Workforce Solutions Review

Sharing a recent publication from Ingentis.
Author: Christine König, Ingentis

HR Technologies for the Multi-Generational Workforce

HR technologies of today and tomorrow must be flexible and responsive to the largest demographic groups, Generation Y (millenials) and Generation Z. Gen Y, aged from early 20s to early 30s, grew up with many new technologies and they can be characterized by their need for flexible working arrangements. An intensification of these characteristics is represented in their successors, Gen Z. Born in the mid-1990s and later, most of Gen Z will be entering the workplace within the next few years and have an even closer bond to technologies and social networking than Gen Y. They have high expectations from all technology since they have grown up with mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets.

You can download the publication here.


A Recap of HR 2014

-By Ganpy

As with every year, the first conference in the calendar is always exciting for us. And that too as an exhibitor.  The HR 2014 conference in Orlando held was the first scheduled conference for us. And needless to add, we were planning for this with so much fervor and eagerness, during the past couple of months leading up to the conference. Ingentis GmbH, our partners, were also with us at the conference and we had a great time in Orlando for a week. The below is a quick recap of my experiences from the conference both as an SAP HCM practitioner and as an Exhibitor.

As an SAP HCM practitioner

SAP, after the acquisition of SuccessFactors has definitely been very aggressive in pushing cloud HR solutions in the last year or so. But since the penetration of on-premise SAP HCM has been pretty deep already, it has been and will continue to be a challenge for SAP to get every customer onboard with cloud. They have been reasonably successful till now, in getting all their customers’ ears, but what is also true is that many of the customers are probably doing this, merely because they don’t know how else to react.  Having said that, I believe that SAP on-premise solutions will continue to dominate in the near future, while more and more customers, for the fear of being left out and also due to peer pressure in the industry, will simply purchase SuccessFactors Employee Central and start playing around with the landscape it offers. I for one, expect more discussions in the marketplace and perhaps some confusion as to what is the right strategy for every customer. This also means, some consultants will be busier than the rest, while the general overall HCM consulting landscape will continue to dwindle. In this context, for me, as an SAP HCM practitioner, this conference was particularly interesting to see what kind of mindset customers were in and how the conference & the many educational sessions were going to help them answer some of their questions. I did talk to many customers and I also had some knowledge exchange discussions with fellow HCM practitioners in the market. I met with some companies with interesting new solutions to augment HR systems, much like what Cogent IBS and Ingentis are doing.

Here are my takeaways:

  • There is lot of angst amongst customers
  • The options available for a regular SAP HCM customer are too many that it is not very clear what the best option is for someone at a given point of time
SAP HCM Options

SAP HCM Options

  • There is more acceptance of cloud for HR than a couple of years ago
  • Majority of the customers have either already bought SuccessFactors or are going to in the near future. But how far they will use EC and ECP is an unknown
  • From a consulting standpoint, many established consultants are very optimistic with these changes while some are not, but the universal consensus is that SAP HR consulting will never be the same and the net monetary effect on the consulting industry will actually be negative
  • SuccessFactors has come a long way from being a standalone Talent Management solution to being the center of the HR universe
  • In about 24 months, we will know if SAP’s SuccessFactors bet actually worked or not

As an Exhibitor

Alright. Now, to the more interesting aspect for me in this blog post, that is to share our experiences as an Exhibitor. If you were part of the mailing list, you would have received some of our pre-conference campaigns and you would have noticed that our concept for HR 2014 was “HR Anywhere”. Our main objective was to showcase  our mPower HCM suite of apps – mPower mD, mPower mE, mPower mM, DynaMeet and Ingentis org.manager & distribution.list. In addition, we were also trying to highlight our Mobility consulting and HCM consulting services.

Set Up

Booth Set Up – 1

Booth Set up - Done

Booth Set up – Done

On Monday, the Cogent-Ingentis team (Ganpy, Sean, XP and Markos) finished setting up the booth. And on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the conference (March 11, 12 and 13 2014), we were there bright and early at the venue, to get things started.

At the Booth - Day 1

At the Booth – Day 1

The below are some pictures from our booth.

At the Booth - Day 1

At the Booth – Day 2

Day 3

Day 3

Day 1 was certainly the busiest, as we met several customers and other conference attendees stop by. As the conference continued to gain some momentum, we were able to get the attention we wanted to and bring some traffic to the booth.

Overall, here are some takeaways from the conference as an exhibitor:

  • The general interest for highly easy to use HR Mobile solutions is high
  • In spite of several HR apps being available in the mobile marketplace, there is no single app that gives user experience the importance it deserves
  • Our mE (ESS) and mM (MSS) apps certainly got the most attention
  • There were at least 5 or 6 potential customers who showed particular interest in these mE apps and we hope to follow up with them in the coming weeks
  • There were some interesting leads for Ingentis as well (for org.manager)
  • mPower mD as an augmented solution for Ingentis org.manager probably was not messaged well during this conference but we hope to do a better job of that in the next conference
  • The idea of selling a standalone Mobile Directory was a bit of a challenge in an SAP conference. But interestingly there were customers who wanted to hear a bit more about Employee Engagement, when we brought that up. As our mD solution continues to evolve, I am sure this is something we will keep in mind

After we dismantled our booth and packed our booth materials on Day 3, we couldn’t help but agree that the conference went by too fast. We had ups and downs throughout the conference and the kind of team we had made it all worth. There were probably a few things that the conference organizers could have done differently to accommodate more exhibitor friendly schedules, but there is never a perfect schedule in such conferences.

So, Thanks to the wonderful team from Wispubs/SAP Insider for putting together a great conference.

We should also acknowledge and thank our partners from Ingentis, especially Markos, for all the help & support they provided for the conference.

Now that we are back at our home bases, we hope to carry forward the momentum we gathered at HR 2014, Orlando.

The next stop will be Nice, France. See you soon! Oui. Oui.

HR 2013 – Our experience

HR 2013 – Our exprience

(By Ganpy)

The set-up…

When Sean and I arrived in Vegas on the 24th, we were a bit apprehensive. Wouldn’t we be? We had this humongous pressure of making sure our booth set up went well the next day. This was our first time setting up a booth with a sort of magnetic display and there were several unknowns around what parts we could be missing, etc. So as much we would have liked to have a quiet and a relaxed Sunday evening, it turned out to be just quiet.

The next day, when we arrived at the venue (Hotel Bellagio), our partners and our neighbors for 3 days, Michael and Markos from Ingentis were already there. In fact, they were already done with most of their booth set up. In hindsight, that turned out to be good. Thanks to them, we were able to speed up our process of setting up our booth. With a couple of pauses, we were done with our booth set up by around 2 PM and the only thing that was left at that time was the monitor which hadn’t arrived yet.

It took us another 3-4 hours before we mounted the monitor, et al. Phew.

Our Booth - After the monitor is mounted

Our Booth – After the monitor is mounted

So thus it all began. We were officially ready for HR2013.

The fun..

Both Sean and I needed just 10-15 minutes to get into the groove of things on Day 1. This is normally the case in any exhibition environment. You need some time to get used to your surroundings, your booth neighbors, the general atmosphere, the logistics of things in and around, etc. But this time it was a bit different because we were offering pictures at the booth along with a raffle draw. This surely was an entertaining way to get people to interact with us. We met some potential customers, who were genuinely interested in knowing what “mHR” was all about and those who showed keen interest in our mobility offerings.

Needless to say, Day 1 was the busiest day, with Day 2 and Day 3 were progressively less active in terms of the number of people who stopped by our booth to enquire about our Mobility offerings. Overall, we met some really good customers, who we think will benefit from our mobility offerings specially our “mPower HCM App suite”.

For more information on our mPower App Suite and to learn more about our current Mobility offerings, you may refer to our Mobility page.

The take aways…

HR 2013 was all about two things:

1) SuccessFactors

2) Mobility

  • We were glad and excited to showcase one of the above 2 much talked about topics at the conference.
  • The excitement for Enterprise Mobility is real, while it is true that most customers still do not know how to go about implementing their enterprise wide mobility strategy.
  • The scope for our Corporate Directory app is enormous. We just need to find the right message to get across so that more customers can get a feel for some of the unique features we bring along with our product and how working with Cogent to get a mobile solution like this to their enterprise will actually prove beneficial compared to a few other options they may have. I am sure this will happen in due course of time.
  • We need to continue to focus on the most commonly felt pain areas within HR functions, where mobilizing those would improve the overall efficiency of the processes.
  • Customers still need a lot of guidance and help right from choosing the right architecture for mobilizing their HR functions to deciding what functions they should mobilize to achieve the maximum ROI.
To conclude, we learned a lot by being an exhibitor because this gave us an opportunity to interact with customers across many industries face to face and to understand their day to day challenges, in a more hands-on environment.
It would be an understatement to say that Cogent IBS is in for a successful and an energizing ride in the Enterprise Mobility space.
Here are a few more pictures:
Our Neighbors from Ingentis - Markos and Michael

Our Neighbors from Ingentis –
Markos and Michael

Sean, Ganpy, Michael and Markos

Sean, Ganpy, Michael and Markos

Mobilizing your workforce

This will be the future

[Author: Nataraj Ganapathy (Ganpy), Principal at Cogent IBS Inc. & an SAP HCM Expert with over 17 years of industry experience]

If you are from the HR industry, I am sure you must have come across this phrase quite often. Specially, in the past couple of years. The era of smart phones and tablets have certainly brought a new dimension to our professional lives giving most of us a sense of blurring division between our work and personal lives.

But it’s not all bad. In fact, that blurring division is what I think could make our personal lives function more effectively, if we know how to balance our priorities. Some of the old schoolers may not agree with me. To me, whether you like the idea of this blurring division or not, it is here to stay and it is probably going to get more and more blurry in the coming years.

Mobility and HCM

Making some of the common HR functions available on mobile devices is not a revolutionary idea. It is merely an extension of what the market demands specifically in the HR domain. SAP itself has jumped on the bandwagon and has come out with a few apps of their own.
And there are a few other companies out there in the market today that develop mobile apps for SAP HR core business processes so that an organization’s workforce that are on the move have access to them wherever they are. In essence, anywhere, anytime access to basic HR functions.

There is enough proof out there already that confirms our belief, that empowering your workforce with such applications will increase productivity both in the short run and in the long run.

Here are some examples of HR functions where mobile applications when available could increase the productivity of your organization’s mobile workforce.

  • Employee Lookup Or Corporate Directory – Ability to pull employee contact details and some other basic information including reporting structure.
  • Leave Requests – Letting employees enter their leave requests and follow-up based on manager approvals/rejections
  • Time sheets – Weekly/Daily time entry
  • Travel Requests – Letting employees enter their travel requests and follow-up based on manager approvals/rejections
  • Approvals – Time sheet approvals, leave request/travel request approvals
  • Travel Expenses – Ability to enter travel expenses including automatic receipt imports/capture and be able to submit them for approval

The above are just a few commonly used HR functions by most of a company’s workforce.
If some or all of the above functions are available on mobile devices with a well thought out design and flow, imagine the kind of flexibility that your mobile workforce will derive from this.

This brings us back to the question of blurring division between work and personal lives, as with the advent of such mobile apps on your smart phones & tablets, some may feel that work is going to tend to expand to fill your living rooms and bed rooms, as you now are able to execute functions & transactions that you once were able to do only when you are at your desk in the office.

As a result, In my opinion, what will really blur in future is not so much the division between your work and personal lives, but really the very concept of ‘your office’ or ‘your desk’.

Good or Bad, this not going to be a choice for the future. This will be the future.

Embrace it and get ready to mobilize your workforce.