Five days are normally too long to spend in Las Vegas, even when you’re with a small group of close friends. However, the five days I spent in Vegas with 3,000 WFM professionals a couple of weeks ago seemed too short. Of course, I wasn’t there to gamble or party like a rock star (although there was some of those things); I was there for KronosWorks.
KronosWorks is Kronos’ annual user conference. This year marked the 15th anniversary of the event and the 35th anniversary of Kronos. It was Kronos’ largest user conference to date and included hundreds of customer sessions, a bevy of product announcements and great networking opportunities.
The entire event is too much to cover in one blog post. So, instead, I’ll focus on three products that I found particularly interesting.
Kronos Workforce Tablet
By far and away, the sexiest thing I saw at KronosWorks was their new iPad application. Kronos Workforce Tablet truly untethers the manager by blending the convenience of a mobile device with the screen real estate and computing power offered by a tablet.
A simple example is scheduling. Until now, managers have had to return to a PC to edit the schedule. Now, managers can pull up a graphical version of the schedule on his/her iPad and make edits directly from the touchscreen.
The native iOS application takes advantage of location-based services to recognize the user’s physical location, and sets the context for the application accordingly. Imagine a district manager that moves from location to location throughout the day. As he/she moves from one location to another, the application will switch locations allowing quick access to the current location’s employees, schedules, etc.
Kronos also demonstrated a pre-release version of Tablet Analytics which brings dashboards to the tablet and allows for unprecedented collaboration. In the demonstration I saw, users could annotate the screen, drawing attention to certain metrics and then email a picture of the dashboard with his/her annotations to others. Kronos said that the initial release of Kronos Workforce Tablet Analytics will be available by the end of the calendar year.
Kronos Workforce Task Management
Yes, Kronos finally released their retail task management solution. This was a long-time coming, and as I tweeted, it was probably the worst kept secret in the workforce management industry. Nevertheless, it is out now. This is great news for Kronos retail customers looking for a task management solution that is integrated with their WFM solution.
The initial release is, well, an initial release. It does the basics. With it, you can create tasks, gatekeepers can approve for distribution to store, manage the in-store execution of tasks, and verify that the tasks were completed back at corporate.
There is a decent set of features, but as one retailer said to me, “This is less robust than what the leading task vendors can do.” Yes, that’s true, but not all retailers need the complexity associated some of the more mature task management solutions. For these retailers and for retailers that want something that is an integrated part of the Workforce Central platform, it probably does enough in its first release, and from the sounds of it, Kronos has a clear roadmap for its future capabilities.
The third product I wanted to mention is less of a product than a delivery method, and it is not so much a “new product” as something that has matured over the last couple of years. Kronos Cloud is a collection of services that Kronos offers to host and manage their software for their clients. This is an attractive option for many companies that want the benefit of Kronos without the need to manage it themselves.
What caught my attention about Kronos Cloud was not the offering (every vendor has a cloud offering ) but its penetration. During the opening session, Kronos’ CEO Aron Ain said that more than 6,000 customers use Kronos Cloud. Now, not all of these are Workforce Central customers, but the volume is impressive. It shows that Kronos has built a scalable and stable infrastructure to reliably host customers of all sizes.
So, that’s my wrap-up of KronosWorks 2012. Did you attend KronosWorks? If so, I’m interested to hear what your thoughts were. Did you see other new products that interested you? Any disappointments? Leave a comment below or email me at [email protected].