It’s probably no surprise that this year’s conference was focused squarely on Workforce Dimensions. Having said that, there are still a fair number of Kronos customers using other products like Workforce Central, Workforce Ready, and Telestaff, so there were sessions on a variety of topics and platforms.
The opening session kicked off with the introduction of the next evolution of the timeclock at Kronos, the InTouch DX. Available immediately for Dimensions, and sometime in early 2020 for Workforce Central, the InTouch DX has a lot of technology improvements that allow it to function more like a kiosk portal for the employees. Since the original InTouch has now been around for almost a decade, the refreshed design was well received. Customers who are still replacing their 4500s can take this opportunity to skip a generation of clocks and jump straight to the InTouch DX.
From the dozen or so breakout sessions I attended this year, several developments stand out to me as being worth sharing:
- In the first session I attended on Digital Transformation, there was a particularly good quote about change management. John Frehse, of Ankura Consulting, said “Alignment has a half-life.” That resonated with me as an important thing to remember on projects. Creating a strategy to align the organization to change is not a one-time task, and stakeholder buy-in can wane over time. Your approach to winning over stakeholders and managing organizational change must remain agile so you can make course corrections on a rolling basis.
- When thinking about Workforce Dimensions implementations, IT must be careful in how they think about performance testing. There is a distinct difference between benchmarking and load-testing.
- Benchmarking is something that Kronos engineering does in order to tune the platform and set expectations for performance. For WFC, Kronos has traditionally published a gray paper available to customers to see the results of that benchmarking. Kronos also performs benchmarking on Dimensions, although those results are not yet being published for customers.
- Load-testing is the process of generating transactions against a tenant configured for a specific customer to see if they have any bottlenecks based on their desired usage and business rules. This is a new service offering that is becoming available and consists of running a load into a UAT-completed sandbox tenant to see how the configuration performs.
Obviously, when it comes to production Dimensions tenants for a customer, the overall performance for an end user will be impacted by a myriad of factors, including the end user PCs, the corporate network, and the other “neighbors” in the multi-tenant stack.
- In terms of integrating Dimensions with other software products, there are multiple options available to customers. Dell Boomi provides an integration tool that can be supported by KGS, replaces WFC’s WIM, and utilizes the Dimensions APIs.
Kronos has a vision that Dimensions will be a workforce management platform, and the Dimensions APIs are the extensibility mediums to enable that platform concept. Practically speaking, that means that customers can also go directly against the Dimensions APIs for passing data bi-directionally, separate from Boomi. There is a robust documentation of the APIs within Dimensions to help customers extend it into a true platform. My team at Axsium has built a set of applications for Dimensions customers for this very purpose! We call them “AID Tools”.
- In what was one of the most information-filled sessions I went to, two lawyers from Seyfarth Shaw LLP went through a litany of employment law related changes, trends, and upcoming decisions that impact everything from FLSA OT qualifications to unionization and gig economy employees to predictive scheduling laws. There are so many nuances from a legal perspective to be aware of. I’m not sure how Kronos customers today combine staying on top of legal requirements with their WFM system configuration and usage!
- In a session on mobile access to Dimensions, we talked about the challenges of geofencing as it impacts PCs as well as mobile devices and how the Dimensions UI is truly independent of the client platform. One of the roadmap items that caught my eye was that R6 will include the ability to perform IP whitelisting. I had two big takeaways from this session:
- The Dimensions mobile app is really only necessary when you need app-type functions like “offline punching” and “push notifications”. These are obviously functions that cannot exist in browser access. However, outside of those specialized functions, the app’s only meaningful edge is the convenience of having it on your phone’s home screen. The mobile browser has full functionality in Dimensions.
- Organizations needs to come to terms with the fact that access is everywhere. Dimensions can be used on a phone, a laptop, or a tablet – none of which have fixed locations like a desktop PC. Trying to implement IP whitelisting is going to be a maintenance nightmare. Even geofencing can be problematic, and it does not work in three dimensions for multi-story locations. We are two decades into the 21st It is time to realign our thinking about access from locations to business and personal needs.
- Finally, the session that had the highest level of attendee engagement with the speakers that I went to was the Save Mart session on their journey to Dimensions and Opus (Axsium’s very own labor standards management platform). Mike Farago from Save Mart talked about real world challenges, solutions, and benefits realized in the grocery chain’s scheduling and budgeting processes with the Opus-Dimensions integrations for labor standards management. Hearing that story not only grabbed the attendees’ attention (with head nodding, questions, and slide photos) but also made me proud to be a part of Axsium, where we can make that kind of impact with our customers.
See you all next year!