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Turning Data into Smart Decisions
Why Business Intelligence is Imperative for Human Resources
Sponsored by: Microsoft Corporation

The Business Forum recently organized a
Business Forum Luncheon discussion with
Microsoft Corporation at the Saint Francis
Hotel, in San Francisco, California.


Those responding to our invitation included:

Director, Human Resources - APL Limited * Director of HRIS � APL Limited * Director of Human Resources - The Asia Foundation * Human Resources Director - California Rural Legal Assistance Inc.  Compensation & Benefits Analyst - Del Monte Foods Corporation * Director, Human Resources & Administration - Fujitsu Software Corporation * Human Resource Manager � Gensler Associates Director of Human Resources - Anshen + Allen, Architects * Human Resources Assistant - Anshen + Allen, Architects * Human Resources Director - Gensler Associates * Human Resources Manager MBH Architects  - Associate Executive Director Human Resources - YMCA of San Francisco * Vice President, Human Resources - HOK Architects * Human Resources Manager - Bay Area Legal Aid

For the benefit of those of our members and supporters who could not
attend the meeting we present the following white paper, with contacts


Contributed by Microsoft Corporation

A Case Study Published in June 2002  

HRWeb is an integrated suite of three portal products that provide human resources (HR) information to Microsoft employees. These secure, audience‑based portals provide one-click access to pertinent HR information, transactional tools, and personalized employee data in a single, integrated user interface. HRWeb increases employee productivity and maximizes the effectiveness of the HR organization.


In the past decade, Microsoft has grown from approximately 10,000 employees to over 50,000, making efficient HR service delivery a bigger and more important challenge. Microsoft Corporation views its employees as its greatest asset. The company has always prided itself on hiring smart, highly productive people who are focused on developing innovative products, programs, and services. To ensure ongoing employee satisfaction and enthusiasm, Microsoft provides an impressive benefits package, including such perks as stock option grants, an employee discount stock-purchasing program, comprehensive healthcare, and an employer matching 401(k) retirement-savings program. Providing employees with real-time access to both policy and personal data for each of these programs is a mission critical service.  


To address this challenge, Microsoft looked to its own software and technology to develop a set of cutting edge self-service transactional tools. Manual processes like benefits enrollment, payroll, and performance evaluations were automated, reducing time required to administer HR programs. In 1995 version one of HRWeb was created as a loose framework for individual HR services, tools, and Web sites.  In 2000, survey and focus group research was conducted with employees to evaluate the employee experience. The results revealed high satisfaction with automated HR service delivery, but employees were spending too much time searching for HR information and data across various Web sites and tools. As a result, HRWeb was redesigned into a unified portal providing a central location for HR information. To complete the portal suite, employee personalized data pages and Life Events Wizards were developed, in addition to portals for managers and HR professionals  

In keeping with the HRWeb philosophy of providing an environment that allows employees to �get in, get out, and get back to work�, five personalized data pages were created with the most frequently requested information: My Benefits, My Finances, My Performance, My Personal Information, and My Time Off.

  • My Benefits summarizes the employee�s health benefits elections such as physician, life insurance coverage, and beneficiaries, with links to the detailed plans.

  • My Finances provides a quick snapshot of an employee�s bonuses, merit increases, stock options, and links to other financial benefits.   

  • My Performance displays employee level, review score, life time average review score, merit increase information, and review bonus.

  • My Personal Information displays employee name, address, emergency contact information, and links to make changes. 

  • My Time Off displays vacation hours, sick hours, overtime hours reported, balances for the current year, and hours at risk to expire. 

Data pages are the most popular feature on HRWeb. For example, the My Finances data page receives an average of 16,000 visits per month. Life Events Wizards were developed to guide employees step-by-step through complex processes such as having or adopting a baby, getting married, or joining the company. These types of life changes usually have an impact to benefit plans, time away from work, or the employee�s personal information. Wizards are specific to each employee and can be saved or modified as the employee completes or skips each step. The New Employee Wizard guides employees through orientation tasks. It receives approximately 1,200 visits per month. Today, when managers access HRWeb, they are presented with an additional tab that opens the Manager Portal. HRWeb�s security only displays the tab when the user is recognized as a manager. The personalized data pages that present employee data for the manager�s team only include My Employee Time Reporting, My Employees� Performance, My Poll Results, and My Open Headcount. An example of the benefits of the Manager Portal is the My Poll Results data page. Each year Microsoft conducts an anonymous employee survey to gauge employee satisfaction and overall organizational health. Prior to the development of Manager Portal, poll results were disseminated to managers manually via individual e-mails or paper reports. Because of the labor involved and the sensitivity of the information, it was difficult to reach many managers. The introduction of the My Poll Results page allows managers to view survey data immediately and securely, after poll results are compiled. Results are displayed for the entire organization, including company and peer comparison data. Benefits  

The success of HRWeb can be measured in two ways�user satisfaction and employee productivity gains. An independent survey of Microsoft employees in 2001 found that 92 percent go to HRWeb first for HR information, and 78 percent use the Microsoft intranet more than any other resource for HR information. Each month, HRWeb reaches nearly 100 percent of employees worldwide, has between 200,000 and 500,000 visits, and handles peaks of over 2 million pages viewed. Employees are able to find what they need and get back to work easily. The average visit to HRWeb lasts only 5 minutes. If, on average, HRWeb saves every Microsoft employee just one hour per year in face-to-face meetings or searching for information, Microsoft saves up to 3 million dollars in productivity. In addition, this type of efficient and cost effective service delivery allows HR professionals to focus on more strategic, client-centered activities. 


Michelle C. Wing

[email protected]

For more information about Microsoft products or services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada information Centre at (800) 563-9048. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information via the World Wide Web, go to:

� 2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only.  MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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