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In the realm of technology that matters for business and IT, our firm as part of our responsibility continually assesses the latest technology and how it can impact organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness.2013_Tech_Innovation_Award Our benchmark research in technology innovation found that 87% of participants indicated the importance of increasing the organization’s value through technology innovation. Every year we take our knowledge from research and technology briefings to focus on our Technology Innovation Awards and determine the vendors and products that have the potential to drive change in the market, the competitiveness of an organization’s business and sometimes just how efficiently a company operates. Our firm believes that Innovation can come from any size technology vendor from the smallest to the largest that are measured on a spectrum of attributes that contribute to the specific impact of the technology.

Our process with the Technology Innovation Awards is to separate out and find the vendors and products that have innovative technology that has the most potential and might be game changing or what might be just a necessity for organizations to use to compete in the market. We methodically assess and score those technologies according to more than 26 categories, and then rate and validate within each category to determine the winner of the Technology Innovation Award. Our methodology looks at the relevance of key aspects of technology, including people, processes, information and technology, along with any best practices for applying the technology and the resulting potential impact and benefits to organizations. To apply an additional lens on the technologies being assessed  we also employ the technology evaluation categories (functionality, capability, reliability, manageability, adaptability, TCO and ROI, and vendor validation) that we use to methodically assess vendors and products in our Value Indexes. This year we have kept a closer eye on usability of technology and where it can have use across a larger number of individuals in an organization or easier to use for a specific set of people or department, as our research found that usability had the highest level of importance for technology and vendor consideration in 64% of organizations.

Our award categorization makes it self-evident where the technology is relevant and is part of our research focus that is built around innovative technology, as I previously outlined. In the end our Technology Innovation Awards are not just about being a cool vendor but about having innovative technology in either a shipping product or one coming to market in the near future that is worth recognition.

According to our research, almost half of organizations (49%) are planning to change the way they assess and select innovative technology for business and IT through 2014. With that backdrop let me introduce you to the Technology Innovation Award recipients for 2013 so you can see for yourself what technologies could change how your organization operates significantly.

Business Technology

Business Innovation

Operational Innovation 

IT Innovation

If you want to learn about technology innovation and see examples including from ones that received a Technology Innovation Award, come to our Technology Innovation Summit. At the summit you’ll learn why it’s critical to assess innovation and look beyond what you are doing today to determine where you can make changes to drive improvement. Our research found that organizations are changing the way they evaluate innovation technology mostly to drive business improvement initiatives (60%) and improve the quality of business processes (57%). If you want advice or guidance to help you leverage technology innovations, just let me know, as we are always happy to help organizations be smarter and faster.

Congrats to this year’s award recipients for innovations that are worthy of our recognition and your time to see where they might help your organization.

Regards,

Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer

Adoption of workforce analytics is increasing as organizations seek to recruit and retain employees more effectively and ensure that their people deliver the productivity they expect. According to our benchmark research on the topic, 89 percent of organizations want to make it simpler to provide workforce analytics, which is not surprising as our analysis shows that only 12 percent of organizations have reached the highest level of maturity here.

Maximizing cost-effectiveness and productivity is the goal of workforce analytics, and Kronos is focused on that. Kronos also provides workforce management applications, which I recently assessed. Now the company has released a new version of its workforce analytics software. In Kronos Workforce Analytics version 6.3  the technology is complete refreshed with the embedding of MicroStrategy, which is well-known for its robustness in business intelligence and analytics. (We recently assessed it also.) Kronos is smart to transition away from its previous Microsoft technology base, as Microsoft has not kept pace with innovations in business intelligence as well as MicroStrategy has. Kronos puts together analytics to help organizations measure and monitor employee activities such as time and attendance, absence, labor and related areas. The application provides a range of ad-hoc reporting and analysis and published dashboards. Users can perform data discovery by drilling down on charts, tables and reports, which are the most common components for presentation of labor-related analytics.

I had a chance to review the new release and found it easy to use the analytics to ascertain issues and opportunities to improve use of labor across the workforce. Kronos has improved integration of data for workforce analytics, which will help analysts spend less of their analytic process time on data-related tasks and more time on analysis; this is significant as our research shows that they spend two-thirds of the time preparing data. An easily accessible library of metrics and analytics reduces cumbersome setup for organizations that do not opt for prebuilt analytics.

Kronos has extended its core offering to industry-specific workforce analytics applications for healthcare, manufacturing and retail. These applications include prebuilt analytics that, for example, can help retailers quickly compare store labor to sales volume, or manufacturers check labor’s cost contribution to margin. To get organizations up and running quickly with the technology, Kronos provides a range of education and implementation services.

Kronos’s advancements are welcome, considering that almost half of organizations are not satisfied with their current workforce analytic processes, which should not be surprising as about two-thirds  use spreadsheets. This new release should appeal to organizations that are concerned about labor-specific analytics. Having workforce analytics in a secure, centralized place helps ensure that everyone is working from a consistent set of metrics. Our research shows that only 30 percent of organizations are satisfied with their existing analytics technology. As well as encouraging its existing customers to upgrade, Kronos also adds value for its suite of workforce management applications. I hope to see more support for mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets in future versions, especially considering they are already supported by MicroStrategy.

Workforce analytics is becoming a requirement for every organization that wants to maximize its investment in the workforce. If you have not seen a demonstration of Kronos’s latest release, now is the right time to do so.

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO and Chief Research Officer

Mark Smith – Twitter

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