In an ever-changing world, businesses require data-driven, real-time insights from HR reporting and analytics to make informed decisions that affect their workforce. But many HR teams still rely on older technology and struggle to fulfill demands for reports that encompass an increasing volume of metrics and data. The time they spend gathering, extracting, and transforming data across a patchwork of tools and spreadsheets detracts from other urgent tasks. Despite their efforts, the resultant reports are limited in usefulness by past data and often contain inconsistencies that require additional time to resolve. 

Global specialty materials company Eastman overcame its HR reporting challenges by implementing story reports in SAP SuccessFactors solutions, making its reporting easier and more efficient. For example, a standard talent report – once a labor-intensive task that took several days of precious time – is now generated in under two hours complete with detailed graphics that are continuously updated with live data. Indeed, an SAP study found that with the analytics tools available in SAP SuccessFactors solutions, customers reported a 74% decrease in time spent on report generation, saving days and even weeks on HR reporting.  

“The ability to give our [HR] information to leaders as they need it is huge,” says Nina Nabors, manager of Talent Systems, Eastman. She summarizes the transformation in improvement over past reporting methods. “Before, it was lagging data. It was never data that was live. Having that benefit of building the story report in SAP SuccessFactors and it continuously updating with the latest information is very nice.”

Based in Tennessee, U.S., Eastman Chemical Company was founded in 1920 as a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak. It has a workforce of 14,000 employees in 15 countries. Energized in its purpose to “enhance the quality of life in a material way,” Eastman engages with customers in 100 countries to deliver innovative materials found in items people use every day, including safe, durable medical materials; premium plastics for eyewear frames and lenses; food and beverage packaging; sustainable fibers for luxury home furnishings; and energy-efficient window glass for the construction industry, among others.

Cloud HR Delivers Sustainable Value with Exceptional Employee Experience

To future-proof its workforce, Eastman set itself up for success by moving to the cloud with SAP SuccessFactors solutions. Eastman was already using an on-premise human capital management (HCM) solution from SAP, but wanted the scalability and cost-effectiveness of a cloud-based HR solution. “Delivering [HR] services in the cloud gives us an opportunity to make the technology available to our employees in a way that is more sustainable than having it housed on our servers,” says Nabors.

Prachi Sathe, director of Global HR Technology and Solutions, Eastman, underscores the value of receiving the latest innovations and new features with each biannual SAP SuccessFactors release update. “We also wanted to make sure our HR platform is sustainable in terms of how we support it, how we grow it, and how we make more functions available to our employees. Going to SAP SuccessFactors just made sense for us,” she says.

Put employee experience and engagement at the heart of your organization with SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite

Eastman uses a range of solutions in SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite – including SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and modules for recruiting, learning, compensation, variable pay, performance and goals, career development planning, and succession – to help harness the efficiency of end-to-end integration and provide an exceptional experience throughout the employee journey from hire to retire.

The SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solution, for example, is a key driver of Eastman’s talent strategy. “That’s how we bring our new talent into the organization. That’s really their first introduction to our tools,” says Nabors. “We’re bringing great talent into the organization. How we do it is very important, and SAP SuccessFactors is a part of that.”

Accelerating Efficiency with Real-Time Analytics

Eastman needed a streamlined approach to HR reporting that accelerated efficiency and optimized value by fully using the analytics and data in SAP SuccessFactors solutions. “We were using separate tools outside of SAP SuccessFactors solutions to pull our reporting together,” recalls Sathe. “The challenges with that [were figuring out] how we get data out of SAP SuccessFactors solutions and feed it into those reporting tools.”

Eastman’s customer success partner for the SAP Preferred Success plan identified SAP resources to help Eastman increase value from its use of SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics. Eastman also joined a hands-on lab session at SuccessConnect 2022 to gain experience working with story reports, a tool available in the report center of SAP SuccessFactors solutions. Story reports can deliver real-time data analytics and generate reports faster by using live data from across SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite, displaying presentation-style reports in a clear format with detailed visual graphics that communicate insights in an understandable way. As Sathe notes, “When we saw [story reports], it was so motivating for us that data is already there and tools are there. We came back and started working on our first dashboard.”

“We’re so happy Eastman joined us at SuccessConnect,” says Maryann Abbajay, chief revenue officer, SAP SuccessFactors. “Hands-on lab sessions like the one Eastman participated in are invaluable learning experiences. Eastman is a great example of how customers are applying that new knowledge to unlock value with SAP SuccessFactors. With story reports, they are already able to deliver the type of data-driven insights that transform HR into a strategic partner for the business.”    

Data-Driven Insights That Advance People Strategy

Eastman began working with a manager dashboard, one of the many time-saving templates preloaded in story reports, and later built its own version tailored to the information requirements of its organizational leaders, supervisors, and people managers. The HR team also developed custom objects to use in its story reports, including an organizational hierarchy table with extensive drilldown capabilities and a currency exchange table to help executives track international labor costs. The story reports, customized with the look and feel of Eastman’s branding, quickly gained broad acceptance with Eastman’s organizational leaders.

Explore stories in SAP SuccessFactors solutions

The HR team recently built a dashboard showing a holistic view to help leaders identify opportunities to advance the organization’s people strategy. This dashboard uses data from SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and will later be augmented with data from the recruiting and learning solutions. A talent dashboard is also forthcoming to Eastman’s HR community, which includes talent partners and leaders. Sathe notes, “By creating the stories, as its name says, we are bringing various data sources together.”

Michael Glenn, talent assessment and analytics manager, Eastman, is building a new learning dashboard that will go out to all learning administrators and supervisors to enable them to see how many people are overdue on their learnings and what learnings are coming up in the next 30 days – and how many hours are required to complete the learning sessions. This information is especially important for production teams that work on fixed schedules, as it enables managers to plan the learning hours into the employee’s schedule.

To ensure the reports provide the right level of information to each recipient based on their role, Glenn intends to use the role-based access permissions available in story reports. So far, he is impressed with the feature, which saves him time from performing manual activities and distribution list maintenance. “We’ve been testing out role-based permissions and it is just working great,” he says.

Empowering HR Administrators with User-Friendly Solutions for Improved Productivity

Nabors says that though she has no background or training in analytics, she found that she was able to get up to speed with stories very quickly. She recalls previously spending several days to build a single report that integrated data from SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting. In stories, she is now able to generate the same report in just one to two hours.

Also, troubleshooting and addressing gaps in data is much easier. “If there’s an error somewhere – for example, requisition data that shows up under the wrong person’s name – being able to see it in a story is very easy,” she says. “It’s easy to address that error quickly because you can go right to the error without having to dig through lines and lines of data, rows and columns of data.”

Better Analytics for Faster Decision-Making

Eastman plans to build on its early success with story reports to drive more insights for the organization. For example, there are plans to integrate data to track progress towards Eastman’s ambitious inclusion and diversity goals, which include increasing diverse talent and supporting employees in bringing their whole selves to work. Real-time information from SAP SuccessFactors solutions supports organizational leaders in advancing Eastman’s strategy to build a high-performing organization.

“We really believe in sustainability and sustainable outcomes,” says Sathe. “We want our employees to be self-service reporting employees and create better analytics that give them information versus data. What we were doing previously was giving them data. Story reports transformed this.”

For more information, read “A Guide to Stories in SAP SuccessFactors.”

Stay up-to-date with the SAP News Center newsletter