Improved HR reporting provides basis for efficient decision-making

How many employees are likely to take their pension at the end of the year? What is the rate of absenteeism, and is it higher in certain departments? To answer these types of questions rapidly and precisely, the Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy decided to implement a reporting tool on an existing SAS-based data warehouse. SAS makes it possible to bring together various types of data from two databases, while improving reporting speed and data quality. The tool is accessible over a secured internal portal, making staff-related information available to a larger number of users.



The fully integrated SAS environment means we can count on smooth and fast reporting

Caroline Denil
Datawarehouse & Business Intelligence Project Leader

Widespread use, faster reporting

The FPS Economy's primary aim is to create the necessary conditions for a competitive, sustainable, and balanced functioning of the goods and services market in Belgium. It employs about 2,500 people.

Gaining insight to address weaknesses in the workforce

In terms of human resources (HR), the FPS Economy aims at optimizing HR monitoring through enhanced reporting. "The idea is to gain better insight into the weaknesses of our workforce. If it appears, for instance, that absenteeism is higher for women between 25 and 35 years old, management can develop appropriate measures to counter this," states Caroline Denil, Datawarehouse & Business Intelligence Project Leader at the FPS Economy. "We also wanted to provide HR staff with a tool enabling them to rapidly answer management or ministerial questions relating to the status of personnel, for instance the evolution of the number of A-level functions through the years, by department. We therefore set out to identify a tool capable of aggregating personnel data in order to provide detailed information as well as enable us to monitor and improve data accuracy."

Combining two large databases into one

"We selected the SAS datawarehousing and reporting environment because of its strong statistical base and convincing proof-of-concept," continues Denil. The SAS environment enables the FPS Economy to combine HR data spread over two databases. One database contains personnel-related data such as name, age, function and background. The other one stores information from the punch system, such as time of entry, time of departure, days off, sick leaves, et cetera.

"By combining both databases, we can aggregate these data and create reports that give a clear image of employees. Regarding pension, for instance, users can instantly see which members of staff are likely to take their pension in the near future," says Denil. Such information enables decision-makers within the FPS Economy to plan HR policies more efficiently.

In addition, the tool enables the FPS Economy to identify key trends. For example, users can determine trends in absenteeism according to age, gender, and experience level. They can also highlight departments in which absenteeism is a problem.

Gradual implementation facilitates system adoption

The HR reporting tool was implemented by a joint team of SAS consultants and FPS Economy people. The project was carried out in three phases. "This approach enabled us to emphasize user training at every step, giving users the opportunity to gradually become accustomed to the system. In the end, this enabled us to quickly embed the system into our daily work," explains Denil. "It also allowed us to gradually identify the new needs and test the added value of the tool."

Expanding user base and saving reporting time

The reporting system is available via a secured portal and can potentially be used by 65 HR staff members. These users work either within the HR Department or within other FPS Economy departments. Previously, these external HR employees had a limited view of centralized HR data.
They also often had to assemble Excel sheets themselves, which was very time-consuming. Now, the user-friendly reporting system helps them save time. Certain reports, for instance concerning planned leaves, are pre-programmed and generated automatically. The tool also makes it possible for users to easily put together specific reports, without having to approach the IT Department. Users just have to select a number of criteria and the system automatically creates the desired report in a matter of seconds.

Continuous improvement of data quality

Another key aspect of the SAS reporting environment is that data quality is automatically monitored. Whenever the system detects an anomaly, it automatically sends an e-mail to the relevant HR staff member. This member subsequently knows how to fine-tune the data. As a result, data accuracy is gradually improved, which further increases reporting precision over time.

FPS Economy


Improve reporting of human resources information


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SAS® Enterprise BI Server


  • Better decision-making.
    Better view of employees and improved trending make it possible to create more effective HR policies.
  • Improved data quality.
    The system automatically detects anomalies so that users can improve data accordingly.
  • Saving reporting time.
    HR members across the Federal Public Service have immediate access to the latest data, thus enabling them to prepare complete reports with just a few mouse clicks.

Lessons learned

  • Work in phases to gradually test the added value of the system and enable users to gradually get accustomed to it.
  • Have an external Business Intelligence specialist work with an internal IT member with good knowledge of the business for optimal results.
  • Regularly train users so that they can produce reports themselves, without the need to disturb IT staff.
The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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