‘Tis the Season for Workforce Management User Conferences

by | Aug 23, 2011

While you’re preparing for the upcoming holidays, three workforce management vendors held their annual user event over the last two weeks.  Axsium had representatives at all three events, and I thought I’d take a few minutes to summarize our observations.


Empower and Innovate 2010


Empower Software Solutions held their annual user conference on November 4 and 5.  Several hundred Empower customers descended on the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, to learn about the latest developments from the software provider.


For those not familiar with Empower, they are a put-together of several human capital management-related solutions. Their offerings include payroll, tax, time and attendance, and workforce management.  There workforce management solution comes from the team that developed one of retail’s first widely used WFM solution People Planner.


What impressed me most about Empower’s user conference were the customer comments.  Every customer that I spoke with was incredibly positive about what Empower delivers.  The comments from one of Empower’s tax customers summed up the sentiment that I heard.   She said, “Sure, there are features that I’d love to see in the product but those are nice-to-have’s.  The product does exactly what I need it to do today.  It works.” 


The WFM sessions were retail-oriented and primarily focused on the product.  With that said, Empower did offer sessions on best practices for labor scheduling at large retailers and another on the ins-and-outs of labor standards.


KronosWorks 2010


Kronos hosted more than 1,000 customers at KronosWorks 2010.  The event was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from November 7 to 10.


As with previous KronosWorks, the event included dozens of customer-led session that covered best practices and their experiences with Kronos products.  The keynote speaker was former Secretary of Labor Robert S. Reich who discussed the global economy and the latest election’s impacts on our recovery from the Great Recession.  Attendees received Mr. Reich’s latest book “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future” and a new book from the Workforce Institute titled “Creating The Workforce and Results You Seek”.


Kronos always does a great job encouraging networking between customers and this year was no different.  Everybody’s lanyards were color coded to help identify the industry that they are affiliated with, and meal tables were similarly color coded.  This encourages attendees with similar interests and backgrounds to meet, greet and learn from one another.


The company has been very busy over the last year releasing new versions of Workforce Central (6.2), HRMS/Payroll (6.2), Workforce Acquisition (8.7) and iSeries Central (6.1).  In fact, according to Kronos CEO Aron Ain, the company has released more products in the last 12 months than any previous 12-month period in the history of the company.


Chris Flanders summarized his impressions of Workforce Central 6.2 and other observations from KronosWorks on Axsium’s healthcare blog.  I encourage you to read it as Chris covers more details of the Next Generation User Interface (NGUI) and their current take on mobile workforce management among other topics. 


Vision 2010


Last but not least, WorkForce Software held Vision 2010 from November 7 to 11 at the Gaylord Palm Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.  This was WorkForce Software’s first user conference in its 11 year history.


The event was well-attended and the attendees stayed actively engaged during all four days.  WorkForce Software also leveraged many social media channels to keep users that couldn’t attend the event abreast of the latest happenings.  Twitter, their corporate blog, the Voice of HR blog and the WorkForce Software User Community on LinkedIn were among those outlets to carry news from the show.


Familiar names from the HR community were present.  Jim Holincheck from Gartner discussed the state of the workforce management market.  Bill Kutik, columnist and HR Technology Conference organizer, moderated a customer panel.  Lisa Disselkamp of Athena Enterprises and author of WFM book “No Boundaries:  How to Use Time and Labor Management Technology to Win the Race for Profits and Productivity” talked about how to break down the silos in an organization to make workforce management truly strategic.


WorkForce Software announced Absence Compliance Tracker (ACT) and Fatigue Management for EmpCenter 8.0 at Vision.  ACT automates complex leave management issues, automating over 300 federal, state and local compliance regulations and processes. 


Fatigue Management was introduced in 2009 to help nuclear power plant operators comply with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Fitness for Duty Regulations which put strict controls over working and non-working time for their employees.  Now, this functionality has been normalized for other markets helping managers avoid overworking employees and going beyond work-hour limits.


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Were you able to attend any of these conferences or were you locked down with holiday planning.  If you were there, I’d love to hear your impression of these events.  If you weren’t I’m happy to help answer any questions you might have about them.  Feel free to email me either way.

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