable subject areas. The emphasis of analysis based on these deployments has been on evaluating the performance of the physical assets and investments of a corporation. Metric-driven questions such as "Which plant has the lowest overhead?" or "Which sales territory is generating the highest revenue?" are easily answered once the main challenges of integrating often disparate data and modeling that data in an efficient form are overcome. However, in today's increasingly service-driven economy, attention is gradually shifting toward assessing and managing the performance of less tangible assets, namely the investment in human capital. Human capital is currently one of the least measured and analyzed investments, which is ironic because the Brookings Institute found that more than 70 percent of a company's costs are labor related. Very few CEOs can state the ROI of their personnel or how their people are affecting - both positively and negatively - business results. However, the human capital investment is essentially the "weak link" in the chain of corporate investments: returns on all other investments are driven by the quality and strength of the investment in human capital. For that reason, employing analytics in human capital management is as critical to achieving continued growth and success as monitoring the financial statements.

Traditionally, the workforce has been thought of in terms of the physical sum of people employed. However, the human capital investment is defined as the total amount and quality of talent, knowledge, expertise, experience and training that these workers possess. As executives and investors begin to view the workforce in these terms instead of as a general cost of business, they are beginning to realize the opportunities that exist for capitalizing on this asset. Resultantly, demand to determine the current value of human capital and achieve workforce optimization is increasing. The drive toward human capital management is exemplified by:

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