Given our shared presence in the Boston metro area, I’ve had numerous contacts and interactions with Kronos Incorporated in the past, but this fall was my very first attendance of the vendor’s annual user conference: KronosWorks 2010. That attendance was a worthwhile use of my time and a great learning experience about the company and its customers. As some background, here is Ventana Research’s report from the previous conference, KronosWorks 2009.
Kronos is the global leader in workforce management (WFM) solutions that enable organizations to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Tens of thousands of organizations in 60 countries — including more than half of the Fortune 1000 — use some or all of the following modules of the Kronos Workforce Central suite: time and attendance (T&A), scheduling, absence management, human resources (HR) and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics.
The conference’s official program started with an intriguing animated video with some startling statistics about what our working days and weeks have begun to look like. For example, 15 percent of people admit that they are addicted to e-mail – some confessed to checking their e-mail at the beach, weddings, and even at funerals.
My recent blog series entitled “Integrated Workforce Management (WFM) Platforms: Fact or Fiction?” established that WFM systems have evolved from point solutions (i.e., time and attendance [T&A], workforce scheduling, absence management, human resources [HR], payroll, etc.) into unified solutions with a common user interface (UI), integrated WFM modules, and centralized management. For virtually for every kind of business, the benefits of WFM platforms should come from a holistic view of labor demand, optimized schedules based on specific labor policies and constraints, and the fact that accuracy often matters more than efficiency.
The next evolutionary step in the enterprise applications realm (WFM systems included) is to leverage Web 2.0 and Rich Internet Application (RIA) tools as well as ubiquitous mobile devices and information to bring informed decision-making to the business user. Persona-based UI development is repeatedly cited as a concept and undertaking of late. The aim is to present data that is specifically relevant to the logged-in user, with presentation methods that are rapidly understood. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 3 of this blog series analyzed the ever-evolving user interface (UI) and visualization technologies, and related approaches of Microsoft and other independent software vendors (ISVs). Lawson Smart Office and IFS’ Project Aurora (including the first Project’s delivery, IFS Enterprise Explorer [IEE]) were described.
Shedding Some “Northern Star” Light on IEE
For IEE IFS uses Microsoft ClickOnce, which is a technology designed to perform web-based deployment of rich applications. Basically the authorized user clicks on a link and the application loads straight from the web server without needing to be installed and distributed via CDs (like traditional client/server applications). It works similar to the counterpart Java Web Start or Adobe Flash technologies. Read the rest of this entry »
Generally, I would venture to say any website that uses a little more interactive and dynamic technology (i.e. not just publishing “flat” HyperText Markup Language [HTML] pages) and supports some kind of online commerce, community, or other value-added activity that is enabled by the network would have Web 2.0 traits. But, is it still more buzzword than anything else, and is it being used to put “lipstick on a lot of pigs” even now?
Or, is Web 2.0 a genuine set of technologies that can even provide the “richness” of traditional desktop applications (read Microsoft Office) to the Web-based applications, without all the price and/or performance pitfalls/traps that are often associated with Office Business Applications (OBA)? At least we need to keep a close eye on how the next generation of office workers are using social networking sites/communities like Tagging, Facebook, Twitter, Instant Messenger (IM), etc., as they can give us a clue how effective collaboration should be driven into next generation of enterprise applications (of course, provided the security and privacy standards have been met). Read the rest of this entry »