Updated functionality within EveryOneCloud enables employees to clock in/out from their mobile devices while adding absence reasons which managers can then see on their roll call view.
THE BENEFITS OF A CLOUD SOLUTION:
• Reduced IT costs. Moving to cloud computing
reduces the cost of managing and maintaining
your IT systems
• No IT hardware required
• No installation required
• Access to the system from any location and from
any device including your mobile phone
• Cloud based clocking devices means no network
configuration is required
• Business continuity
• Access to automatic updates
• Disaster recovery – Automatic back ups
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;
- 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.
- Resilient Architecture: Because the application is designed to run on multiple servers there is inbuilt redundancy which reduces unexpected downtime.
- 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;
- 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.
- 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
Working from home is not a new concept, nor simply a tool for dealing with the Coronavirus. Many employers have facilitated home working to various degrees whether ad-hoc, for specific staffing groups or even as a more generic policy for staff.
With the outbreak of Coronavirus, many companies have simply extended their normal home working practices both in terms of the staffing groups or the period of time that staff can be at home.
But we are not in “normal times” and as we move to home working it is becoming abundantly clear that “working from home” also needs to incorporate “Flexible Working” and for very good reasons.
The school closures that have been mandated from the 23rd of March mean that many colleagues will not simply be working from home but also juggling work with looking after their children. Not for a week or two, but perhaps for 12 or more weeks.
Whilst the weekend was traditionally a sacred time to spend with your family, in “CoronaTimes” families will be together the entire week. The trips out at weekends will somewhat disappear as facilities close down and social interaction becomes restricted.
Adapt to stay productive
As parents and families adapt to this new reality, they will be looking to balance their parental responsibilities (which might include a degree of home-schooling) with their work-life. For many there will also be a realisation that children are unlikely to comply with your request for them to quietly study between the hours of 9am to 5pm whilst you attempt to focus on work. Those that try will likely see their levels of frustration and stress reach levels rise to such a degree that they are forced to decide between work or family.
So, organisations need to adapt not just to Home Working, but Flexible Working. For many parents the answer may lie in utilising their hitherto sacred weekends which now have less value, so that they can both look after their children and attend to their work. Colleagues are going to be far more effective at balancing their parental and work commitments over 7 days than the traditional 5.
Those parents who both work from home might take a different approach and take it in turns to look after their children which might mean colleagues have a compressed week, e.g. 3 long days (12 hours) working, with 3 days looking after their children whilst their partner works.
There are many possible patterns of working that enable staff to meet the challenge of Home Working and Home Schooling. But they all require their employer to be flexible. Fortunately, Flexible Working (Flexitime) addresses this challenge. Flexitime is not a new concept and has been around for many years. What is new is the concept of combining these together to ensure staff can be productive and successful during this unprecedented period.
Technology can Help
HR Leaders need to engage with staff and provide flexible working patterns that address their specific circumstances whilst also meeting the needs of the organisation. Essential for success is the need for a Cloud based Workforce Management tool that provides managers and staff with visibility of when their colleagues are working (essential for conferencing and communication) but avoids the associated admin by enabling all colleagues to clock in remotely so that their time is automatically recorded. The combination of flexibility and technology will ensure staff are productive whilst reducing their anxiety and stress. A New World of Work is being forced upon us through these unprecedented times and HR Leaders need to be agile and creative to help lead and navigate their organisation through these rough seas.
The most common challenge for almost every organisation during these “coronatimes” is demand forecasting and resource planning.
Almost every business is effected with some reporting increased demand for their services or product whilst many reporting significant drops in orders.
To add more pressure, the coronavirus is likely to create unprecedented absences of up to 20% of your workforce.
So businesses are having to plan and model the potential for significant fluctuations in demand and the potential that 20% of their workforce will not be available for work.
This requires a significant amount of modelling and analysis. Just creating one model can take as long as a week to produce, but with such uncertainty around the impact of coronavirus there is a need for many models with differing assumptions. As the picture becomes clearer these models need updating based on revised assumptions and estimates.
Planning for the future has never been so precarious and now more than ever is the need for instant analysis, modelling and assessments.
Two frequent questions are;
What if my business suffers a 30% reduction in orders? How many staff would I need, what shift patterns would they work to cover gaps in delivery?
What if 20% of my staff were off sick at any one time? What shift patterns make the most of the remaining staff, how many staff would I need to cover 20% absence over the next 3 months?
These complex calculations require more than a knowledge of the business, they require a tool that can rapidly provide detailed analysis, costing and optimised shift patterns based on the requirements or predictions provided. Some tools take months to implement and require extensive training and configuration.
However, HFX has developed “Workforce Design” that not only can be implemented in a day, provides real-time analysis of “what if” predictions and during these coronatimes, HFX is offering a consultant lead remote session using the tool to model your scenarios for you, eliminating the need for any training. The other benefit to business is that this service (time limited) will provide you with a 50 page analytics report (produced by Workforce Design) and guidance for a fixed price without the need for subscription or any on-going cost.