Why Best of Breed is becoming the norm

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Best of Breed Workforce Management Solutions are now increasingly chosen over the traditional Best of Suite HCM providers.

Research by Navigo reveals that overwhelmingly (69%) choose a Best of Breed provider to meet their needs rather than a suite. It also discovered that 50% more organisations were “Very Satisfied” with a Best of Breed than those who purchased this as a module of HCM.

This maybe a sign that changes in the workforce are occurring more frequently and organisations need more agile and adaptable solutions. This seems to be confirmed by the study with the average age of a 5 years for a WFM solution compared with 7+ for HCM Suites.

Whilst a rapidly changing workforce environment may be a contributing factor, it is  cloud technology that is accelerating the move away from Best of Suite towards a new paradigm of “plug and play” applications in the cloud.

Historically Best of Breed applications where held back by limitations with integration. Many applications didn’t “play well” with other applications or even devices. But this is changing fast.

In the 1980’s your choice of printers was often dictated by the word-processor (or even computer) you purchased. But the introduction of “software drivers” removed this restriction and now with “plug and play” no-one worries about whether the printer they purchase will work with any of their applications.

This revolution in technology – largely forgotten – is being played out within modern cloud applications. Today we share content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other cloud platforms without even thinking about the enabling technology that seamlessly integrates these applications together.

Web and cloud integration technologies make integration simple, secure and in many cases real-time. Data flows seamlessly between applications and without the need for organisations to involve their IT departments.

Historically IT departments would spend significant internal resource trying to knit on-premise applications together to avoid users having to dual key data into separate applications. Now, many modern cloud providers provide integration plug-ins to other vendors without the need for any internal work. Likewise, the adoption of Single Sign on (SSO) standards has meant that user experience across platforms isn’t impacted.

This represents a watershed moment in vendor selection. Historically organisations had to weigh up the trade-offs between a fully integrated suite that didn’t quite meet their business requirements versus a Best of Breed option that didn’t quite meet the “joined up” experience that users required.

With next generation cloud “Best of Breed” applications removing this barrier, organisations no longer need to sacrifice business need over user experience.

It also enables organisations to adapt more quickly to changing situations and without the costly and long delays required to replace a monolithic application. If a specific solution cannot be adapted to the new way of working, then it can be replaced without needing to replace the entire suite.

Ultimately organisations are looking to become more agile and the new world of “Cloud Plug & Play” has enabled them to do just that.

To find out more about our cloud solutions visit HFX or Contact us

Clone Wars

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We’d all love the ability to clone ourselves and enjoy a few days off. Well this logistics company uncovered this happening right under their nose.

Whilst the person they hired had all the right skills and qualifications, they found that their rather less qualified brother was turning up for work.

This rather unorthodox “job share” is even more prevalent in recruitment and cleaner sectors where entrepreneurial “workers” actually “sub contract” the work to their friends.

Our Biometric readers ended the clone wars – at least for now!

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With over 1,400 customers you’d expect us to hear some rather extraordinary stories and you’d be right. In our 45+ year history we’ve heard many stories about of the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

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To find out more contact us

For more information on Time and Attendance download our pdf

Avoid Cloud Confusion

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Avoid Cloud Confusion

The tech industry is famous for inventing jargon and terms that lack any clear definition which are then misused by marketing and ultimately mislead potential buyers into thinking they are getting something they are not.  The term “Cloud Solution” is a classic example.

Strictly speaking cloud solutions refer to any software (or service) that is provisioned via the Internet and does not require local infrastructure/install to consume it (typically access is via a web browser). However, this term is broad enough to hide a multitude of sins whilst not challenging any assumptions.

The public experience of cloud solutions is numerous including applications like google, amazon, banking and other consumer retail applications. These applications reflect a specific instance of “cloud solutions” and are based on modern internet design principles including;

  1. Internet By Design: These applications are built for the internet age with an architecture that can scale and more importantly scale over multiple servers that can be increased with demand ensuring users do not experience lag.
  2. Resilient Architecture: Because the application is designed to run on multiple servers there is inbuilt redundancy which reduces unexpected downtime.
  3. Future Proofed: These applications are automatically updated/upgraded with fixes and features without users having to request or pay for the update. This ensures that users are always working on the most bug free and updated version and ensures they never fall into legacy.

This all seems straightforward and many would be forgiven for thinking that all cloud applications follow these design patterns. However, many cloud-based solutions do not, and we therefore need to differentiate between “True Cloud” and those that just run the application in the “Cloud”. The main two “Cloud” variants which are often mistaken for “True Cloud” are;

  1. Hosted Applications: This is where a traditional legacy Fat Client application is hosted in a data centre and users’ access the application via Terminal Services or Citrix. Whilst it is true to say that nothing needs to be installed locally (other than Terminal Services/Citrix) the reality is you are simply accessing an old product through a new way. The application isn’t multi-tenanted, it doesn’t scale, and each instance needs to be individually upgraded/updated. Its an old product on a new server with Citrix.
  2. Web User Interface: Another tactic often deployed by business is to rewrite the user interface so that users can access the functionality through a web browser. Whilst it provides a modern feel and avoids the need for costly Citrix/Terminal Services, the reality behind the scenes is much the same as with a standard hosted application though this is hidden from the user until things go wrong. In the industry this is referred to as “lipstick on a pig

Why Not True Cloud?

Given the disadvantages to both the vendor and the customer of using a “cloud enabled legacy solution” it does beg the question why businesses would not invest in developing Cloud Designed Solutions. The answer is that many businesses have invested significantly in Fat Client/Server solutions for many years (Some from as early as 1995) and do not want to incur the cost required to start from scratch.

The more functionality they add into their old product the more reluctant (and expensive) they are to invest in a new product. It is akin to refusing to buy a new car because you have spent so much money repairing the old one.

HFX is True Cloud

Within Workforce Management, HFX is one of the few exceptions. In 2013, HFX secured significant investment to build a true cloud solution from the ground up. We recruited developers with 15+ years’ experience developing web solutions AND with a strong background in Workforce Management to ensure the solution was “True Cloud” AND ready for the New World of Work.

To find out what a True Cloud Workforce Management Solution looks like contact us

 

HFX Leads the Market in Flexitime

HFX are now the largest supplier of Flextime® solutions to the Public Sector and Local Government within the UK. With over 500 customers including 185 Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, HFX has become the trusted name in Flexible Working Solutions.

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Nick Whiteley, CEO comments “Organisations are increasingly turning to flexitime solutions to attract and retain talent within their team and hfx is their trusted partner“.

Customers list a number of reasons for choosing HFX including their wealth of experience (over 45+ years), it’s ease of use, comprehensive suite including integrated Access Control and Visitor Registration. The Cloud/SaaS delivery of the solution and minimum infrastructure is also a key advantage with IT departments already stretched.

Nick Whiteley adds “HFX provide a complete solution including data collection devices, full onsite support, UK development and Call Centre which provides organisations with the confidence that they will be fully supported now and in the future“. HFX regularly receives 100% AWESOME ratings within customer services and resolves most calls on first contact.

To find out what our customers say, download our Flexitime brochure

Or Contact us for more information and a demonstration.

Flextime®, Imperago® and EveryOneCloud® are registered trademarks of hfx ltd (registered in England 08137794)

The Doppelgänger

With over 1,400 customers you’d expect us to hear some rather extraordinary stories and you’d be right. In our 45+ year history we’ve heard many stories about of the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

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It shows great commitment that an employee loves working for you so much, he gets employed not just once, but twice and at the same time.  You might think that people would to a “double take” when seeing an employee finish one shift in the factory only to move across the site and begin yet another shift immediately after the last one finished. Exploiting a lack of joined up systems he was able to work an 80 hour week with 16 hour shifts until T&A integrated to Payroll.

Download our Product Sheet to find out how you can ensure #ItDoesNotHappenHere!

Download Time and Attendance pdf

Contact us for more information

 

Flintshire County Council chooses hfx

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Council invests in cloud based hours management system to support 350 remote and front line staff in waste management and recycling teams.

Flintshire County Council is the unitary local authority for the present-day Welsh administrative county of Flintshire, one of the administrative subdivisions of Wales. The Council is responsible for services such as education, waste management and strategic planning in the area. Like all councils operating in today’s economic climate, the council’s focus is on delivering its services to the community as efficiently as possible. It as recently invested in hfx’s Imperago solution to manage staff working hours for its 350 front line waste management and recycling staff. Since implementing the solution the council is able to better manage working hours for its remote teams, and with the efficiency gains the system is on track to deliver substantial savings and improved staff availability in the first year.

Cloud solution provides flexibility for remote workers

A long standing user of hfx’s working hours recording and management solution across the authority, the Council knew that hfx could deliver the working solution that it was looking for to record working hours for its employees working remotely. As a modern and flexible Council they needed to find a time recording solution that better fitted with the requirements of the front line waste and recycling teams.

They wanted a solution that was powerful enough to deliver the control needed to drive efficiency with remote working teams, but which also had as little an impact as possible on users who have minimal access to systems and little technology experience.

The Council decided that a cloud based solution would provide the flexibility that it required to record hours for staff working across different locations. hfx’s solution has a clear, modern interface that is straightforward to use, with no training required. The Council was also able to further adapt the system to have an alternative PIN security feature, should Identity cards be lost or forgotten. This has facilitated built in reliability in the time recording system to accommodate workers who may lose their cards while out.

In addition to providing control and flexibility, the hfx solution also empowers staff to access their information securely from anywhere with an internet connection.

Efficiency gains translate into improved end user services 

The Council uses hfx’s system to record hours for the staff working across seven locations, covering all the areas of Flintshire. Each site has the new HexOne dedicated touchscreen clocking terminal developed and built by hfx in the UK. Staff members are also able to access the portal remotely from home or smartphone to access and amend personal details, add notes or book leave. Efficiency savings are a key driver for all local authorities and the ability to better manage and control remote teams is already delivering great improvements over the old manual process.

The system is on track to deliver substantial savings by reducing lost hours and improving staff availability in its first year. A key reason for selecting hfx was also the company’s proven experience in working with local authorities and knowledge of the sector. Flintshire Council chose to implement the solution with a phased approach to iron out teething problems as they occurred and found the support provided by the hfx team invaluable throughout the process. The phased implementation also helped users to buy in to the change and has given a strong foundation to move forward with future plans.

Reports ensure optimal working patterns and staff well-being 

As well as providing improved management on a daily basis of recording staff hours, the new solution has provided additional benefits with the built in reporting functionality. The reports help managers to monitor working hours ensuring that they meet European Working Directives while still delivering the key front line services. In addition, the reports from the hfx system help to manage staff sickness and absence, highlighting possible issues and ensuring fair and accurate working patterns, while meeting financial and operational demands. The solution can also help the Council to design automated rotas for optimal workforce planning.

In summary, hfx’s Imperago is helping Flintshire Council to shape its service and highlight issues and trends through powerful and accurate information. Reports can now be quickly generated and distributed to highlight issues and ensure the Council maintains high standards of service delivery to the community

Download case study

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HFX CELEBRATES COMMITMENT TO REAL LIVING WAGE

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HFX starts 2019 accredited as a Living Wage Employer. Our Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at HFX receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.00 in the UK or £10.55 in London. Both rates are significantly higher than the government minimum for over 25s, which currently stands at £7.83 per hour.

HFX is based in the East of England, a region where over a fifth of all jobs (21%) pay less than the real Living Wage – around 484,000 jobs. Despite this, HFX has committed to pay the real Living Wage and deliver a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum. Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 160,000 people and put over £800m extra into the pockets of low paid workers.

Nick Whiteley, CEO said: “As a leading workforce management solutions provider we have a strong commitment to our colleagues and we are delighted to honour this pledge.”

Tess Lanning, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We’re delighted that HFX has joined the movement of over 4,700 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.

“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as IKEA, Heathrow Airport, Barclays, Chelsea and Everton Football Clubs and many more. These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like HFX, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

For more information on HFX click here

To find out more about the Living Wage Foundation visit www.livingwage.org.uk