KronosWorks Post Conference Thoughts

by | Aug 5, 2011

KronosWorks Post Conference Thoughts

The Kronos annual user conference just wrapped on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Axsium was there, of course, as we are a Kronos services partner, and while everything is still fresh in my mind, I wanted to pass on to all of you some of my thoughts coming away from the event and solicit your comments below.

First of all – the NGUI (next generation user interface). I gotta say: It looks slick. I’m very impressed with design work that has gone into making it a quick in-and-out place to go to deal with day-to-day staffing and managing timecard exceptions. One of the features I noticed that to me made it more usable for a hospital staffer specifically (versus what I saw last year) was the ability to grow or shrink the number of employee rows and/or number of days being viewed with intuitive arrow buttons.

On the other hand, the NGUI doesn’t look to me like a place to go to build schedules. Or a place to dig through Genies or perform payroll signoffs. That means that it’s not a place you are going to spend large chunks of time – so it’s good that it is designed for quick and easy use. I wonder if users are going to like it, attracted to the simplistic look and feel, and then be frustrated that they can’t do the advanced functions that they have in the traditional timecard and Genies. I suspect that there is a point of balance to be found with which UI will get the majority of use, driven the by business processes and requirements.

Kronos also showed off their mobile apps, which are planned for release in 2011 for v6.2. These were also cool and everything I saw looked intuitive. But this might be a mixed bag too – even though I personally run my life with my iPhone (about half of this blog was written on it!), my wife makes phone calls with her phone…and nothing else. And we are from the same generation – just with different levels of comfort with technology and, frankly, different levels of desire to take advantage of technology. I suspect that there are large groups of people out there who have no interest whatsoever in being more “wired.” This cultural divide over technology usage is not just related to WFM apps, but I think we’ll see some of those cultural ideologies clash over the mobile apps when Kronos makes them available next year.

Also, with my IT background, I instantly wondered about the implications of putting employee’s personal smart phones on the network at work and if that is a good thing, not to mention the technical support that will be required. That bridge is being crossed already in some hospitals as pagers are being replaced with smart phones. (A recent article in CIO Magazine talks about those challenges.) I think that these issues will be worked out regardless of the adoption of WFM smart phone apps, but early adopters may be faced with a bumpier road than expected.

Other things that caught my attention related to v6.2:

-For Scheduling and WIM, two modules that I follow very closely, there are not a lot of new features. It mostly seemed like Kronos has taken all the service packs and patches from v6.1 and bundled them altogether as part of v6.2, along with the NGUI. Hopefully that means that the version will be very stable from the get-go, but it’s a little disappointing if you were waiting for new functionality, especially in Scheduling.

-There are some cool improvements in core Timekeeping – most notable to me was the change to Rollup Genies. Now they show actual worked hours instead of what they showed before – a sum of all hours worked by anyone associated with the labor account, regardless of where the hours were worked. Other functionality that my colleagues were excited about included automation of the “missing time” functions and the separation in the FAPs between “move” and “edit” pay codes.

-The HR/Payroll product has had its user interface integrated into the core WFC UI, meaning that you can seamlessly move between the two with navigation tabs. And there are a number of new workflow templates that are now provided related to HR and Payroll.

And speaking of HR/Payroll…

UPGRADE ALERT: If you are currently on HR/Payroll v6.0, you must upgrade to either v6.1 or v6.2 by the end of 2011. The last quarterly legislative update for v6.0 will be released in September 2011 and customers will not be able to process year end without upgrading first.

As a general observation of the conference, although I don’t know if this was just my experience, there seemed to be a networking vibe at this conference. For the first time, I actually spent more time in the exhibition hall talking with other customers than I did in sessions, and most of the people I talked with were evaluating upgrades, looking at new modules to implement, or had just upgraded or implemented and were trying to get up to speed. That made for many lively conversations as customers shared their experiences and opinions with each other. I was asked to talk about the absence management modules – Leave and Attendance – more than once and I came away from those conversations with the distinct feeling that those customers were wanting to take advantage of the product but wanting to go about it in a smart way and not just do a generic implementation. From my perspective, that is the smartest way to approach it!

Next year’s conference is back in Orlando, although not at a Disney hotel. I’m already looking forward to seeing how v6.2 gets adopted and hearing what are the new user innovations that are discovered.

Were you at KronosWorks? What were your thoughts & impressions? Are you excited about where the product is going? Post your thoughts in the comments below or email me.

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