Cutting Edge Workforce Management Must Be Social, Mobile and Available in the Cloud

Simon MacphersonPlease accept my apologies for the quiet week last week but I had had a busy time attending our exciting annual KronosWorks event where Kronos customers from all geographies and industries (Retail, Manufacturing, Logistics, Healthcare and Services) come to exchange views and discover what’s new at the leading edge of workforce management. I got to meet up with friends, old and new, and it never ceases to amaze me how many of our international customers make it to the US. So today, I would like to share with you some key highlights.

In CEO Aron Ain’s keynote speech he talked passionately about how managing your workforce should be easier, how employees need to be interconnected, how to make technology simpler and more efficient and the way that Workforce Technology in the Cloud has become the fastest growing part of the business. And, most importantly, how we are committed to delivering workforce management innovation that works to ensure our customers continue to enjoy higher productivity, lower costs and competitive advantage.

Exciting new product enhancements were launched which got everyone talking. These were based on our key principles of delivering products with an intuitive interface that consumer products have led us to expect; making the relevant tools available on the mobile platforms we, as consumers, are so used to and continuing to provide guidance to our users to optimise the use of labour in their organisations.  Things such as data analytics enhancements that give organisations access to visualisation and exploration tools that make managing big labour data much easier. The fantastic new social networking platform  that allows organisations to use the power of social collaboration to help their business perform better. And workforce management technology  that makes it easier for employees to embrace more flexible working which can improve an organisation’s productivity, efficiency and agility including the sleek Intouch®  time clock which now incorporates new biometric technology and enhanced wifi capabilities for faster employee deployment.

Now, whilst I and our Kronos customers may well be very excited about the new innovative products at the show. I can’t forget that these developments have been driven by our customers and their need to manage their employees more efficiently and effectively. Businesses today have to be more agile to remain competitive. They have to retain their best employees and keep their workforce engaged and productive. They have to manage their people more effectively in order to control costs – things like reducing the cost of absence; reducing payroll errors or scheduling employers more effectively to improve productivity and reduce overtime helps organisations improve their bottom line. Organisations must make their people front and centre of their business and are missing an important opportunity to achieve their business objectives if they don’t.

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It’s Not Witchcraft – It’s The Power of Big Data

TWS21.600.witchcraftIs your organisation sweating and trembling at the thought of all that workforce data that you are collecting but doing nothing with? Or is it hiding under the covers believing that if you ignore it, it isn’t scary at all?

Organisations today are overwhelmed with data.  Perhaps Halloween is the perfect day to cast a spell that will give you a vision into a future when you will be able to take control of your workforce data. Imagine if you could use your workforce data to make meaningful business decisions to support your business strategy. What if you could make timely decisions around labour budget and productivity issues that would help boost performance, improve customer service and gain a competitive advantage whilst balancing the budget?

Never underestimate the power of your data. Best of breed organisations use a workforce management analytics tool to give their business leaders, managers and front-line supervisors the ability to analyse data in real-time. This enables them to make decisions that will have an immediate, positive impact on the business. If you don’t have the ability to make sense of things like meeting customer demand, waste, productivity and labour costs such as absence, lateness and the cost of overtime, then you cannot make those informed decisions. LondonWaste and PUMA use workforce analytics to help them gain real-time insight to drive growth and uncover opportunities to improve business performance. They have taken the scare-factor out of their BIG DATA and will sleep a little better tonight.

Big Data is Big News (How ‘Payroll’ Can Go Strategic)

Big DataI recently contributed to an article in Payroll World that discussed Big Data and the need for Payroll to become more strategic by altering the way it works, automating key processes and embracing globalisation, centralisation and the use of new technology.  

Payroll can be much more than a simple cost of doing business – and I believe it can provide important insight that can be instrumental in maximising output of production, sales and customer service.

Payroll data can add strategic value to all departments; it can be used to compare payroll investment to productivity, sickness rates in various job functions and absence to management style. It can add significant understanding to what is happening within the organisation. A manufacturing company can use Big Data to analyse and understand the exact cost of producing certain goods. A service provider may review payroll investment related to customer satisfaction, and a retailer may optimise payroll cost to sales.

Being strategic is easier than you might think. The journey that goes along with Big Data can seem an overwhelming one but it doesn’t have to mean interpreting every line of data. The focus should be on the critical business questions, and identifying the data that will support them – this is where payroll can support them.

Find out more and download the full article here.

As always I would be happy to hear your views and comments.

The Future of Workforce Management & 10 Deadly Sins of Software Development

IMG_0161Sorry I have not blogged sooner, last week was a very busy time and our annual customer event was even more successful than ever with greater numbers of attendees and some really great speakers. We were delighted to welcome Kronos customers from across the UK and Western Europe. Aron Ain, our CEO kicked proceedings off with an insightful presentation about the future of workforce management. In his presentation he mentioned that Kronos will be investing $100 mill into R&D this year to ensure that our solutions continue to meet the growing demands of our customers; intuitive, easy to use solutions, delivered on mobile technologies, guiding management decisions and providing real insight into the business with Workforce Analytics – this speaks volumes about how important it is to continue to provide our customers with real competitive advantage. Aron went on to talk about how Kronos can help customers focus on what they do best by letting us run their Kronos solution in the Kronos Cloud.

Mollie Lombardi of Aberdeen Group gave a research analysts perspective on the impact that Big Data is having on organisations globally whilst Charlie DeWitt described how we eliminated the 10 Sins of Enterprise Software development over the last few releases, how we engage with customer advisory boards to ensure our solutions meet with the current and future needs of our customers and confirmed we are still searching for the book that describes all of the employment rules and practice around the world 😉 The key focus was on how we can provide solutions that truly help organisations achieve operational excellence and the “gold” at the end of the Big Data and Analytics trail.

Following those fascinating sessions I was delighted to be hosting the main discussion panel. Where valued customers like Duncan Rouse of Hall and Woodhouse, Jay Brereton of The Co-operative Group, Mark Wales of Ralph Lauren, Alan Murphy of Hozelock and Richard Baxter of Aramark bravely took to the stage, together with Mollie who spoke earlier. They gave us their reaction to the main themes of the day. All had valued input on how the changing demographics of their business and the demands of their employees could be better accommodated by workforce analytics, mobile workforce management and the Cloud. On each topic they even took questions live from the audience.

IMG_0224In the afternoon we held industry specific breakout sessions that allowed our customers to share their challenges and show their peers how they are using their Kronos solution to manage their workforce more efficiently and the impacts it has on their organisation – whether it is by reducing absence, improving scheduling efficiencies or reducing labour costs. Analysts, partners and sector experts also contributed their knowledge and views to the sessions.

All in all it was a fantastic day and we are already looking at ways that we can take the feedback and lessons that we have learned to make next year’s event even better. Here is a link to Mollie Lombardi of Aberdeen Group and Charles DeWitt, Kronos VP of Enterprise and Product Marketing’s presentations that will give you taste of the themes for the day and if you wish to know more please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Join Me For Leading Workforce Management Event

I am thrilled to be conducting a panel discussion with industry experts about how Big Data, analytics and mobile are shaping the future of workforce management at our annual conference this year and would like to extend a personal invitation to Kronos customers and prospective customers to share this year’s exciting workforce management learning experience, KronosLive EMEA 2013. We are expecting around 200 delegates from the UK and Europe and across all industry sectors to attend the conference being held in London this May. Why not be part of the experience and come along?

The day will include thought leadership presentations, educational sessions and provide plenty of networking opportunities with industry peers and our Kronos experts, who, I know, will be happy to demonstrate the latest workforce technology and answer any questions you may have. I hope to see you there.

The conference will be taking place on Tuesday 14th May at 200 Aldersgate, St Paul’s in London, just 15 minutes from London St Pancras International and if you would like to join us please register soon as places are limited.

Our main event sponsor this year is Cognizant, leading provider of information technology, consulting and business-process services. Cognizant will be co-presenting one of the main sessions and will be on hand all day to answer questions.
KronosLive EMEA 2013
Cognizant-logo

A review of the ‘The BIG Show’

Andrew Busby and David Bacon, Kronos for Retail at NRF 2013My colleagues David Bacon and Andrew Busby had the opportunity to attend NRF13 in New York and here is a brief insight into their experience from Andrew.

The National Retail Federation’s annual show otherwise known as Retail’s BIG Show held in New York between January 13th – 16th was the biggest show ever with over 26,000 people attending not just from the US but from all parts of the globe. Exhibitors included IBM, Microsoft (who had a Formula 1 car on their stand), SAP and of course Kronos. Our stand was impressive and attracted a lot of attention, especially the moustache party at the end of the first day. In return for each visitor to the stand wearing a moustache, Kronos donated $5 to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

But the Expo wasn’t the only attraction for delegates, there was a full 3 day conference including keynote speeches from Kofi Annan and Donna Karan. Other sessions included a fascinating insight into the continuing austerity which will affect retailers who will have to adapt to meet the changing socio-economic trends which will emerge. For me, the session discovering examples of best in class retail from around the world was the most interesting and perhaps relevant to the Kronos value proposition for retailers. Examples from Burberry, Uniqlo and Harrods show how retailers are striving to connect with their customers and deliver not just great service but a great experience.

NRF 2013 was also an opportunity for David and I to meet not only the Kronos US team who made us feel very welcome, but also customers, prospects and partners including M&S, Boots, Arcadia, PCMS and Axium. And of course it was also an opportunity to take a bite out of the Big Apple. The sights and sounds of New York are an assault on the senses never to be forgotten: Times Square, Empire State Building, Central Park, Rockefeller Centre, 5th Avenue are all iconic landmarks, and seeing such a presence by the NYPD it was easy to imagine Cagney & Lacey appearing at any moment.  

But back to the business of the conference and some clear themes and trends in retail soon emerged.

  • Online and in particular mobile shopping will continue to increase at a dramatic rate
  • Customers now have the power and the retailers who embrace this will be those who survive
  • Omni-channel (some say hyper-channel) will become ubiquitous as part of this mobile online revolution. Some analysts likening this as being even more significant than the industrial revolution
  • Big data and Cloud will proliferate
  • Bricks & mortar stores will always remain but the in-store customer experience will be ever more critical to the success of the brand. For those who have ever visited Burberry in Regent’s Street or a Hollister store will appreciate the lengths leading retailers are going to in order to attract and retain customers

And all this underlined the fact that Workforce Management’s time has come; employee engagement, productivity, aligning labour cost to customer demand and delivering great customer experience are all high on the agenda for retailers. Retail’s BIG Show provided the inspiration and insight – the rest is down to us!