Small and Mid-size Organizations: Making the Technology-Performance Connection in Workforce Management Sponsored by: Kronos, Incorporated

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1 Laurie McCabe, Partner Sanjeev Aggarwal, Partner Top Takeaways Small and Mid-size Organizations: Making the Technology-Performance Connection in Sponsored by: Kronos, Incorporated Small and mid-sized organizations that invest more in technology solutions are 86% more likely to expect revenue growth than peers with flat or decreasing IT investments. Cloud computing is becoming the new normal for deploying workforce management solutions and is sometimes the only practical option. Small and mid-sized organizations show strong adoption and plans for mobile solutions such as time management and payroll. Integrated solutions become an increasingly important priority as employee size, complexity and data volumes grow. Workforce management solutions with user-friendly and integrated reporting and analytics help front-line managers move from instinct to evidence-based decision-making. Combining the best of cloud, mobile, integration and analytics capabilities provides a more direct route to business benefit than standalone tools. Are cloud computing, big data, mobile and integration just technology buzzwords, or can they help your business? The answer is that these trends really are reshaping the ways organizations operate. Forwardthinking decision-makers in small and mid-sized organizations realize that although core business goals such as improving financial performance remain constant, the means to achieve them are changing. Small and mid-size organizations are evaluating how to apply new technologies to do more with less. They are streamlining business processes, controlling costs and getting the insights they need to make better decisions. With the right solutions, they can free up their best and brightest people to focus on core business goals instead of labor-intensive administrative tasks. 1 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

2 Figure 1: Increased IT Investments Pay Off for Small and Mid-sized Organizations This path pays big dividends. SMB Group has identified Progressive small and mid-sized organizations ( employees) as those that view technology as a key business enabler and invest more in technology-based solutions than their peers. Notably, Progressive organizations are much more likely to anticipate revenue growth than peers with flat or decreasing IT investments (Figure 1). Workforce management solutions that combine the best of cloud, mobile, integration and analytics technologies can help small and midsized organizations grow even as the pace of change accelerates. SECTION 1: CLOUD COVER EXPANDS Cloud computing (also known as software as a service or SaaS) makes it possible for organizations of any size to take advantage of sophisticated workforce management solutions. This is particularly important for small and mid-sized organizations, which often lack the resources to deploy and manage these solutions in-house. The cloud model eliminates the need for big up-front capital investments, specialized IT staff or long deployment times. Instead of deploying and managing systems at your site, cloud computing vendors take care of IT infrastructure, applications, and ongoing management and support for you. Most vendors offer cloud solutions as a pay-as-you-go subscription service. This gives cloud customers a predictable, low-cost, low-risk on-ramp to automate many business functions. 2 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

3 In addition, cloud computing vendors can scale computing resources up or down as the customer s needs require. The cloud offers other advantages, too, including: Real-time information access to help everyone get on the same page and collaborate more effectively on tasks and projects Smaller, more frequent updates than in the on-premises software model, where annual megareleases dominate, making it easier for customers to stay current and benefit from new functionality Frees up internal IT resources to focus on other, more strategic projects Figure 2: Cloud Becomes the New Normal For these reasons and more, cloud computing is quickly becoming the new normal for many small and mid-sized organizations (Figure 2). Sometimes it s the only feasible option to deploy and manage workforce management solutions. With cloud computing solutions, organizations quickly can gain real-time visibility to manage time and attendance, scheduling, payroll, benefits and more. Because everyone can access the solution over the web, everyone gets the same real-time information. Having a clear view of this information across departments and locations helps managers accomplish key goals, such as improving scheduling, reducing overtime and ensuring more accurate payroll. 3 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

4 SECTION 2: SMALL AND MID-SIZED ORGANIZATIONS OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE COMPUTING 68% of small and mid-sized organizations now view mobile solutions as critical to their businesses, as shown in Figure 3. Figure 3: SMB Mobile Adoption and Perspectives 84% of small and mid-size organizations already use mobile collaboration apps such as , calendars and contacts. Now, many are starting to optimize mobile for business-critical functions, including workforce management tasks such as time management, expense management and payroll. It s easy to see why. Mobile solutions are convenient. You can use them when and where you need to, without having to get back to the desk, factory floor or station. Remote workers can enter hours, view schedule changes or submit vacation requests from anywhere, at any time, which helps keep information updated and accurate. Managers have immediate access to monitor and manage employee activities, scheduling and payroll. Mobile workforce solutions can help organizations save time and money. For example, with GPSenabled time-tracking mobile solutions, field personnel can track time on their mobile devices at the job site. Supervisors gain peace of mind that employees are where they re supposed to be, and organizations have the information needed to accurately validate time and bill customers and avoid costly chargebacks. 4 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

5 SECTION 3: INTEGRATION BECOMES A TOP PRIORITY Using disparate applications and databases that don t talk to each other has always drained productivity, wasted time and led to errors. Although very small companies may be able to limp along by manually importing and exporting data among different systems, this approach doesn t scale. As businesses and data volumes grow, time and productivity drains compound, and the potential for errors multiplies. At a certain point, the problem shifts from nuisance to nightmare. Therefore, it s not surprising that integration becomes an increasingly important priority as the number of employees increases (Figure 4). As data stores grow, organizations need a single, automated and integrated workforce management system for accurate and consistent scheduling, time card review, payroll and benefits administration. With an integrated system, managers can make more confident day-to-day operational decisions and long-term plans. Figure 4: Integrated Solutions Become More Important as Organizations Grow However, many small and mid-sized organizations lack the time, personnel or budgets to flip the switch and move all workforce management functions to a comprehensive suite at the same time. These organizations need to take an incremental yet integrated approach. Although time and attendance may be the initial driver for a new solution, organizations want to be able to easily add integrated modules for payroll, HR and other areas as it makes sense for their business. Integration requirements are becoming even more important as organizations with 50 or more full-time employees prepare for the January 1, 2015 Affordable Care Act (ACA) deadline. Having a single, automated and integrated system in place will make it easier to develop a proactive strategy to manage ACA compliance and costs, calculate employee eligibility for coverage, and create the audit trail necessary to document ACA compliance. 5 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

6 SECTION 4: THE BIG GAP IN BIG DATA GROWS Many people think that big data is only a problem for big companies. However, almost all organizations, regardless of size, are overwhelmed by trying to make sense of growing data volumes. If you can t effectively manage, analyze and act on your data, you have a big data problem. As discussed in Section 3, an integrated, consistent view of reliable workforce data is the foundation for building data value. But once the data is organized, you need reporting and analysis tools to extract value from it. Without the means to easily understand, analyze, report and act on critical information, you end up relying on gut instinct rather than evidence for decision-making. You can easily miss opportunities or fail to identify small problems before they mushroom into big ones. Many small and mid-sized organizations are planning new investments in the analytics and business intelligence space to help address these issues (Figure 5). The problem is that many don t have the appetite or budget to add specialized analytics on top of workforce management solutions. Even if they have the budget, they probably don t have the IT staff and data analysts to configure, run and analyze data to make the information actionable for business users. Figure 5: Planned Purchases of Business Intelligence/ Analytics Solutions Integrated workforce management solutions with embedded analytics help overcome these problems. In addition to providing standard reports and dashboards, they are designed to give business users the ability to create custom reports without assistance from IT or data experts. Users can also create permissions to share reports in different formats, and to invite others to view the data for collaborative problem solving. These capabilities bring data to life. Instead of relying on anecdotal information and instincts, managers can make decisions based on the facts. Armed with real-time visibility into areas such as labor costs, hours worked, scheduling, and time and attendance, organizations can operate more efficiently and competitively. 6 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

7 SUMMARY AND PERSPECTIVE Today small and mid-sized organizations face many challenges in the workforce management area, including inaccurate and outdated data, time-draining manual processes, limited resources and increasingly complex regulations. Trying to increase productivity, control labor costs and meet compliance requirements with outdated processes and systems is an uphill and, ultimately, a losing battle. With the gap between technology haves and have-nots growing, it s time to take a critical look at current workforce management processes and tools to determine what needs to change. But putting these technologies to work for your business shouldn t mean you have to become a technology wonk. Focus your energy on thoroughly articulating your organization s pain points. Then put vendors to the test so you can assess which solutions will most capably address your requirements. Look for solutions that take advantage of cloud, integration, mobile and analytics technologies, and have the solutions and bandwidth to help you solve not only for your immediate needs, but for new requirements as they arise. The right workforce management solution will help you do more with less, and do a better job today and well into the future. 7 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

8 SMB GROUP, INC. The SMB Group focuses exclusively on researching and analyzing the highly fragmented SMB market which is comprised of many smaller, more discrete markets. Within the SMB market, SMB Group areas of focus include: Emerging Technologies, Cloud Computing, Managed Services, Business and Marketing Applications, Collaboration and Social Media Solutions, IT Infrastructure Management and Services and Green IT. Read our 2014 Top Ten SMB Technology Trends for our views on game-changers in these and other areas of the SMB market. 8 SMB Group, Inc. January 2014

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