Is Technophobia Preventing Your Business From Reaching Its Full Potential?

technophobiaDefinition of Technophobia from Wikipedia: ‘Technophobia is the fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers. Although there are numerous interpretations of technophobia, they seem to become more complex as technology continues to evolve. The term is generally used in the sense of an irrational fear, but others contend fears are justified.’

Now, some of you will be sitting and nodding in agreement – ‘Yes, technology is a mystery to me and I don’t need it anyway! Whilst others are probably thinking ‘What on earth is the problem? Technology is fantastic! Where would we be without it? Bring it on!’  But, generally, people tend to sit somewhere between these two extremes… ‘I will use it at work because I have to or, I love it, can’t get enough of it, what is the next gadget I can get’

At work technology is commonplace – it could be an email solution, a solution for presenting financial information or documentation, or even a manufacturing process solution. At home you could be using your computer, phone or iPad for online shopping or banking. But if your organisation is resistant to technology – it could be wasting time, money and lagging behind more agile competitors.

Manual processes that, when automated, can improve productivity, ensure compliance and reduce labour costs could be something that your technophobic organisation may be avoiding, fearing it will be too complex and costly to implement; yet it could have the single most positive impact on your organisation’s bottom line and bring real competitive advantage. After all, when the right people are in the right place at the right time and productivity is being tracked and measured, the visibility and control it gives can only lead to better business decisions and improve profitability allowing you to free up capital to support other areas of your business strategy.

If you don’t wish to invest capital in a solution that will help you manage your people more effectively, you should consider a SaaS solution. Software as a Service enables organisations to invest in technology on a per employee per month basis – you use only what you need, you will achieve significant business benefits without upfront capital outlay and without waiting on your over-stretched IT resource to set up any required infrastructure as it is managed and hosted by the supplier. It will give you a technological advantage and agility that will allow you to compete with larger organisations by streamlining your workforce management operations. If, like many, you are concerned that your organisation is suffering from a little technophobia take a look at this useful guide: ‘Unlocking Your Workforce Potential’.

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!

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Zdnet.com published a piece this week discussing the findings of the recent report – Business Cloud: The State of Play Shifts Rapidly commissioned by Capgemini. The report was based on a survey of 460 global companies and gives new insights into Cloud adoption trends.

One of the more interesting findings was that decisions on Cloud uptake are more often than not being taken by non-IT decision-makers. This would indicate decisions regarding Cloud adoption are being driven by strategic business factors – far more so than technology, in fact the survey found that UK business units made the decision 44% of the time and third parties 11%. Often we see strategic business solutions being held back by an unfortunately over-stretched IT department. It is good to see that the Cloud is now seen as a perfectly acceptable and sensible way to deploy strategic business solutions.

The reason for this shift also becomes apparent when one reads that the companies in the survey cited the economic climate as a key reason for Cloud adoption, citing moving into emerging markets and territories (53%) and deploying new applications (23%) as the two main drivers.

According to the report human capital management is one of the major functional applications that are being moved to the Cloud. And with a Cloud services uptake of 76%, on average, globally, workforce management in the Cloud is certainly something many organisations should and will be adopting.

Moving workforce management functions; forecasting demand, scheduling to that demand, managing attendance, absence, activity and accurate pay, to the Cloud allows organisations to focus on improvements in cost control, productivity and margin. Organisation can focus on the workforce management functions, while a workforce management provider, like Kronos, ensures the application is running efficiently and cost-effectively in the Cloud.

Viva Las Vegas! KronosWorks 2012, the Greatest Workforce Management Show in Town Has Arrived!

Almost 2,100 Kronites have descended on the Aria Resort, Las Vegas this week. #KronosWorks12 opened its doors on Sunday with a fabulous, funny keynote speech from Billy Beane and an inspirational opening presentation by CEO Aaron Ain.

My contribution earlier this week was to Chair the panel session: ‘The What, How and Why of Deploying WFM across the Globe’. On the panel I was joined by some esteemed Kronos customers who between them had a vast amount of experience and insight into large-scale and global implementations. The panel comprised: Adrian Peace of the Co-op, Paul Turner of Caterpillar Europe, Tanya Brown of Nestle Globe and Helen Delight of Pick N Pay South Africa.

There was lots of lively discussion and some common themes emerged around the need for good communication, change management and the need to understand and respect different cultures both outside and even, sometimes, within the organisation.

The panel all agreed the benefits of implementing a workforce management system across the organisation are huge. And the main areas of improvement gained from implementing a Kronos solution highlighted during the discussion were process improvements, lower costs, higher revenue and customer satisfaction, high compliance and central visibility.

Kronos and our customers were very excited at the launch at #KronosWorks12 of Workforce Tablet™, a tablet app that delivers real-time, location-specific workforce information to frontline managers so they can #manageinthemoment and even more with the release of Workforce Task Management™, which cements our ability to deliver the market’s most complete retail and hospitality workforce management solution available.

Other key highlights at this year’s event are Workforce Analytics and how it captures the essence of BIG Data, Kronos’ comprehensive and ever more popular offerings in the Cloud, and the many InTouch® apps being developed by Kronos and our partners. So proud to be working for a company that delivers ‘workforce innovation that works’!

Guest Blog – ‘50 Shades of Cloud’

My colleague Leo Daley has been blogging since 2005. He is our Chief Services Blogger here at Kronos – he’s managed service partners, walk-in service centres and major service accounts, serviced contracts and business development – and he has a ‘thing’ about the Cloud – he recently published a topical blog that made me and some of my work colleagues smile. Check out his blog The Working Smarter Café – it’s a place to hang out and share services experiences and ideas on how to improve them. Take a look at his ideas on ’50 Shades of Cloud’

OK, thanks to “Terri” for this line… While this post may not be as um, stimulating as the best selling “Grey”, I can only hope it’s not ripped apart the way some have panned the novel. On amazon.com, I read a hilarious review by “DS from LA.” One complaint is, “…the repetition…and the repetition…and the repetition.”

“I have discovered that Ana says “Jeez” 81 times and “oh my” 72 times. She “blushes” or “flushes” 125 times, including 13 that are “scarlet,” 6 that are “crimson,” and one that is “stars and stripes red.” (I can’t even imagine.) Ana “peeks up” at Christian 13 times, and there are 9 references to Christian’s “hooded eyes,” 7 to his “long index finger,” and 25 to how “hot” he is (including four recurrences of the epic declarative sentence “He’s so freaking hot.”). Christian’s “mouth presses into a hard line” 10 times. Characters “murmur” 199 times, “mutter” 49 times, and “whisper” 195 times (doesn’t anyone just talk?), “clamber” on/in/out of things 21 times, and “smirk” 34 times. Christian and Ana also “gasp” 46 times and experience 18 “breath hitches,” suggesting a need for prompt intervention by paramedics. Finally, in a remarkable bit of symmetry, our hero and heroine exchange 124 “grins” and 124 “frowns”… which, by the way, seems an awful lot of frowning for a woman who experiences “intense,” “body-shattering”,”delicious,” “violent,” “all-consuming,” “turbulent,” “agonizing” and “exhausting” orgasms on just about every page.”

That paragraph of numerology made me think of this blog. No, not the “body-shattering” part (I wish), but the repetition…and the repetition…and the repetition. This morning I did a little text analytics and found the following “most annoyingly overused phrases.” I’ve used “cloud” 271 times, including 14 that were “delicious,” but none that were “agonizing.” SaaS” has been used 65 times, preceded by “freaking hot” on 27 of those occasions. “Cloud Services” comes in at a nice round 100, including “intense” and “delicious,” but never “turbulent,” “agonizing” or “exhausting.”

Finally… and I’m biting my lip over this one. The term “HR” appears 486 times. Must be my inner goddess or a Freudian thing…