Combine X-Data & O-Data Today with SAP SuccessFactors & Qualtrics EX

Combine X-Data & O-Data Today with SAP SuccessFactors & Qualtrics EX

This article was originally posted on Sven Ringling’s LinkedIn Page.  Click here to access the original post. 


Ever since Qualtrics joined the SAP Universe we hear that combining “X-Data” (Experience Data) and “O-Data” (Operational Data) is the way forward. From an HR point of view, X-Data would be Employee Experience data (or Candidate Experience data) from Qualtrics EX and O-Data would come from SAP SuccessFactors or SAP HCM.

Great framework: understand the options when combining Employee Experience data with Operational HR data

Navigating all the mostly generic, marketing level communication recently hasn’t been easy, so I want to point you towards a really useful and brief article by Bruce Temkin. He identifies 6 categories of insights you can get from combining X-Data and O-Data including examples for HR. Most of the recent marketing communication is focusing on only one, if any, of them: using X-Data to answer the “Why” behind O-Data. I don’t want to re-iterate a summary that can’t really be improved on, so have a look at “Six Categories Of X&O Data Insights” by Bruce Temkin yourself! I found it a very useful framework to think about X-Data and O-Data and to get ideas how to create valuable insights for HR.

What I want to add are examples for some categories every SuccessFactors customer can use with Qualtrics quite easily today (and it works similar with SAP HCM just using different interface techniques). There is no doubt: the big vision is to have all SuccessFactors HR data and Qualtrics Employee Experience data available in one powerful Analytics tool with predictive capabilities. But realistically, it’ll take a bit of time until most SuccessFactors customers are ready with SAP Analytics Cloud and, to be fair, most organisations also need to reach the required level of maturity to collect, manage, analyse and, most importantly, act on a comprehensive set of O-Data and X-Data.

No need to wait for SAP Analytics Cloud to benefit from combining SAP SuccessFactors with Qualtrics

In comes the power of “Now!”.

There is nothing worse than doing nothing at all, because you think you are not ready to do something 100% comprehensive and perfect. This is the recipe for falling behind. What organisations really need to do is getting started: develop the capabilities, whilst already gaining some valuable and actionable insights. And I’m not talking about comparing print-outs from Qualtrics and SuccessFactors in a tedious, manual exercise, but using a pragmatic approach to analyse X-Data and O-Data in one easy-to-use Analytics tool: Analysis and Dashboards inside Qualtrics. Rather than waiting for the big goal to have SAP Analytics Cloud implemented and integrated with SuccessFactors as well as Qualtrics, start with the moving some O-data into Qualtrics to leverage the built-in tools. Within 12 weeks from today (if you don’t have Qualtrics yet), you can apply statistical analysis and dashboards to find and visualise relevant insights. Sure, the “X&O Predict” and “X&O Alert” categories from Bruce’s framework require a more comprehensive data integration, but there are low hanging fruit particularly in the “X Why” and “O Drivers” categories.

Pragmatic examples: explain issues in Inclusion and Quality of Line Management

Well, the employee data and hierarchy data for your employee engagement survey is coming from SuccessFactors anyway. In the most pragmatic approach this would just be an export from a report uploaded manually into Qualtrics – not very elegant, but tolerable for a survey to be taken once or four times a year. But even without standard integration packages, automated solutions utilising SuccessFactors integration center and automated sftp loads or APIs are available and no rocket science, if you understand the data on both sides well. All you need to do is add some more O-Data fields to the interface to be used as meta-data in Qualtrics. Just 2 examples:

1) From the “X-Why” category (explaining observations in your SuccessFactors data with Employee Experience data): Your diversity reporting in SuccessFactors shows that you are even below industry average in a variety of inclusion related KPIs including attraction, retention and promotion of minorities. So, you can add data fields like gender, ethnic origin, and age to your participant data through the interface. The post survey analysis in Qualtrics can easily unearth insights like:

“non-white employees not identifying as male are 3 times more likely than average to disagree with the following statements:

  • I feel a sense of belonging with the company.
  • I am likely to recommend the company as a great place to work to friends or family.
  • My line manager supports my professional development”

2) From the “O-Drivers” category (finding causes for observations in your Qualtrics Employee Experience data in your SuccessFactors data): your engagement survey shows a lack of satisfaction in various categories related to direct line managers. The easy approach would be to identify the departments this is happening in and work with the respective line managers to improve. However, if you add richer participant data, you may see the big picture and factors beyond the individual supervisors. Span of control, would be the first figure that comes to my mind to run regressions against. But including diversity data would also be an obvious choice here: it could unveil the problem that the prevailing management style in your organisation doesn’t work well for a certain age group or gender.

Just two examples how to get real inside Bruce Temkin’s framework (if you haven’t read the article yet, you should do so now) using what SuccessFactors and Qualtrics can do today. Sure, it requires a choice of which O-data elements to aim at and it not the same like having all HR and EX data in one clever analytics tool that does all the work for you, but it’s an easy enough first step and that, as we all know, is what every journey starts with. So, without any tedious manual work, you can have answers to questions like those above or a hundred others before your CEO is back from summer holiday end of August*. Faster, if you have Qualtrics in place already.

To learn more or run a planning workshop, just get in touch:

*before someone points it out: yes, summer holiday season is not the best time to run employee engagement surveys in most organisations, so you may want to add a few weeks

Related posts

Adessa Group is a pan-European technology & services consultancy covering HR, Payroll, Workforce Management & Experience Management processes. The company was founded in 2005 and as of 2020, part of the SD Worx Group. Adessa strives to improve our customers’ business performance and enable their employees to achieve their personal life and work ambitions through smarter technologies.   You can follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.