Driving digital transformation in HR: A Q&A With Schneider Electric’s People Analytics Change Manager, Alanna Roesler

When people think about digital transformation, they typically think about technology.

And while it's true that SaaS, automation, artificial intelligence and other tools can all help your business scale bigger, move faster, and make better decisions, it's important to remember that real transformation is driven by people.  

At this year’s DATAcated Conference, ThoughtSpot Chief Data Strategy Officer, Cindi Howson spoke with Schneider Electric People Analytics Change Manager, Alanna Roesler about just that. Over the last year, Schneider has empowered its HR team to use data in completely new ways with ThoughtSpot. During their conversation, they also covered the team’s amazing 78% adoption rate of ThoughtSpot and how the platform has allowed Alanna to re-allocate an impressive 25 hours a week to driving digital transformation efforts. 

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Cindi Howson: Tell us a little bit about Schneider Electric and how you started using ThoughtSpot.

Alanna Roesler: Schneider Electric is a global specialist; we're in 100+ countries across the globe and we work on energy management and automation. Our overall purpose and mission as a company is to empower all to make the most of our energy and resources. We were also recently named 2021's Most Sustainable Company on the Global 100 Index by the Corporate Knights company—a great award win for us as it's measured on our percentage of clean revenue and investment, our energy and carbon productivity, and our gender and racial diversity metrics. 

Schneider Electric brought in ThoughtSpot as a pilot project for our HR team in North America last July. I had the pleasure of leading this transformation of our HR community, bringing data and insights to our HR decision-making processes. As a global company and global HR department, we already had a core set of business intelligence dashboards and tools, but we were missing the ability to fulfill search-type analytics requests for all of our HR community. ThoughtSpot brought that level of self-service analytics to all frontline HR people.Now, all of that work no longer falls to analysts. Instead, everyone is empowered to tap into the data. 

In addition to finding an easy-to-use tool that focused on user experience, our other goal was to free up the energy of our HR community. We are all being challenged to "do more with less" and create more efficiencies while driving more value in our strategic initiatives and business decisions. ThoughtSpot helped achieve that and put data at the forefront.

CH:  What is your current BI adoption rate with ThoughtSpot?

AR: We set out with a very ambitious adoption rate that's really disrupting what our current processes are. I'm happy to announce that within six months of bringing ThoughtSpot to our North America community, we were able to reach 78% adoption across our workers.

If we compare that back to our other most used products at Schneider, we're looking at a range from 33-48%, depending on the tool. With ThoughtSpot, we've really accelerated our adoption rate and we are happy to announce that we're expanding globally. Our next region in the company will be Europe, so we are quite excited for that scale up.

CH: What's been the biggest impact on your job?

AR: Over the past year and a half, I have been a people analytics consultant. My role is supporting the head of HR for North America and the wider HR community in that region. A lot of the work is putting together that data story in terms of our metrics and our important KPIs, and a lot of ad hoc reporting

I think many analysts out there can probably relate to that long list of backlog that you have for enhancements or requests. Bringing in ThoughtSpot, I dedicated a lot of time to the training and opening up an environment where people can learn. Now, for my own role, I've decreased the hours of ad hoc requests by about 25-30 hours a week. That time has all transitioned to empowering our HR employees to answer the super valuable questions that they have. 

And so, many of you may be saying, "Okay, Alanna, you're an analyst. You just reduced your hours by 25 a week. That's crazy. What are you doing instead?" I’ve reallocated that time to putting together the data story and driving the transformation for data-driven decisions across the organization. That's uniting technology, our analytics, and the human behavior and the processes for making decisions and putting data at that forefront. And I do keep mentioning this confidence and ease of use of our HR users because it's a big transformation for them as well!

CH: I also understand you got a promotion out of this and are leading the transformation efforts, what’s that been like?

AR: I'm very fortunate that I did get to transition roles. I'm actually still maintaining my consultant role for North America because the way that my role has shifted, I can still balance that with my new role as Change Manager. I'm leading the data-driven culture across HR which really comes down to building a case for change and communicating it effectively through all of our initiatives. People analytics drive that adoption, and it’s been rewarding to really shift the mindset through building skills and creative solutions.

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