February 06, 2011

Custom Self-Service Kiosks Help Avanti Markets Offer Lunchtime Alternatives

Hickory, N.C.-based Avanti Markets uses a revolutionary self-checkout kiosk designed specifically for use in business and industry convenience stores. Customers simply pick out the items that they would like to purchase, scan the UPC symbol at the kiosk and pay for them using cash, credit cards or the Avanti Market keytag, a stored-value card.

state employee self service | Human Resources Software

Slabb, based in Las Vegas, is a leading manufacturer of custom kiosk hardware for all types of applications, including kiosks and digital signage to the global marketplace. Since 2001, Slabb has been designing and manufacturing custom kiosk hardware and developing kiosk software for many of the biggest companies in the world. Slabb’s client list includes representation from more than 22 sectors and 6 of the 7 continents.

Hickory, N.C.-based Avanti Markets uses a revolutionary self-checkout kiosk designed specifically for use in business and industry convenience stores. Customers simply pick out the items that they would like to purchase, scan the UPC symbol at the kiosk and pay for them using cash, credit cards or the Avanti Market keytag, a stored-value card.

The challenge
For many companies, lunchtime consists of one of three choices: brown-bagging a sandwich from home, choosing one of 16 varieties of chips from a vending machine or taking a drive to the nearest fast-food restaurant and hoping to get back to work in time.

Of course, none of these options does much for either the morale or the health of employees. Bring lunch from home tends to get monotonous, while a steady diet of chips and soft drinks or burgers and fries isn’t the choice most cardiologists would recommend.

In addition, having staff leave the premises in the middle of the workday is a recipe for lost productivity as hour-long lunch breaks stretch into an hour and 30 minutes or more.

Vending company operator Aaron Speagle saw the opportunity to address those issues by developing a self-service market that could offer an array of healthy items such as salads, sandwiches and yogurt. The concept, which would become what is now Avanti Markets, offers a number of advantages compared with typical lunchtime offerings, including keeping employees on-site for meals, eliminating refund and change hassles and being more energy-efficient than a bank of vending machines.
To make it work, however, Avanti Markets needed a dependable self-checkout system.

The solution
“We were looking for someone who could put together an attractive-looking unit that represented the Avanti Market look and feel, with our emphasis on green, energy efficiency and progressiveness,” said Avanti Markets representative Peter Bostwick. “That was very important to us.”

After considering a number of other kiosk manufactures, Avanti Markets turned to Slabb and the company’s X6 freestanding kiosk. The 54-inch tall kiosk requires less than two feet of floor space, a 110-volt power supply and an Internet connection.

When a new Avanti Market is slated to open, Slabb ships the kiosk by FedEx to the location. The market operator simply connects the kiosk to the Internet and a power source. Avanti installs the self-checkout application and the kiosk is up and running the same day.

In addition to cash and credit cards, the kiosks accept the stored-value Avanti keytag for payment. Employers or employers can load cash onto the keytag at the kiosk itself.

“We have a number of customers show put money on their employees’ cards each month to encourage them to hang around and eat healthier, or give out pre-load keytags on birthdays and so forth,” Bostwick said. “It’s really a great incentive”

The results
Since installing its first self-checkout market in July 2009, Avanti markets has opened more than 150 markets around the country, from Washington D.C. to Florida to California to New York.

“The great thing about this is it works great for both white-collar and blue-collar locations,” Bostwick said. “We’ve got law firms that use it and we’ve got automotive parts manufacturers who use it.”

A video security system keeps theft to an absolute minimum, and local vendors keep the markets stocked with fresh product. Avanti Markets handles tasks such as credit-card processing and equipment maintenance, leaving employers free to focus on their core businesses.

In addition to offering checkout instructions in English and Spanish, the company is adding French as an option in anticipation of a deployment in Montreal.

Since the concept was first deployed, Avanti Markets has drawn rave reviews from customers. The company considers Slabb an integral part of its success, Bostwick said.

“They are an international company and they are available 24/7, which is great because we operate around the country,” he said. They are very responsive and very professional.”

About the sponsor:
Slabb is a leading manufacturer of custom kiosk hardware for all types of applications. The company’s client list has representation from more than 22 sectors and six of the seven continents. Slabb’s focus is on innovation and affordability, offering state-of-the-art products, support and service. The company’s software, services and custom divisions work together to bring its customers a solution for every step involved in a project.

state employee self service | Human Resources Software

Posted by keefner at 09:01 PM

September 24, 2005

Case Study - Swift Transportation selects Netkey for employee self-service kiosks

BRANFORD, Conn. Netkey Inc. announced in a news release that Swift Transportation is using Netkey software to power a nationwide network of kiosks designed to provide Swift drivers, owner-operators, shop workers, and other employees with easy access to human resources and corporate information.

September 20, 2005 10:43 AM US Eastern Timezone

Swift Transportation Selects Netkey for Innovative Employee Self-Service Kiosk Project; Nationwide Kiosk Network Provides Mobile Workforce with Easy Access to Human Resources and Corporate Information

BRANFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 20, 2005--Netkey Inc. announced today that Swift Transportation (NASDAQ: SWFT) is using Netkey software to power a nationwide network of kiosks designed to provide Swift drivers, owner-operators, shop workers, and other employees with easy access to human resources and corporate information.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Swift Transportation operates the largest fleet of truckload carrier equipment in the United States with regional operations throughout the continental United States. The company operates a fleet of about 18,500 tractors and 51,700 trailers from a network of 38 terminals. Swift has 23,000 employees, of which over 20,000 are drivers.

An organization known for an employee-focused culture, Swift was challenged by the need to deliver timely communications to its geographically-dispersed and highly-mobile driver workforce. In response, the company made a commitment to deploy a network of interactive kiosks to provide drivers and other employees with self-service access to critical corporate information.

After an extensive evaluation, Swift chose kiosks from Kiosk Information Systems of Louisville, Colo. and software and services from Netkey for the application development, deployment and remote monitoring and management for what is now called the Swift Informer Self-Service System. About 150 Informer kiosks are being installed in over 60 distribution and repair facilities and customer locations where Swift maintains a full-time employee presence.

The Swift Informer kiosks provide drivers, mechanics and other employees -- once logged in and authenticated -- with secure online access to payroll, benefit, permit, training and safety information, truck repair manuals and parts availability, as well as e-mail, company news, weather and directions. Swift will benefit from lower costs to deliver HR services, improved data accuracy, quicker dissemination of company information, reduced driver turnover and increased employee satisfaction.

"Our investment in the Swift Informer self-service kiosk system reflects our continued focus on enhancing the workplace experience and improving communications with our drivers and other employees," said Swift's Vice- President of Human Resources and Safety, Barbara Kennedy. "Reaction to the kiosks has been overwhelmingly positive. We credit both Swift's vision of employee self-service and our deployment plan and Netkey's experience and enterprise-level software platform for playing a critical role in the rapid development and successful deployment of the Informer kiosk program."
"We're excited to partner with Swift Transportation on this initiative to more effectively communicate with its geographically-dispersed employees through self-service," said V. Miller Newton, chief executive officer of Netkey. "Swift is recognized as an industry leader for its innovative use of technology, and its commitment to deploying kiosks and Netkey software is a great example of that innovative spirit."

About Swift

Swift is the holding company for Swift Transportation Co. Inc., a truckload carrier headquartered in Phoenix. Swift's trucking subsidiaries operate the largest fleet of truckload carrier equipment in the United States with regional and transcontinental operations throughout most of North America.

About Netkey

Netkey provides a comprehensive software platform for authoring, securing, monitoring and managing self-service applications delivered on kiosks, computer terminals, digital signs and other retail technologies. Netkey measurably lowers the cost, and increases the value, of interfacing with customers and employees on unattended devices. Customers include BMW, Borders, JC Penney, Menards, Target and the U.S. Postal Service. Contact Netkey at 1-800-443-7924, via e-mail at [email protected], or on the Web at www.netkey.com.


Swift Transportation
Lindsey Lundeen, 602-477-7145
[email protected]
Robert Ventresca, 203-483-2888
[email protected]

Kioskmarketplace.com link

Posted by keefner at 03:41 AM

October 29, 2004

HR Case study

Nice article on HR automation for Michaels

Michaels Crafts Its Way to Self-Service HR

Friday, October 15, 2004

Implementing an HR self-service application for managers has resulted in big savings for Michaels Stores Inc., the world's largest arts and crafts retailer.

Speaking at the Seventh Annual HR Technology Conference & Expo in Chicago, Michaels' Senior Vice President of Human Resources Susan Elliott described the 2-year rollout of Oracle's HR, Manager Self-Service, and Compensation Workbench products.

Saddled with manual systems to communicate and administer payroll and performance information for more than 27,000 associates, the company quickly looked for a cost-effective way to consolidate its fragmented systems and regain control over the largest single element of cost in the $3 billion companypayroll.

The return on investment analysis was based on hard dollars. The company estimated that rate growth and position "creep" (hiring employees outside of pay rules, employees receiving multiple pay raises during a year, hiring more employees than budgeted) was costing the company more than $4 million annually.

Incorrect hiring and payroll adjustments usually were identified after the fact, and there was little or no consistency in the appraisal/merit cycle. Complicating the task was the fact that Michaels earns 40 percent of its profits in the period between October and Christmas. The company can add as many as 10,000 part-time employees, many of whom are rehires, during this peak time.

Adding to the hard dollar savings challenge were costs from an onerous manual system, with more than 200,000 faxes sent back and forth from retail locations to corporate headquarters, resulting in lost paperwork, delays in performance based raises, delays in hiring, and lots of finger pointing. Initial efforts to "automate" included multiple Access databases, Excel spreadsheets, and failed efforts to convert a payroll system to a management system.

The solution designed by Michaels involved attacking the highest-benefit, least-risk elements or what Elliott refers to as the "quick hits". Automated and proactive processes were at the top of the list, along with creating a central repository and regaining control over payroll costs.

Working with a small team of system analysts, and compensation and HR staff, the company established grades and a rate structure covering the 27,000 associates. A workflow was designed for obtaining approvals when a payroll action is outside of business guidelines. New hires overpay guidelines and off-cycle pay changes or over-budget payroll increases were all automatically routed to the District Manager for approval.

The system was piloted in six stores where requirements were further refined and online training materials and a guidebook were developed. Every store manager was required to review and take the online training with successful completion monitored by the Oracle learning management system. A second non-production environment was set up to allow store managers to "practice" as a part of their training. Individual payroll transactions were entered and then reviewed by trainers and call center support staff at the corporate office for completeness and accuracy. Rollout was then accomplished with 50 to 60 stores at a time. The entire process took just less than a year including the break for the Christmas selling season.

The system has been fully operational for more than nine months and is viewed as highly successful.

"The biggest reason for success is that the store managers are now the owner of the data and the process," Elliott said.

Store managers can easily monitor upcoming appraisals, where each payroll action is in the process as well as monitor the elapsed time that each transaction takes to complete the cycle. The company has gained control over its payroll expenses, on-time completion of performance reviews has gone from 30 percent to 98 percent, a consistent and fair approval process is in place for associate appraisal, and more than $1 million in retroactive payroll processing entries have been eliminated.

As for the future, Michaels has plans to expand the system including evaluating employee self service, online learning, and compensation planning. But for now, well, Christmas is coming.

Brian Gurnham

HR.BLR.com - HR tools, news, white papers and state analysis

Posted by Craig at 03:59 PM

October 27, 2004

HR and Casinos

Station Casinos, Inc. has successfully automated its recruiting process

[October 26, 2004]

JobFlash Enables Station Casinos, Inc. to Hire High Quality Employees, Fast!

LAS VEGAS & SAN JOSE, Calif. --(Business Wire)-- Oct. 26, 2004 -- JobFlash, Inc., an award-winning pioneer of Voice Recruiting, today announced that Station Casinos, Inc. has successfully automated its recruiting process through its deployment of JobFlash. The hotel and casino chain is hiring better quality employees at a lower cost, while having implemented standardized and objective hiring criteria.

"The immediate impact of launching JobFlash was the significant improvement in the quality of applicants that my team has experienced across all locations," said Heather Ripley, corporate director of human resources at Station Casinos. "We can now save time by interviewing only qualified candidates for current open positions, while building a unified interactive resume bank of all interested candidates."

Station Casinos, consisting of 13 properties with approximately 10,500 employees, is growing dramatically with plans to open several new projects in the near future. The company needed an automatic technology solution to enhance the hiring of large numbers of workers for both hourly and salaried positions.

After extensive consideration, Station Casinos chose JobFlash's bilingual (English and Spanish) interactive telephone service, which automates sourcing, screening, scheduling and paperless hiring through patent-pending voice and Web technology. JobFlash registers candidates via phone with a powerful JobMail(TM) Box that enables them to listen for openings, apply for jobs, check status, update their information, and quickly schedule appointments. JobFlash also offers an onsite Web completion solution for paperless hiring.

In the five months since implementing JobFlash, Station Casinos has received more than 37,000 pre-qualified candidate submissions, with 51 percent via phone and 49 percent through the Internet, and has automatically scheduled some 13,000 qualified applicants for appointments. For more information, please read the Station Casinos' case study at www.jobflash.com.

Research shows that hourly workers constitute over 70 percent of the U.S. workforce, but more than 60 percent of these workers, who make $30,000 or less annually, are not online.

"JobFlash is ideal for employers with a large base of diverse hourly employees. Even employers with Web applicant tracking systems are faced with the reality of the digital divide. With JobFlash, they can extend the power of their hiring system through a phone and kiosk interface to a broader base of qualified and diverse candidates," said Reena Jadhav, chief marketing officer at JobFlash.

Station Casinos joins other prestigious casino brands already utilizing JobFlash, including The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, The Palms Casino Resort, Tropicana Hotel & Casino and The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.

While Voice Recruiting has proven very successful in the casino/hotel, restaurant, and call center industries, any company with a large base of hourly employees can benefit from using this technology.

About JobFlash

Founded in 2002, JobFlash pioneered the Voice Recruiting category, and Human Resource Executive Magazine recognized it in 2003 as offering one of the Top 10 HR Products. JobFlash's service incorporates telephone, Web and kiosk to automate hiring of hourly workers, thereby improving quality per hire while cutting costs. For more information about JobFlash, please visit www.jobflash.com.

Posted by Craig at 02:25 PM

May 28, 2004

HR Screening Applicants

Employers Take a Systematic Approach to Hiring: the Computer Will See You Now

EDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) -- The Pathmark supermarket here is hiring. But walk-in applicants need not bother asking for a manager. First, they have to get past the computer.

"Join the Pathmark Team!" welcomes a screen built into a black and gray kiosk, tucked between the store's customer service counter and a display rack full of beach balls. "Right now, we're looking for people who think big and dream big -- people a lot like you."

The automated greeting, and screen after screen of multiple-choice questions that follow, are part of a new approach by some employers to filling their ranks of hourly workers.

A growing number of retail chains and similar businesses frustrated by near-constant employee turnover are entrusting the first step of the hiring process to computers, designed to zero in on applicants likely to do a job well -- and stay a while.

To do that, the computers gather not just names and Social Security numbers, but also work to size up an applicant's personality, and provide hiring managers with a list of questions for follow-up interviews.

Online screening systems used by companies like Pathmark issue reports on applicants almost immediately, grading them as green, yellow or red -- the last a warning of a potentially problematic hire.

One retailer, Houston-based crafts chain Garden Ridge, even has its screening system set to page store managers so they can catch choice applicants before they walk out the door and apply at a competitor.

Companies including The Sports Authority Inc., Blockbuster Inc. and the Golden Corral Corp. steakhouse chain have also adopted the online screening systems. Many companies using the systems have installed in-store terminals or telephones equipped with screens and keyboards especially for the purpose, while others direct people to apply on company Web sites.

"I think it's really going to take off because the technology for how people are screened is changing so quickly," said Donald M. Truxillo, a professor of industrial psychology at Oregon's Portland State University who studies the online systems.

"Our philosophy is to let the technology do the heavy lifting," said Richard Harding, director of research for Kenexa Corp., a Wayne, Pa., firm that designs and administers online assessment systems.

Online screening incorporates personality tests similar to the paper-and-pencil versions used by some employers as far back as the 1940s. But computers use the results much more systematically, letting managers instantly rank candidates or dip into the pool of applicants who have sought jobs at other stores in the same chain.

"You're able to prequalify people and focus really only on the people who look like they have the best chance of success," said Charles Handler, an industrial psychologist whose firm, Rocket-Hire, is a consultant to employers in choosing the systems.

That's only the start for some employers. Some continue to use the systems after making a hire, feeding worker performance data -- like a clerk's sales commissions or the amount of time it takes for a waiter to "turn" a table -- into the computer. That data is then used to help fine tune questions and desired answers that can be used to screen future hires.

That helps employers "close the loop," said Kim Beasley, a spokeswoman for Unicru Inc., a Beaverton, Ore., firm that makes the screening systems used at more than 50 retail and restaurant chains including Pathmark Stores Inc. and Sports Authority.

"We partner with companies throughout the employee life cycle," Beasley said.

Online assessment could prove particularly valuable at big retailers and restaurant chains whose employee turnover rate runs as high as 200 percent a year, experts say.

Such employers, almost constantly hiring, are looking for ways to predict which job candidates are less likely to leave once they're hired, and help them cut down on the cost of finding and training replacements.

"They just lose people about as fast as they can get them in the door," Harding said. "What it really comes down to is are you (the job applicant) going to stay there longer and produce more?"

Some employers say the system not only helps them settle on the right workers, but also reduce the time -- and money -- needed to find them.

Since Rock Bottom Restaurants Inc. began using a Unicru system in late 2002, turnover in its brewpubs has tailed off from about 110 percent annually to 91 percent.

The change may be partly due to the soft labor market, which has kept people from changing jobs, but some of it almost certainly due to hiring choices aided by the computer, said Ted Williams, senior vice president of the brewery division at the Louisville, Colo. company.

Lowering turnover has an immediate impact on profits. Restaurants spend an average of $500 to $600 to hire and train a new employee. But the actual cost of a new worker is closer to $2,000 because they are less productive while they learn the business, Williams said.

The system has also saved managers time that takes them away from running their restaurants, he said.

"If you can screen out at least the ones (candidates) you shouldn't be talking to, that is a huge get-ahead," Williams said.

Finish Line Inc., an Indianapolis-based athletic footwear chain, has found online screening particularly useful because the computer spots gaps in work history and helps managers, many of them young and with little experience in hiring, structure interviews.

"It really helps store managers ask all the right questions because it gives you all the questions to ask," said Mike Marchetti, the company's executive vice president of store operations.

Some researchers are concerned people will see the new technology as impersonal and find it a turnoff.

Some systems offer applicants minimal explanation for the process and ask inappropriate questions, Handler said.

That could be a mistake since most applicants for store jobs are also shoppers at those stores, and a bad experience with a hiring system could sour their image of the company, he said.

But Truxillo, the Portland State professor, said job seekers will probably get used to the idea over time. He compares it to pre-employment drug screening, which drew protests from some workers 15 or 20 years ago, but has become fairly routine.

Some job seekers may even come to see it as a faster, easier approach of applying, he said.

"You get really quick feedback and maybe some people would rather not deal with a real person at that point in the process," he said.

Posted by Craig at 07:44 PM

March 03, 2004

Australian Wireless

Australian Department of Employment & Workplace Resources Deploys the Largest Cisco Wireless Network in Australia

(PRESSI.COM 03/02/2004) Wireless solution delivers secure platform for nationwide job seekers across 1270 sites

CANBERRA, Australia - March 2, 2004 - The Federal Department of Employment and Workplace Resources (DEWR) has selected Cisco Systems infrastructure to create the largest, secure, wireless local-area network in Australia. The new network, deployed by IBM, will help reduce operating expenses and create a more flexible, Web-based environment for job seekers.

DEWR provides job seekers with access to its Australian Job Search Express portal (www.jobsearch.gov.au). The portal can be accessed by job seekers at any of the 3000 Australian designed and built Pathfinder kiosks, which are located in more than 950 Job Network member agencies and 320 Centrelink offices across Australia.

The deployment of a Cisco Aironet 1100 Series wireless access point at each site will reduce infrastructure costs because each kiosk is connected to DEWR's network, at speeds of up to 11 megabits per second (Mbps), by wireless technology, rather than through traditional cabling.

DEWR Communications and IT Security Manager Ian Rose said; "The wireless technology is more economical to install and maintain than cabling, and the kiosks are easier to move than in a cabled environment."

The solution will allow DEWR to provide the same level of security and reliability as a wired LAN. To help ensure that the new network is as secure as a traditional wired environment, DEWR and IBM have deployed the SAFE Blueprint from Cisco for security and virtual private networks (VPNs).

SAFE allows DEWR to create a multilayered security system, including VPN, wireless Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) encryption, firewall, and Internet Protocol (IP) Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES) algorithm encryption, which enables up to 5000 encrypted tunnels for concurrent sessions across multiple sites.

Cisco managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Ross Fowler, said;"Cisco takes a proactive approach to the management of security across networks. We worked with DEWR and IBM to provide them with a network wide security solution. Single-product solutions are no longer enough to adequately secure networks."

According to David Watt, IBM's Federal Government Manager, IBM is responsible for the new wireless network's configuration, country-wide installation and on-going support. "IBM is working closely with DEWR and Cisco to ensure the new network meets the business and security requirements of the Australian Job Search Express portal. Designed to provide job seekers with a secure and reliable Internet experience, the wireless network delivers DEWR an efficient and flexible solution with great potential in terms of cost and resiliency," Mr Watt said.

The DEWR network is based on the deployment of 1270 Cisco Aironet 1100 Series access points, which provide high-speed access to the Internet on the 802.11b standard, as specified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Each office is connected to the Telstra Private IP backbone by a Cisco 1721 Router. The data centre also uses Cisco PIS firewalls, Cisco VPN 3000 concentrators and Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) authentication servers.

# # #

Contact Information

Third Party Contact(s):

Heidi Osborne
61 2 9362 8533
[email protected]

Press Contact(s):

Peter Witts
Cisco Systems, Inc.
+61 2 8446 5272
[email protected]

Australian Department of Employment & Workplace Resources, with IBM, Deploys the Largest Cisco Wireless Network in Australia (Cisco Systems) - Pressi.com

Posted by Craig at 08:38 PM

January 14, 2004

HR and Workforce Management

Lawson and Workbrain Partner to Provide Retailers a Comprehensive Human Resource and Multi-Level Workforce Optimization Solution

Combined System of Staffing and Time Management Tools Comprehensively Manages Retail Operations

ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 12, 2004-- Lawson Software, Inc. (Nasdaq:LWSN - News) and Workbrain Corporation (TSX:WB - News) today announced a partnership to provide retailers with a comprehensive solution for managing both store and corporate HR and workforce functions. This partnership combines Lawson's back-office Human Resources Suite and Payroll application with Workbrain's industry-specific workforce management solution -- Workbrain for Retail -- to enable effective multi-level workforce optimization.

"Our partnership with Workbrain offers retailers a truly comprehensive solution that not only increases functionality, but also can help retailers to maximize net profitability by streamlining retail management, reducing labor costs and avoiding repetitive functions," said Carol Mackenzie, retail market director at Lawson Software. "Workbrain's workforce management expertise and range of software and services makes this partnership a natural extension of Lawson's Retail Solutions Suite, which addresses many unique challenges facing today's retailers."

The new joint offering can enable retail executives, from store management to corporate retail management, to more efficiently manage workforce activities. The integrated workforce optimization system helps retailers to automate key processes and functions, including Labor Forecasting, Schedule Optimization, Time and Attendance, Employee Self-Service, Short & Long-range labor planning, and uses Smart Notification and workforce analytics to provide greater insight into strategic and operational information. Leading industry analysts have identified workforce optimization solutions as a key component to any comprehensive retail solution.

According to The Alert -- Workforce Acquisition, Optimization, and Incentive Management Are Bright Spots in HCM, July 10, 2003, "Workforce optimization applications help users develop optimal work schedules -- usually for hourly workers -- based on a wide variety of data, such as sales forecasts, historical demand, current promotions, and worker preferences. Users of these applications have been able to achieve a rapid ROI based on an improved ability to have the right number of workers with the right skills available to provide the appropriate level of customer support," said Monica Barron, AMR Research.

By automating these workforce planning activities, Workbrain, along with retailers' best business practices, can help retailers reduce workload and time and increase net profitability by reducing labor costs and increasing a retailer's top line. For instance, Workbrain's accurate labor forecasting and mathematically optimized employee schedules assist in ensuring that the right staff with the right skills is scheduled to meet customer demand. With this customer-centric workforce management approach, retailers can drive increased store revenue by improving store service quality and conversion rates. In addition, Workbrain's Time & Attendance suite can be used to help reduce a retailer's gross payroll and IT costs, improves regulatory compliance, and provide real-time labor reporting to facilitate centralized decision-making.

"Increasingly, large innovative retailers are looking for end-to-end retail operations solutions, and we are excited to team with Lawson software to fill that market requirement," said John Orr, Workbrain's senior director of Retail Solutions. "The combined offering, comprising Lawson's retail solutions and Workbrain workforce management, offers a compelling value proposition to retailers looking to improve net profitability."

The integration of Workbrain's enterprise workforce management solution with Lawson HR and Payroll results in more efficient business operations. Seamless exchange of workforce data between systems eliminates manual re-entry of employee information into multiple systems, accelerates the payroll export to the net payroll system and prevents storage of redundant employee data in multiple systems. Workbrain also complements Lawson's existing self-service HR applications by providing retail-specific self-service functionality such as shift trading, schedule availability submission and leave processing.

Large retailers will also benefit from enhanced reporting capabilities, as Workbrain contributes robust workforce management reporting to Lawson's Retail Solutions Suite. While the Lawson analytics solution for retail incorporates all key aspects of the retail operation, including advanced customer-centric analytics, financials, HR, payroll, merchandising and supply chain, Workbrain completes the picture with rich labor reporting. The joint workforce reporting capabilities will facilitate centralized labor decision-making and workforce trend analysis, as corporate and store managers benefit from role-based, real-time information within the retail "network." In addition to HR and Payroll functions, Lawson's retail analytics feature timely workforce information that enhance reporting and analysis of the organization's performance against parameters such as sales targets.

About Lawson Software

Lawson Software provides business process software solutions that help services organizations in the retail, healthcare, professional services, public sector, financial services and other strategic markets achieve competitive advantage. Lawson's solutions include enterprise performance management, distribution, financials, human resources, procurement, retail operations and service process optimization. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., Lawson has offices and affiliates serving North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Additional information about Lawson is available at www.lawson.com.

About Workbrain

Workbrain develops, markets, implements and supports software that helps large organizations optimally deploy and manage their workforces. Retailers such as Burlington Coat Factory, REI, The TJX Companies and Winn Dixie have chosen Workbrain's industry-focused workforce management solutions to automate labor forecasting, employee schedule optimization, time and attendance, employee self-service, and workforce analytics. For more information, please visit www.workbrain.com.

Lawson Software, Inc.
Terry Blake, 651-767-4766
Director of Corporate Communications
[email protected]
The CBK Group
Carol Romeo, 201-556-9404 ext. 110
[email protected]
Workbrain Corp.
Brad Elder, 416-421-6700 ext. 2267
[email protected]

Accounting Software 411 - Lawson and Workbrain Partner to Provide Retailers a Comprehensive Human Resource and Multi-Level Workforce Optimization Solution

Posted by Craig at 06:41 PM

December 23, 2003

Top HR Products of 2003

The editors of Human Resource Executive once again recognize 10 HR products that stand out from the pack

Top HR Products of 2003

In this issue, the editors of Human Resource Executive once again recognize 10 HR products that stand out from the pack. Not surprisingly, technology continues to dominate this year's list of winners. Indeed, only a handful of entries received don't sit on a server somewhere. Further, the selections address a wide array of HR issues--from pre-employment screening and workforce management to compensation planning and performance management. In most cases, the products are entirely new; in a few cases, they represent a major overhaul of an existing application. In each and every case, however, we believe they deliver real value to the marketplace. As always, if you decide to evaluate these products, we strongly recommend you conduct the necessary due diligence before making your selection.

PRODUCT: Hiring Gateway

SUPPLIER: Yahoo! Resumix, Sunnyvale, Calif.

DESCRIPTION: A Web-based recruiting and hiring process that takes companies from job requisition through the onboarding of new hires. The software creates a self-service environment that allows hiring managers to create requisitions, permits candidates to automatically upload and edit their resume information and allows recruiters to use its "Patented KnowledgeBase" to create qualifications that are weighted to each individual job as well as apply screening questions and keyword searches, among other filters. The system offers analytics that can be used for benchmarking and analysis. It also provides a recruiting overview, individual job tracking as well as approval routing abilities tied to e-mail to keep the process on track. It is designed to interface with HRMS systems. A typical installation will cost about $100,000.

COMMENTS: For more than two years, Yahoo! Resumix researchers analyzed the step-by-step behavior of a multitude of recruiters in a laboratory as they created job requisitions, searched for candidates and made job offers. That hard work has paid off in Hiring Gateway, an applicant tracking system so intuitively designed that an operating manual is unnecessary. The system is also designed around the knowledge (based on research) that if it takes more than three screens to complete a process, there is a 75 percent abandonment rate. That's why Hiring Gateway is completed in three easy steps--a fact that will pay off in increased usage of the system by hiring managers who, in the past, may have been offered other self-service systems but were turned off by the difficulty in doing so. In addition, the system offers sorely needed analytics, including hard data on where the best candidates are coming from and the performance levels of individuals and departments.

PRODUCT: Talent Hunter

SUPPLIER: PeopleCapital Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.

DESCRIPTION: Talent Hunter from PeopleCapital is a "proactive" recruiting product for the enterprise market. It integrates its resume database with contact management, organizational charting/management and requisition management. Using those Web-based tools, recruiting professionals can build pipelines of prequalified talent. Modeled after successful customer relationship management systems, Talent Hunter's integrated functions ensure a single-talent database to serve as a central information source for recruiting, sourcing, competitive research and alumni relations. Talent Hunter can be hosted behind a company firewall or at PeopleCapital's data center. The licensing fee for Talent Hunter ranges from $50,000 to $150,000, depending primarily on the size of the organizations. That fee does not include services beyond licensing.

COMMENTS: HR executives on the prowl to snag more talented people for their company ranks should take a serious look at Talent Hunter. Starting with its friendly graphical user interface, Talent Hunter is the type of application that makes more sense the more you see it in action. Using what the company calls a "conceptual search" capability, Talent Hunter allows an original resume (and all related documents) to be automatically processed, indexed, accessed and presented to the end user (presumably the recruiter or staffing team) with the truly useful information about the job candidates culled out. It's mainly e-mail driven (through something PeopleCapital calls its E-Mail Transaction technology), so there are no log-ins or cumbersome learning curves to overcome. Working with partners such as Engenium, Resume Mirror and BioSpace, PeopleCapital has put together an impressive weapon in the war for talent. Best of all, using it requires little training and really bridges the gap in previous applicant sourcing, tracking and talent-search technology tools. Even for the cursory user, you get a real sense of how well PeopleCapital "gets" the challenges recruiters and staffing professionals face in the trenches.

PRODUCT: Performance Impact Workplace

SUPPLIER: CCHKnowledgePoint, Petaluma, Calif.

DESCRIPTION: Aimed at small- and medium-sized enterprises, Performance Impact Workplace is a Windows-based program that guides managers through the review process. The program allows them to create and track the progress of goals and produce employee reviews. In addition, it automatically generates supporting text as the manager and employee rate competencies, and features a library of coaching ideas to assist in creating a development plan. The software contains 55 behavioral-based competencies, along with optional industry-specific competency modules. Site-license pricing starts at $2,790; cost for a non-network version is $299.

COMMENTS: There's much to like about CCHKnowledgePoint's latest performance-management offering, Performance Impact Workplace. Building on early products such as Performance Now and Performance Impact Enterprise (a Web-based solution), the supplier has done a fine job of addressing the needs of small- and medium-sized organizations. Like previous CCHKnowledgePont products, PIW is extremely intuitive and rich in features. It addresses just about every aspect of the process, including setting goals, pushing goals out to multiple employees, tracking their progress and copying them into actual performance reviews. Users can also take advantage of helpful tools such as an Intelli-text Designer, which moves managers past the dreaded "blank page" syndrome; a language checker, which audits inappropriate or illegal word use; and automatic alerts.

PRODUCT: Health Benefits Performance Suite

SUPPLIER: VitalSpring Technologies Inc., McLean, Va.

DESCRIPTION: This Web-based suite of applications has a single goal: to help large employers better manage and control the cost and quality of employee health benefits. With single-click ease, the suite provides real-time access to the drivers, patterns and trends related to the costs and financing of health-care benefits. In essence, it treats health-benefit decisions no differently than other critical business decisions. The product offers four key financial performance modules, including financial performance management, supply-chain analytics, supplier-performance management and beneficiary relationship management. It's HIPAA-compliant and also delivers modeling capabilities to help predict future health-benefit costs and their impact on the bottom line. The product is priced as a one-time annual fee ranging from $75,000 to $150,000, plus a monthly subscription fee based on the number of users. VitalSpring says it's compatible with existing ERP/HR systems, and since it's Web-based, can be implemented within 90 days.

COMMENTS: Taking a test drive with VitalSpring's Health Benefits Performance Suite is an impressive trip. The product is a timely tool if there ever was one. Each of the many tools in the arsenal provides one-click access with the added ability to "drill down" deep into the data. The four modules are all delivered through an easy-to-use application. Example: An HR executive can look at the employee pool with diabetes and identify a specific group that is likely to drive high costs a year into the future. On the supplier side, HR executives (and other HR end-users) can measure and manage both providers and benefit plans across a wide range of metrics. Again, this suite is really for large employers (McDonald's, Raytheon, MBNA and the University of Miami are all customers). Any human resource or benefits executive for a large organization who wants to get a better understanding of, and better control over, health-care costs should take a closer look at this product.

PRODUCT: Total Workforce Acquisition Solution

SUPPLIER: Unicru Inc., Beaverton, Ore.

DESCRIPTION: Primarily a creator of workforce selection and optimization applications for hiring hourly employees, Unicru now introduces a "talent management platform" that leverages advanced Microsoft.net Web services technology. Unicru's Salaried Solution, which can be purchased separately or integrated with its hourly solution, uses a proprietary tool called SmartMatch that combines artificial intelligence with human intelligence to fit the job applicant to the company culture. The product features configurable workflows for managing all stages of the candidate relationship as well as streamlined requisition and offer-approval processes. It also integrates an advanced "selection science" into the recruiting process, including Unicru SmartMatch (a knowledge-based search-and-match engine) and Smart Assessments. Unicru's Salaried Solution costs between $2.50 to $3.50 per employee per month.

COMMENTS: The fact that Unicru has processed 18 million applicants for a number of employers (including six of the 40 largest ones) isn't enough to earn it an award on the salaried side of the fence. But seeing how it has taken that track record and applied it to the search for the best salaried candidates is impressive. Working with some of the leading staffing organizations for three years, Unicru finally decided the time was right to enter the salaried arena, and employers who take a look will see why. During a demonstration, the most striking aspect of Unicru's Salaried Solution is how easy HR executives, business unit executives, hiring managers and recruiters can get their hands on the kind of objective insight necessary for the right candidate match. It's a neat combination of selection science, hiring-manager decision support and workforce intelligence. And using the most familiar tech tools today, Web and e-mail (including Microsoft Outlook integration), there is practically no aspect of the hiring process that this company leaves to chance. Unicru clearly has succeeded in taking its history of helping employers find and hire the best hourly workers to another level. As a result, it offers one of the slickest, most effective salaried talent acquisition packages in an already crowded market segment.

PRODUCT: JobFlash Automated Voice Recruiting

SUPPLIER: JobFlash, Redwood City, Calif.

DESCRIPTION: Employers with large workforces and continual turnover--such as retail and hotel operations--are the target markets for this system, which allows hiring managers to post their job openings to job boards that can be accessed either by phone or the Web. Job seekers access the board through a toll-free number and create a personal account, then create and submit a resume. Hiring managers can also pose a series of basic "interview" questions, which the job seeker answers in a series of recorded messages. If a hiring manager likes what he or she sees and hears, a mouse click can select candidates to be called for interviews--automatically, by the JobFlash system. Job seekers call back to hear the status of their submissions, schedule interviews, update their resumes and hear any new job openings. Job seekers also receive phone calls with interview requests and new job alerts. There is a monthly subscription fee for the service, and pricing is determined by the volume of usage.

COMMENTS: The cost of turnover is a huge problem for some businesses, and Web solutions are not the answer for employers whose pool of potential employees may not own computers. Job Flash addresses the problem head-on, with a refreshingly low-tech solution that uses that old stand-by, the telephone. The user interface is easy-to-understand and has the added advantage of creating a standardized, consistent hiring process. The creators of the system seem to have thought of every contingency and the product should successfully simplify and clarify the hiring process, both for hiring managers and job seekers.

PRODUCT: Compensation Planner

SUPPLIER: Workscape, Framingham, Mass.

DESCRIPTION: Released in April, Workscape's Compensation Planner is a manager-oriented tool supporting the entire compensation planning process. Features of the solution include a plan administration module that enables comp managers to define and set budget parameters and alerts; the ability to support international currencies; decision-support calculators; and reporting and analytical tools. The software is able to accommodate an unlimited number of compensation plans, multiple compensation types within a plan and multiple forms of variable compensation. It can be licensed or hosted by Workscape's ASP. Pricing for the solution starts at $350,000 and varies depending on the size of the organization and the complexity of the implementation.

COMMENTS: Compensation Planner isn't the first compensation planning tool to hit the market; nor is it likely to be the last. But companies in search of a way to streamline this complex and frequently cumbersome process will want to be sure to include the software on its short list. The software features plenty of functionality, including the ability to handle an unlimited number of comp plans, multiple forms of variable comp and international comp practices. In particular, managers with broad responsibilities should appreciate its "apply guidelines" feature, which permits them to automatically distribute, with the push of a button, budget dollars based on an organization's prescribed pay guidelines. Nor will they be disappointed by the software's intuitive interface and the usefulness of features like calculators that help make the decision-making process as painless as possible.

PRODUCT: TruePerformance

SUPPLIER: Callidus Software, San Jose, Calif.

DESCRIPTION: Released in February, TruePerformance assists enterprises in planning and managing the compensation plan for every department of the organization. Among other things, the Web-based application enables companies to accurately model and forecast the impact of changes to the comp plan and budgets. Features of the application include MBO management, salary administration, modeling and reporting. The software allows companies to link global pay plans to corporate strategies, align pay to performance, forecast awards and payouts, define budgets and control costs. The program, which was developed in conjunction with Cezanne Software, also features tools for analyzing and measuring plan performance. Cost for a typical system is around $100,000.

COMMENTS: Callidus' decision last February to extend its reach beyond sales and into the broader organization wasn't unexpected. With 90 percent of enterprise companies using some form of incentive-based pay and experiencing a 5 percent to 10 percent error rate in pay, the move was clearly a no-brainer for the enterprise incentive management provider. But it was certainly a pleasant surprise to see the company release a tool as well-designed and as useful as this. With TruePerformance, Callidus has addressed the major pain points, incorporating features and capabilities that permit users to successfully align the comp plan to the business strategy. In particular, we were impressed by the software's intuitiveness, as well as its robust modeling and drill-down capabilities.

PRODUCT: RolloverMarket

SUPPLIER: RolloverSystems Inc., Charlotte, N.C.

DESCRIPTION: RolloverSystems provides a Web-enabled financial network that allows departing employees to automate the placement of their 401(k) assets into individual retirement accounts. Entering through a variety of e-HR resources such as Exult, HR Xcel or a direct-to-employer Web site at rollovermarket.com, employees exiting their retirement plans fill out a single online form to shop for IRA provider choices and affect the fund transfer. The system provides choices from several leading financial service providers, including Chase, Merrill Lynch, Harris Direct and TD Waterhouse. The service complies with the Economic Growth & Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA). Employer-sponsored membership costs range from a one-time initiation fee of $1,000 to $7,000, based on the size of the workforce. There is no cost to employee users. The service is also available through the online recruitment service CareerBuilder.com.

COMMENTS: Many of the new online employee benefits products are designed specifically to handle administrative functions or benefits enrollment for continuing employees; few provide services for exiting employees. However, in an era in which layoffs, furloughs and other reductions in force are still common, this product meets a clear need for both parties involved. The rollovermarket.com Web site is simple and intuitive, produces IRA options in less than 10 minutes and completes the transfer in 25 minutes or less. The service could use a few more financial service partners to provide choices, but even in its present form, it is a quick answer to the question, "What can I do with my retirement money?"

PRODUCT: e.Skills

SUPPLIER: Employment Technologies Corp., Winter Park, Fla.

DESCRIPTION: This interactive simulated pre-employment test in English or English and Spanish measures e-mail composition, data-entry skills and keyboarding speed and accuracy to help recruiters assess the abilities of job candidates for call centers and other customer-service organizations. Individual and summary reports offer HR a graphic look at how the candidates did in the three sections of the simulation as well as demonstrate the likelihood of success when performing such skills on the job. The initial licensing fee is $2,000 plus a per-test fee ranging from $5 to $10.

COMMENTS: Instead of the run-of-the-mill typing and customer-service tests, e.Skills is a unique simulation program that provides a more accurate reflection of on-the-job responsibilities. Eschewing the passive pick-the-best-answer tests, Employment Technologies created a test that forces job candidates to actively respond to simulated customer requests. The easy-to-use and easy-to-understand test requires that candidates demonstrate their ability to search for requested information, enter data and respond appropriately in an e-mail they write themselves. Many employers will also respond positively to the bilingual version of the e.Skills test. Most of the test is computer scored, but it takes about five minutes for managers to score the e-mail responses, based on a provided checklist and model response.

Feature Story - Top HR Products of 2003 BY ANNE FREEDMAN

Posted by Craig at 02:26 PM

December 09, 2003

HR Exec Magazine

Reference for companies with top HR requirements

Top 100 HR companies

Posted by Craig at 03:37 PM

November 06, 2003

Biometric Timecards More Efficient

McDonald's Reduces Payroll Costs up to 22% with IR Recognition Systems Biometric HandReaders

HandPunch Eliminates Expensive "Buddy Punching"; Over 3,400 Employees at 85 Restaurants Have Clocked In and Out Biometrically

IR Recognition Systems, the biometric component of Ingersoll-Rand's (IR) Security & Safety Group's Electronic Access Control Division (EACD), today announced that 85 McDonald's restaurants are cutting payroll costs by up to 22 percent annually after incorporating IR Recognition Systems' biometric HandPunch biometric terminals to record time and attendance. The HandPunch terminal eliminates expenses associated with employee badges and fraud caused by buddy punching. Over 3,400 employees at 85 McDonald's restaurants in Venezuela have been enrolled with the HandPunch over the past four years. On average, the system generates over 7,500 transactions each day resulting in over 2.5 million "punches" annually.

"McDonald's moved to biometrics because they wanted to verify that the employee clocking in was really that person," says Jose Ramon Casal of Caracas-based Electronica Quantum, which installed the systems. "Students make up about 90 percent of the McDonald's workforce in Venezuela. They were frequently punching one another in to cover for exams or other school-related events.

"A card only verifies a card," adds Casal. "We have used finger scanning for other applications, but we believe that hand geometry is more effective and produces fewer errors when there are larger employee populations. With hand geometry, a larger area is scanned than with finger scans and the template is updated after every scan so it remains current."

Instead of filling out or punching timecards, employees simply place their hands on the HandPunch. It automatically takes a three-dimensional reading of the size and shape of the employee's hand and verifies the user's identity in less than one second.

"McDonald's worldwide success has been built on being fast, convenient and affordable. These are the same key factors that have made our HandReaders the most widely used biometric in the industry. That's why they choose HandReaders over other biometrics," reports Bill Spence of IR Recognition Systems. "With major fast food retailers such as McDonald's realizing such tremendous cost savings by using our HandReaders, others are soon to follow."

Supervisors at each franchise using the HandPunch terminals authorize and verify employee time and overtime on a computer located at the store. The hours are then sent to a central payroll processing center via a telephone line. The supervisors themselves also use the HandPunch to clock in and out.

"Most supervisors at McDonald's are promoted from within and many find it difficult to impose rules and restrictions on their fellow workers," Casal explains. "The HandPunch ensures that everyone is treated the same and fairly. McDonald's employees are satisfied with the HandReaders because their payroll information is processed quickly and without mistakes. They receive regular reports with information about their time and attendance."

Language is not an issue because the software is in Spanish and the HandReaders accommodate several languages.

Hand geometry technology is the most commonly used technology for time and attendance and access control, according to Frost and Sullivan's "World Biometrics Report 2002."

About Electronica Quantum

Electronica Quantum, a Caracas, Venezuela-based systems integrator, has offered security and time-and-attendance solutions to customers in Latin America since 1983. The company offers a wide variety of technologies to its customers, including access control, CCTV, intercom and fire safety systems, time and attendance solutions, and explosives and drug detection services. About 20 percent of Electronica Quantum's business is in time and attendance solutions, while security comprises the other 80 percent. The company provides turnkey solutions to its clients.

About IR Recognition Systems

With over 75,000 hand geometry units throughout the world reading millions of hands each day, IR Recognition Systems, founded in 1986, is the pioneer of hand recognition technology used in access control, time and attendance and identification applications. The company is the world sales leader of biometric verification devices and serves an international clientele from its headquarters in Campbell, Calif. The hand geometry website is www.handreader.com. Phone is 408-341-4100. Recognition Systems is the biometric component of Ingersoll-Rand Corporation's Security & Safety Group's Electronic Access Control Division. The Ingersoll-Rand website is www.irco.com.

PHOTO: For a high-resolution photograph of a HandPunch, go to www.brighamscully.com and click Photos/IR Recognition Systems.


IR Recognition Systems
Bill Spence, 408-341-4100
[email protected]
Brigham Scully
Tom Brigham, 818-716-9021
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 08:44 PM

October 28, 2003

Email Intranet Kiosks for Employees

As ubiquitous as email seems to be in our world today, a new study shows that 45 percent of corporate workers do not have email access on the job.

Market Opens as Nearly Half of Workers Without Email

October 27, 2003
Market Opens as Nearly Half of Workers Without Email
By Sharon Gaudin
As ubiquitous as email seems to be in our world today, a new study shows that 45 percent of corporate workers do not have email access on the job.

But the study also shows that 45 percent figure is going to start dropping next year and decrease dramatically by 2007, creating a huge market for workplace email. The Radicati Group, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based market research and consulting firm, says the market has the potential to be a $6.7 billion business.

''This market is being born from enterprises that have determined that the technology is to the point that it's silly for everyone not to have email,'' says Marcel Nienhuis, a market analyst at the Radicati Group, which conducted the study. ''What's happened is that companies have excluded these workers from email access and now they're out of the loop about what's happening in the enterprise. They're getting their corporate information from notes tacked to a bulletin board.''

And Nienhuis says companies won't be giving every factory or warehouse worker a desk and a laptop. Instead, IT managers will be called on to install email kiosks that can serve anywhere from 10 to 100 workers. During a break or lunchtime or after hours, workers can go to the kiosk to access inter-office email -- information from HR, corporate newsletters and questions from payroll.

The question that remains is if these companies will enable employees to email with friends and family outside of the company.

But Nienhuis says many companies may want to inhibit non-work-related email out of fears of liability and lost productivity, but others will make it available to improve employee morale and provide an easy perk.

With a down economy and low IT spending, when will this bump come in the workplace email market?

That, Nienhuis says, is debatable. But he expects it to start picking up in 2004 and then taking off in 2005. Then, if the economy holds, workplace email spending is expected to ride through the next several years.

So who doesn't have email?

Nienhuis says they had a fairly liberal range when gauging the corporate workforce. He said it's not just about engineers, CEOs and accountants. The corporate worker list also includes flight attendants, factory workers, nurses and warehouse workers. People working in the field were not included in the study.

''The potential market is enormous,'' says Nienhuis. ''It would increase employees' knowledge of corporate information, boost morale and reduce paper costs. There are a lot of benefits.''

Posted by Craig at 02:43 PM

October 14, 2003

HR deployment

Syncrude Deploys Plumtree Enterprise Web Suite, Assembling 150 Enterprise Web Applications for Over 5,000 Employees, Partners and Contractors

Portal Centralizes Access to Hundreds of Systems Across the Enterprise,
Reducing Hardware and Training Costs and Helping Improve ROI on Existing

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Plumtree Odyssey User Conference, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Enterprise Web leader Plumtree Software (Nasdaq: PLUM) announced today that Syncrude Canada Ltd., the largest single-source producer of oil in Canada, has deployed the Plumtree Corporate Portal, Collaboration Server and Search Server to over 5,000 employees, partners and contractors. Since installing Plumtree's Enterprise Web solution in January of 2002, Syncrude has assembled 150 Enterprise Web applications in the portal for streamlining processes, enhancing employee self-service and providing managers and executives with a real-time dashboard of production performance and costs. Syncrude reports that the portal has made back-end systems more accessible and easier to use, improving ROI on Syncrude's existing technology investments and reducing training costs across the business. Syncrude also avoided thousands of dollars in anticipated hardware costs by providing kiosk and remote access to the Web portal for plant and field workers rather than personal computers. Syncrude will be showcasing its deployment at Plumtree Odyssey this week, the largest gathering of Enterprise Web visionaries and portal customers in the world. The public can read more about Plumtree's customers in the energy and utilities industry at http://www.plumtree.com/customers/industries/energy_utilities/

"Syncrude has hundreds of independent information systems, and had more than 20 separate intranet sites across the enterprise," said Darcy Daugela, Web Services Team Leader at Syncrude. "With Plumtree, we have been able to bring together the information that workers need from across the enterprise, in a way that makes it quick to find and easy to use. Plumtree has been very popular with IT as well as employees for improving productivity, while reducing the costs associated with supporting multiple independent systems."

What's in Syncrude's Enterprise Web? Production Dashboards, Self-Service HR, Cost Tracking, Desktop and Workgroup Tools, Safety and Work Management, Engineering Databases

Prior to deploying Plumtree's Enterprise Web software, each department's systems and intranet sites were managed separately, so it was difficult for groups to leverage the electronic information and services of other groups. Employees often had difficulty finding the information they needed, and were often unaware of systems and data available in other parts of the organization.

To overcome this limitation, Syncrude chose an integrated portal and collaboration solution that could provide a common, extensive framework for sharing systems and information throughout the enterprise. Syncrude has built 150 Enterprise Web applications, some of the most popular are:

An Organizational Unit Cost Application where managers, executives, and trading partners:

-- see real-time personalized cost reports on the 10,000 daily transactions that occur across the company;

-- drill down into the details of the transactions;

-- compare and track actual costs vs. budgeted costs; and

-- view outstanding spend vs. contracted levels.

A Production Information Application where plant employees and managers:
-- view real-time production performance at each plant, reported
directly from plant instrumentation;
-- review daily operating procedures, machine reliability statistics
and up-to date safety statistics;
-- access plant engineering drawings; and
-- submit work orders.

An Employee Services Application where employees:
-- calculate pensions and monitor retirement savings plans;
-- change benefit choices and file expense reports;
-- review and apply for internal job postings;
-- apply for the Syncrude-sponsored computer purchase program;
request vacation leave, travel, and review time and attendance; and
-- search for employees and contractors in the portal phonebook.

An IT Application where IT support staff:
-- log, track and work support issues through integration with Remedy;
build self-service portlets for helping end users with common
issues, such as security software monitoring;
-- view which systems enterprise-wide will be up or down through a
change request portlet; and
-- collaborate on projects, share documents and engage in threaded
discussions for initiatives such as software upgrades.

"Syncrude has deployed portal, collaboration and search technologies in one Enterprise Web solution, reducing in the time and cost required to deliver over 150 new Enterprise Web applications," said, John Kunze, CEO of Plumtree Software. "This is a perfect example of how Plumtree and its customers share a vision of the Enterprise Web as the way to share resources between many different Web applications, whose components are hosted on many different application servers. The difference between an Enterprise Web filled with applications and an empty portal offering links to different systems is what separates Plumtree and its customers from the rest of the pack."

Why Plumtree?

Syncrude chose Plumtree for its Web Services Architecture that was open to integrating resources from the company's diverse systems and development environments. Syncrude also chose Plumtree for its cohesive suite of Enterprise Web technologies, which could be deployed quickly and at low cost.

About Enterprise Web Applications

Enterprise Web applications are applications hosted on different application servers, but managed within one framework. Enterprise Web applications differ from traditional applications in three ways. First Enterprise Web applications combine existing data and processes from diverse enterprise systems with new shared services, providing greater return on assets. Second, Enterprise Web applications are assembled dynamically, incorporating new capabilities on the fly, allowing for greater agility in solving business problems. Finally, Enterprise Web applications are designed to be integrated into an enterprise-wide environment, providing greater economies of scale: users can easily navigate between or search across applications, and Web services developed for one Enterprise Web application can be re-used as-is in other applications.

About Plumtree Software

Plumtree Software is the Enterprise Web leader. Plumtree's mission is to create a comprehensive Web environment for employees, customers and partners across the enterprise to interact with different systems and work together. Plumtree's Enterprise Web solution consists of integration products for bringing resources from traditional systems together on the Web, shared services such as collaboration, content management and search for building new Web applications, and a portal framework for delivering these Web applications to broad audiences. Plumtree's independence and its Web Services Architecture allow this solution to span rival platforms and systems, helping maximize customers' return on their existing technology investments. With offices in more than a dozen countries, Plumtree has licensed over 550 customers, including Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Procter & Gamble and the U.S. Navy.

NOTE: Plumtree is a registered trademark of Plumtree Software, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries. All other registered and unregistered trademarks in this document are the sole property of their respective owners.

SOURCE Plumtree Software, Inc.

/Web site: http://www.plumtree.com/


Posted by Craig at 03:18 PM

September 29, 2003

Postal Kiosks Serve up HR Services

The Netkey - KIS solution for the U.S. Postal Service is featured in the following article in Government Computer News, the largest publication covering government technology issues, with a circulation of over 87,000. The article provides a great example of how businesses with large numbers of unconnected workers can benefit by extending human resources applications to employees through self-service kiosks, PC and Netkey software.

09/22/03 By William Jackson, GCN Staff

If your agency has 500,000 employees without computers, how do you offer them administrative services electronically?

That's the exact predicament the Postal Service faces. To overcome it, the service is installing more than 300 computer kiosks to give employees online access to human resources applications.

The Personnel Central Kiosk initiative expands on the earlier PostalEase program for benefits changes via intranet and interactive voice response.

"The IVR system has been around for some time, but IVR was never mandatory so it didn't get a lot of use," USPS information systems coordinator Dixie Wiles said. For example, employees have been able to apply by IVR for jobs since 1993.

The postal intranet serves up the HR apps to the 200,000 employees with desktop computers, "but we have a half-million employees who don't have access to a computer," such as mail carriers and most workers at distribution centers, USPS chief technology officer Robert Otto said.

"We wanted to open another channel for those who didn't want to use the phone," he said. Each single-purpose station from Kiosk Information Systems Inc. of Louisville, Colo., has a keyboard, a trackball, speakers, a thermal printer and a 17-inch LCD touch screen with a privacy filter.

"You can't shoulder-surf," said Peter Snyder, the vendor's senior enterprise manager. "Anybody who is 2 degrees off center will see a blank screen."

Kiosk Information Systems initially will produce and support 310 kiosks under a $4.1 million contract, and USPS has an option for another 300. The installation isn't large, Snyder said, but it is being done in a hurry.

"We had to bring them out very quickly," he said. "The first 310 we cranked out in about three weeks."

Larger sites

By early September, more than 200 were online, Wiles said. They went first to the 197 processing facilities and bulk mail centers with the most employees. Most large sites will have two kiosks. The first 310 will serve 350,000 to 400,000 employees.

Not all 38,000 postal sites will get a kiosk, however. "It wouldn't make sense to put one in a one-person post office," said Tim Patterson, program manager for IT business systems. Each kiosk incorporates a Hewlett-Packard Co. thin-client computer acquired under USPS' Advanced Computing Environment program.

"It has nothing on it but a browser," Otto said.

A user interface developed by Netkey Inc. of Branford, Conn., overlays the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, hiding buttons and controlling keystrokes to limit users' activities, said Bob Ventresca, Netkey's marketing director.

The Netkey server software manages the kiosks remotely from a USPS data center in Minneapolis. Each kiosk has a 100-Mbps connection to the USPS intranet over WorldCom Inc.'s MCI network.

The kiosk program is too new to have produced many statistics, but within days of the first installations, 8,700 log-ins were recorded. Heaviest usage is during the second and third shifts, starting at 3:30 p.m.

"Those folks use it a lot because they don't have access to personnel offices" during their shifts, Wiles said.

The feedback so far has been positive, which Otto said he takes as a good sign. "Our employees are not shy," he said. "If they aren't happy with something, they'll tell us."

Posted by Craig at 08:07 PM

September 18, 2003

HR and Health Case Study

Hosted HR applications and services appeal to companies not ready to buy a full software suite

Window maker Atrium Companies Inc. grew from 900 employees to 5,600 across 40 locations in the last six years through a series of acquisitions. In the process, it inherited new employees' health plans, leaving human-resource managers dealing with nearly 50 plans.

Many small and midsize businesses struggle with managing their HR processes and systems. They're often large enough to have big-company headaches, but not big enough to be able to afford large-scale HR applications or blue-chip outsourcing firms that usually target companies with 10,000 employees or more. At the same time, companies are struggling with soaring employee health-care costs. Atrium is in its third year of double-digit increases, says Nancy Hartmann, Atrium's director of compensation and benefits.

Atrium's HR department tried to handle the open enrollment processes for these health plans in-house, but quickly realized it lacked the staff. It tried to outsource open enrollment to a services firm, but that company didn't have the wherewithal to handle the work, Hartmann says. Earlier this year, Atrium contracted with Employease Inc., which offers HR information-system applications via an ASP model, as well as outsourcing services for a number of HR processes, including open enrollment.

Since handing over benefits administration to Employease, Atrium's HR mangers now have the time to address other issues, such as figuring out how to whittle down the number of health programs and how to lower the company's 147% annual employee turnover rate. "In the first month alone, Employease handled 700 E-mail questions from managers and employees that our own HR managers would've spent hours and days handling," Hartmann says.

Before Employease, Atrium had little experience with technology-enabled HR processes, most of which still happen on paper. The hosted technology lets Atrium begin automation without a major up-front investment, Hartmann says.

But more investment is likely to follow. Most of Atrium's workers are in factories and don't have access to PCs. So in January, Atrium will begin rolling out kiosks to let people enter benefits and other HR information electronically. Atrium is considering whether to automate more widely through the purchase of an HR software suite. That would pit Employease-hosted applications against suites from software vendors such as SAP AG or PeopleSoft Inc., which have HR systems tuned to manufacturing processes. Until such a decision is made, Employease's hosted solution and selected outsourced services offer Atrium great flexibility, Hartmann says.

Employease's hosted and outsourced services typically cost companies $4 to $8 per employee a month, VP of product strategy Jeff Beinke says.

Employease's offering falls in the middle of an HR-technology continuum, says Jim Holinsheck, a Gartner research director. On one end there are HR software suites, such as that offered by PeopleSoft, and at the other end there are outsourcing companies, such as Automatic Data Processing Inc. and Ceridian Corp., that take over entire HR processes.

Although software vendors, including PeopleSoft, also frequently offer hosted versions, larger customers tend to prefer deploying the software internally, Holinsheck says. "We're starting to see an uptake in interest in the hosted approach in the small- to midsize-customer market," he says. "Those customers like the smaller up-front investments" in an ASP model compared with an internal deployment.

Holinsheck estimates the hosted HR software market for smaller customers is a $50 million to $100 million market, "but growing fast." By contrast, he estimates HR software purchased for internal use by small to midsize customers is about $500 million annually.

Posted by Craig at 11:10 PM

September 17, 2003

Wal-Mart HR Unit

Here is a picture of the Wal-Mart HR Job kiosk.

Posted by Craig at 06:08 PM

Human Resource Case Study - Citigroup

Citigroup decided in 2003 to enhance their employee human resources services and turned to KIS to provide the complete solution.

Background Information

  • Product Delivered

    • KT-125 with Laser Printer
    • Quantity: over 200 units

  • Application Function

    • Human Resources
    • Employees in their card centers can access their 401k, vacation and etc.
    • Primary focus was being able to reprint pay stubs from the kiosk.

  • Needs Addressed by Solution

    • Human Resources
    • It gave their employees without access to their benefit information a way to do so.
    • Increase employee communication while allowing HR to focus on other tasks and reduces their cost of sending out statements as they are required to do every quarter.

  • Customer Feedback and Comments

    • Citigroup said that all is working great and they thanked us for our patience, guidance and support during the project.
    • Cost/Benefits/ROI: Still early in deployment stage. Within 6 months Citigroup will do formal calculation of cost savings and benefits. Estimates at this stage are that benefits are significant

    Posted by Craig at 04:04 PM

September 12, 2003


ASTD Interim 2003/04 Conference & Exposition

ASTD 2004 in Washington, DC, May 21 - 27

ASTD 2004 in Washington, DC, May 21 - 27

Posted by Craig at 08:32 PM

September 02, 2003

KIS wins Wal-Mart

The contract for the HR Human Resources terminals for Wal-Mart was awarded to KIS of Colorado. The solution is a thin client model together with Wyse.

Posted by Craig at 05:02 AM