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Top Takeaways from Outsmart 2024 'A New Age of Business Impact for HR'

At the annual customer conference, Outsmart 2024, Visier launched a generative AI solution and opened the platform for builders. Read the top takeaways here.

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Visier introduces generative AI solution, opens platform for builders at Outsmart 2024

Over 400 attendees, including Visier customers from five continents, gathered at the Outsmart conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 29-May 1 to celebrate innovation in people analytics. There, Visier introduced its category-leading generative AI solution, Vee, and opened its platform for builders.

Held annually, Outsmart brings together the HR innovators, people leaders, and disruptors at the forefront of the people data economy. This year’s theme “The New Age of People Impact” signaled the shift people leaders must navigate as they’re increasingly called on to drive productivity, performance, and business results in changing economic and talent markets. Over the two-day conference, against the dramatic backdrop of Camelback Mountain, attendees reflected on how the past four years of global crises have asked more of HR while simultaneously preparing them to rise to heightened expectations now placed upon the function.

“Our customers have elevated people analytics from science projects to competitive advantage. They are turning it into the operating system of every company that wants to understand and improve the impact people have on the business,” said Paul Rubenstein, chief customer officer, Visier, and emcee of the event. “It’s hard to imagine there was a time when data-driven people insights were a nice-to-have. Any company without a robust people analytics strategy is now seen as woefully behind and unprepared for what’s to come.”

Outsmart sessions centered around three themes:

1. New expectations of HR

With HR executive salaries now on par with the rest of their peers, CHROs are expected to deliver data specific to workforce impact and talent outcomes in the same way CFOs deliver data on business impact and financial outcomes. People analytics teams have become the key enablers of this shift, playing an instrumental role in modernizing HR to become a data-backed catalyst for people impact on business. Rising business challenges that depend on people data include talent and skills shortages, pressure to improve productivity, profitability, and competitiveness, and the need to uplevel manager effectiveness in a time of constant change. 

Have 15 minutes? Participate in the Excellence in People Analytics Study from Josh Bersin.

2. People data innovation

People represent one of the largest operating costs and an even bigger opportunity to drive innovation, change, and growth at scale. That’s why there's a growing appetite to innovate with people data to drive profitable outcomes. “It will take curiosity and courage to solve interesting problems that press beyond HR as we’ve known it,” said Rubenstein. “We see within our customers a vibrant builder’s mindset of experimentation and innovation that will help close the persistent ‘people impact gap’ that still stands between HR and the business.”

The types of challenges facing these organizations are as unique and varied as the companies themselves and the industries they serve, which is why people analytics has become fertile ground for the innovation of an entire community. At Outsmart, Visier announced “Open for Builders,” a companywide strategic investment in analytic platform capabilities, community, and educational resources designed to help technical and product innovators unleash the power of people data to solve their most pressing business challenges. 

3. Democratizing people insights

Visier’s aim is to put the right people insights in the right hands at the right time. This is why generative AI has become a major investment theme for the company with the recent public rollout of Vee, Visier’s generative AI-based digital assistant, which is already deployed at scale to over two million users.

"Vee is one of the most spectacular examples of generative AI in HR today,” said Josh Bersin. “Every problem we need to solve in HR is interconnected. HR professionals need to connect data to diagnose people and business problems, and tools like Vee make this amazingly easy.”

Several Outsmart sessions explored the role AI will play in accelerating the democratization of people insights. Additionally, Visier recognized 80 customers who participated in the Vee Early Access Program (EAP), which catalyzed one of the fastest commercializations of generative AI in technology today.  

Mainstage keynotes signal what’s to come for HR leaders

In an opening fireside discussion with Paul Rubenstein, co-founder and CEO Ryan Wong expressed gratitude to Visier’s customers and partners who helped bring Visier from an early category pioneer over a decade ago to a market share leader with 50,000 customers today.

Wong outlined Visier’s top three priorities for this year:

  1. Unlocking even more value from Visier for customers

  2. Opening the platform to builders

  3. Innovating with AI

He also underscored Visier’s commitment to responsible AI innovation anchored in the belief that it will progress HR teams from providing insights to achieving deeper levels of wisdom.  

What's now, what's new, what's next in product

Visier’s head of product, Keith Bigelow, showcased current and planned product capabilities, following three key themes: 1) best practices for people analytics adoption; 2) innovating on the Visier platform; 3) transforming HR with AI. He introduced Visier People Extend, free eLearning for Visier customers, and other investments associated with the company’s Open for Builders initiative; as well as “what’s now, what’s new, and what’s next” for Vee, Visier’s generative AI-based digital assistant which is now generally available to customers and prospects. 

Keynotes from special guests

Dean Carter. Outsmart’s opening keynote speaker Dean Carter spoke passionately and personally on his journey with people analytics over his 25-year career as a high-profile HR executive. He signaled the role of people analytics professionals as the catalysts for change, inspiring attendees to stay constantly curious, be courageous, and challenge assumptions.

Erin Meyer. In an engaging and highly interactive session, Erin Meyer, co-author of No Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, which she co-wrote with Netflix Founder Reed Hastings, shared the cultural principles contributing to Netflix growth and success through the lens of a set of dilemmas that reveal how culture drives leadership and behavior.

Recognizing Visier customer achievements 

Vizzie Award winners stand alongside Visier executives, from left: Ian Cook (Visier), Gary Russo (Providence), Jillian Feldman (Prudential), Casey Fisher (Micron), Ian McVey (Visier), Steve Rudolf (Baptist Health), Werner Merbold (Standard Bank Group), Paul Rubenstein (Visier)

Visier recognized customers for their innovation and efforts in raising the standard for the practice of people analytics within their organizations and for the industry at large. This included:

Vizzie Award winners

The Vizzie Awards, an annual Outsmart tradition, were presented to Visier customers for  excellence in six categories: Deeper Insights, “Perfect Pair” Collaborations (between people analytics leaders and CHROs), People Analytics Champion, Innovation and Democratizing Data.

Read more about the 2024 Vizzie Award winners here.

People Analytics Design Competition 

“In people analytics, content is king,” said Rubenstein. “This is a battle for attention, and that means putting actionable insights in the right hands at the right time.” The People aAnalytics Design Competition is a judged contest that showcases best practices in people analytics content design, evaluating submissions based on five factors: usage, diversity of personas consuming people data, visual appeal, actionability, and business impact.

The winner of this first annual contest was Standard Bank Group, a major South African bank and financial services company. In describing her team’s Visier guidebook submission, Jeanne-Marie Venter, people and culture reporting analyst at Standard Bank Group, said: “Our goal with this guidebook is to ensure that all employees have access to their entire personal profile at the bank. This access is intended to help them on their career journey while also assisting us in maintaining data quality. Even before we formally introduced this analysis to the business, we received over 17,500 views on it last year.”

Open for Builders success stories

“‘Open for Builders’ is an Outsmart theme, but it’s also a movement that has built over the years as our customers have demonstrated the art of the possible in revealing the business impact of employees,” said Keith Bigelow, chief product officer, Visier. “We learn so much from our customers. It’s exciting and inspiring to see their creativity and innovation pushing the boundaries of corporate performance.”

At Outsmart, Visier customers Trane Technologies, eBay, and Providence Health discussed how they’ve customized and extended Visier to deliver innovative people data solutions to their organizations. Stories of Visier customers and partners building innovative people analytics solutions on Visier People and Visier’s Alpine platform can be found here.

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