Wednesday, 11 June 2014

De-mystifying Cloud for HR

Mr. Balaji Ganesh
CEO and MD
Adrenalin eSystems








Mr. Balaji Ganesh, CEO & MD of Adrenalin eSystems Limited talks about changing trends at workplace and the corresponding adaptations of Cloud for HRMS. He starts with Smart Technology’s role in today’s work environment and goes on to detail the benefits, security aspects and the role of HR in this transition.

Cloud Technology has experienced favorable adoption not only by large enterprises but increasingly by many SMEs too.  Still there exists uncertainty about Data security, posting sensitive employee data with third party service provider, etc. in the minds of HR. The objective of this article is to assist HR to unravel the myths surrounding Cloud and simplify their understanding for better adoption.  It is important for HR to ask the right questions to the Service Provider before embracing Cloud solution.

HR should not fear adoption of Cloud services due to lack of understanding.  According to Mr Balaji Ganesh, CEO and MD of Adrenalin eSystems Limited, "The fact that it is a shared service does not make Cloud for HR less-favorable“. In order to convince the HR industry to adopt Cloud, the argument can be made that most companies already outsource payroll to other vendors, which strikes similarity to what data in Cloud implies too.  The same process of validation of the payroll vendor in terms of reliability & security, should apply to the cloud service provider as well.

Security is a major mental block for many companies who are considering Cloud since sensitive data is to be made available in an external environment.  "One of the many options to ensure security and privacy of data is to go with trustworthy, long-standing, credible Application and Service partners. A service provider need not be an application provider too but could be the same," added Mr. Balaji Ganesh. Both parties should considering signing a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and have necessary contractual obligations set up among themselves in terms of service availability, access rights, disaster plans, etc. Data that are externally hosted can also be encrypted and periodic (say quarterly) access audits conducted. The company can also ensure that user privileges are exclusive to their company employees and only specific users are empowered.

Cloud based HRMS is also a very cost-effective solution since only a subscription fee (pay per use - per employee per month or per employee per year) needs to be paid.   Many make the mistake of trying to compare the cost of on-premise solution with that of cloud solution directly.   On-premise solution has many additional components of cost like infrastructure, hardware, software, maintenance, support structure, etc., in addition to cost of downtime during migration to new version/update.   These are non-existent in case of Cloud and makes it simpler and easily adaptable.

Cloud can be successfully implemented in a company comprising of as small as 20 employees, as the infrastructure cost is non-existent. HRMS (Human Resource management systems) on Cloud can be implemented very fast because there is no infrastructure, hardware or software installation, database configuration and application setups. 

In today’s context integration with other applications or devices and/or customization are also possible in Cloud. Depending on the organizational requirements customers can customize their needs, carryout enhancements and integrate with other systems as well.

Where there are major customization involvement, companies can opt for private Cloud instead of using a public Cloud.

Integration or interfaces with other 3rd party applications which are in-house or on-Cloud is also possible. Support and maintenance is also a lot easier on Cloud both from the application and infrastructure perspective. Anti-virus and patches updates, etc. are done by the service provider as part of the contract.

The service provider can also expand the hardware resources on the Cloud as it detects changes in the volume of transactions – for instance when the number of transactions goes up during an organization’s appraisal. This flexible scalability and consistency functionality of Cloud environment may be absent in the case of in-house solutions, where the company has to add the resources needed to support the increased data volume.

Even disaster recovery is handled by the application or service provider whether it involves backups, disaster handling mechanism or even a location shift; everything is taken care of by the Cloud vendor.

"With lower cost, no capital expenditure & faster implementation, Cloud for HR is an attractive proposition for many companies," said Mr. Balaji Ganesh, CEO & MD of Adrenalin.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Mobile, cloud, and social are here to stay

HR tech will be driven by mobile, social and cloud thanks to inherent benefits over traditional HR management styles.
                     
Mr. Balaji Ganesh
CEO and MD
Adrenalin eSystems
Mobile and social are driving the HR technology space across the globe. While HR priorities such as hunt for good talent, grooming talent and making them more productive still remain, the channels to effectively meet them has changed to mobile and social due to the speed of these services.

Mobile and social, however, come with risks. These platforms expose the inner workings of an organization to the outside world and identifying the right amount of exposure is always a debatable point. The amount of flexibility that a company wants to give its employees compared to the amount of control it wants to exercise is always a trade-off.

The concept of “BYOD” (bring-your-own-device) is picking up in companies. While the amount of internet activity on proprietary infrastructure of the company can be monitored, it is virtually impossible to monitor or control what employees are doing through their smart devices. Some companies try hard to restrict employees’ use of social and mobile. Rather, the organization should focus on policies, coaching and culture-building to hedge the risks. On the flip side, employees also need to be careful about what they post about an organization on social platforms because negative connotations about a person’s social profile can be watched and viewed by the employee’s potential future employers.


Analytics will change the world of HR and HR technology in the coming times. While companies are inclined to get more analytical in their approach to human capital management, the real potential of analytics is unlocked when a company’s trends can be benchmarked against the industry or a particular geography. The possibility of such macro-level analytics is getting more real as more companies post their data on the cloud.

Cloud services are known to be secure and more stable than traditional enterprise systems. Through an analytics platform that can aggregate data from various enterprise systems and compare trends across macro-level parameters a company will be able to obtain more real-time and relevant data about its workforce. For example, traditional engagement measurements relied on retrospective point-in-time surveys. Analytics, however, has changed all that by allowing a company to obtain engagement data, which is benchmarked against the industry or geography and in real-time. This is real actionable data a human capital department can employ to course-correct its management approaches. Organizations failing to understand the potential of these trends will likely fall behind the more progressive ones in their ability to manage the changing composition of the workforce.

Choosing a technology service provider is a tricky affair. First and foremost, an organization should be very clear about who are the stakeholders involved in a service evaluation process. Typically, enterprise risks and priorities are reflected by a CXO-level executive better than a team of junior analysts. For important HR technology decisions, it is always advisable to have the CXO on board in the vendor evaluation process.

The first factor step in a vendor evaluation process is the credibility of a vendor. Besides that, it is important to evaluate how the technology service provider’s current and future product plans relate to the organization’s current and future plans. The questions that one needs to ask are “Can we migrate?” or “Can future integration be seamless?” it is also important to assess the long-standing-ness of the service provider besides other risk assessments. Risk analysis can include assessment of where the vendor puts the enterprise data and number of security layers.

In conclusion, changing workforce models in HR will drive the HR technology space in India. The strife between the older generation workforce trying to enforce controls and the younger generation eager to make changes will drive HR technology. Mobile, cloud, and social will continue to remain buzzwords for a while.



Wednesday, 25 December 2013

HR Tech 2014: What Awaits Us?

The HR Tech industry has been on an exciting journey in the past few years. A dynamic work environment, better technological ecosystems and a workforce that’s constantly demanding for more from an organization as well as themselves are all just a few signs of its growth.
The next year promises to bring more progress in remote workforce, cloud, gamification, social media integration, more focus on mobile and the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) concept and much more. At Adrenalin eSystems, we pride ourselves on understanding our market and the changing environment of our industry.
So these are the top trends we feel the HR Tech industry should look out for 2014 –
1. Shift to cloud – The shift to cloud in the HR tech industry will be more prevalent in 2014. More oragnisations will start doing business on cloud, as organisations understand the value addition that cloud on HR provides.In May, Amazon Web Services cloud received approval from the Federal Risk and Management program to allow US government business to use the cloud service.

2. Social media integration–This helps employees both in remote as well as on site locations, to consistently communicate and collaborate efficiently through a comfortable medium.

3. Gamification is the new reality – The idea of playing games to inspire an organisation’s workforce has not been given its due importance. But through behavioural techniques incorporated in HR processes and creating relevant games helps keep the talent motivated, increases retention and builds a corporate culture. Since most of the current workforce are millenials, gamification is the prefect to reach and engage with talent.

4. Remote Access – The world is becoming a smaller place through globalization. The idea of employees not working in an office, but other locations is gathering steam. Virtualisation is also aiding this process. Organisations will have to work harder to create a single platform that reach and bring together all employees.

5. Mobile is the way to go –Smart phones have changed the way the world functions. Employees are increasingly using and preferring to use the mobile to connect professionally. It also helps ensure that time-sensitive decisions are not held back due to locational challenges. Even the BYOD (bring your own device) has helped build employee efficiency, in this regard.

6. Analytics in HR – Software analytics takes the HR component in an organization to a new level. Relevant data can be collected to gauge employee retention patterns and satisfaction levels. Understanding the workforce and the environment better will help improve the same.

7. Redefining HR – With so many changes in HR as a function itself, the technology required to understand this ever-changing environment.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Why SME’s need HR on Cloud?

As technology keeps evolving every day, going the cloud way has become the way to go for all companies big and small. Though there has been a high adoption rate amongst bigger companies, the SME sector to whom the benefits are even greater have seen less adoption rates. Mr. Ganesh Balaji, CEO and Managing Director of Adrenalin eSystems Limited, tells us more about Cloud HR and its advantages to SMEs, its myths and why SMEs are hesitant to adopt the technology.

Q. What are the myths surrounding HR on Cloud?

A. Some of the major concerns companies not just SMEs have are-
1. Is my data secure ?
2. Is there a flexibility of software, in terms of upgrades etc.
3. Are there any hidden costs, which will come up later?
The answers to these questions are simple. Most data centres are very secure and have their own standards for data security. Every cloud provider gives information about how to transfer data, whenever required. Cloud Software does not mean that it necessarily need to be “one size fits all”, you can have the flexibility to meet specific business needs. Upgrades keep happening and users will have the choice of when to take them on. And in terms of hidden costs if the company asks the right questions in the beginning, these are mostly unfounded. Overall these are more a mindset than anything else.

Q. What are the advantages of HR on Cloud to a SME?

A. SME’s are aspirational in nature and they want to grow bigger and they need to have the strong support of Technology to streamline their process. Having a centralized single data point of all employees will always help a growing company. With HR on Cloud, there are no capital costs and investments in hardware. A separate IT team is not required to manage the setup, since the cloud environment will be maintained by the service & application provider; the application support is also simpler. Upgrades to a newer version are easy since the application provider takes care of it. This also means there is less downtime for the company, since the transition takes place seamlessly. The applications are very user friendly. It’s almost as easy as using a smart phone, where you don’t even read the manual to start.You can get started almost immediately

Q. Why SMEs are skeptical about HR on cloud?

A. The fear is that any investment in technology is time-consuming, costly and companies are not sure if it will suit their needs. However, in cloud HR these problems are addressed. The cost is low, since it is based on usage and companies can even opt to try it for a few months. The exit rate is zero, unlike on premises programs where investments on hardware and software are sunk. If it fails, then the investment is lost. In cloud these problems do not exist. Companies that adopt applications on cloud will get faster business benefits.

Q. How does HR compliance help SME’s to grow their business?

A. These statutory compliances take too much of administrative time. Technology helps to meet these compliances faster. Businesses can spend productive time performing core activities. The compliances need to be maintained in a particular format that is possible with On Cloud tools. Also, the applications make sure the companies follow the compliances need with timely reminders etc.

Q. Smaller businesses where one person has multiple roles to play are said to benefit from cloud HR. How?

A. A small operation spread across multiple locations, without a dedicated application to handle its HR will be a problem. So if an employee in one location wants to apply for leave through a centralized system, this will be easy. Since the system will send the request to the necessary person. It will connect people who are geographically dispersed through a common system.The additional cost per employee towards this application will not even be more than a cup of coffee. The advantages are empowered workforce, transparency of policies; people are productive since they have time outside administrative hassles.

Q. What measures can be taken to bring SMEs to use cloud HR?

A. Education, nothing else. The fear of the unknown (technology) needs to be removed. Leaders should take the initiative to adopt. There are trial accounts offered by most providers, so that users can see if it fits their requirements. (The software can be used for various verticals since the provider will customize it based on organizational requirements.) The exit policy offered by many vendors are so attractive that the SME’s don’t have to worry about getting stuck with one vendor for lifelong if it does not fit their requirements.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Simplicity Drives Demand for HR Tech



Mr. Balaji Ganesh, CEO & MD of Adrenalin eSystems Limited on how technologies are helping organisations develop agile strategies for impact.




Q. What is driving the demand for HR technology in India?

A. The need for simplicity is driving the demand for HR technology in the market. In a highly complex operating environment, the deluge of different processes is compelling organisations to think about unification and simplification and consequently driving the need for HR technology. Another key factor driving the upsurge in HR technology demand is the changing nature of organisational demographics. As the percentage of young talent grows in an organisation, the proliferation of social media, mobile and collaboration tools within the enterprise happens proportionately.

Collaboration has become a vital factor of the technology plans of any organisation because the current generation workforce prefers sharing and sourcing of knowledge and resources even while executing individual tasks and assignments. Organisations thus are constantly on the lookout for tools and technologies that allow seamless collaboration between employees. Therefore, presence on the web and social media is a vital part of an organisation’s talent management plan.

Q. What are the points of caution for an organisation’s talent brand on social media?

A. There are a few risks of spreading an organisation’s web and social media presence. First of all, it is difficult to administer control over web-based social media interactions. Several cases keep cropping from time to time showing how an organisation’s product and talent brand was severely affected due to some unwarranted social media activity. At the same time, it is no secret that an organisation that restrict employees’ social media usage will perhaps not likely end up with as a preferred talent brand. There has been a rising trend in organisations trying to overcome this challenge by building internal social media platforms hosted on the company’s intranet that try to replicate the user-experience of some of the most popular public-domain social media platforms.

Companies are now very serious about gathering information from public social media forums about what is being spoken about the organisation. Many companies take concerted steps to influence positive opinion about the organisational brand by influencing what employees post on external social media. Consequently in the services space, there has been an upswing in products and services that help companies analyse the organisation’s social media brand and devise strategies to influence them. The need for such analysis is gaining prominence because most employees have access to public social media through smartphones.

Q. What are the technology options available for talent brands on social media?

A. There is a great need for a company to be agile and proactive with their social media strategy. Agility refers to quickly acting on any positive or negative social media activity. Precedence has shown that it takes very little time for any influential social-media activity to go viral and this can greatly affect an organisation’s brand. Companies, therefore, are looking to employ products that enable them to quickly act on any social media activity. For example, there are technology products available now that provide real-time alerts whenever any content about the company is posted on any social media.

Smartphones have caused a huge upsurge in the space of apps for HR processes. Nowadays, most of the enterprise HR processes can be conducted through a smartphone with an internet connection. Many of these apps are also available to companies for customisation according to unique processes in an organisation. Technology service companies help organisations capture unique processes and create customised apps for various purposes such as performance management, engagement initiatives and social-media.

Social media and mobile technology will drive brands and talent strategies to a great extent in the coming times. While evaluating a technology solution, there really are two key criteria that an organisation should evaluate: Whether the solution meets the organisation’s requirement and if it is adaptable and scalable to meet future requirements. It is in the best interest of an organisation to start thinking about the impact of social and mobile technologies and how to build strategies around them.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Smart Technology for a Smarter Workplace.

Mr. Balaji Ganesh
CEO and MD 
Adrenalin eSystems
In an interesting tête-à-tête,

Mr. Balaji Ganesh, CEO & MD of Adrenalin eSystems Limited talks about changing trends at workplace and the corresponding adaptations in HRMS. He starts with Smart Technology’s role in today’s work environment and goes on to detail the benefits, security aspects and the role of employees in this transition.

Q. What is the role of smart phones and technology at the work place today?

Smart technology is no longer a choice. It is here to stay. It has effectively invaded our personal spaces and our workplace too. So, what’s the big draw of smart technology? I will say simplicity. Everything is at your fingertips, literally. Even a laptop cannot compete with the speed and prompt response of a tab.   In fact, today’s technology has made instruction manuals redundant. We can’t ignore the advantages and complexities of such technology available to the employee.

Our products are acutely aware of these changing trends and our systems have evolved to accommodate the requirement. For instance, many employees prefer using their own gadgets. We can adopt the ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)’ concept. Our system will have a registration process for their devices and also create an authentication process to recognize that particular device in the system. This way we can control information flow to a certain extent.

Q. What are the key benefits an organisation stands to receive by adopting smart technology?

Let me illustrate that with a ground level example. A service guy is at the site in response to a malfunction in a vending machine. He identifies the problem and the spare part required. He can use his phone for the requirement and our system will pick up the message from there. Promptly he will get an answer that includes availability of the spare part and closest location of an outlet providing the same.

Basically by using this technology we have saved time and increased the productivity of the employee. When harnessed positively, mobile technology is a sure advantage to an organisation.

Q. What are the critical security aspects that are to be considered while adopting mobile technology?

Every system needs guidelines to ensure positive usage. Social networking and smart technology can be moderated within the system. Devices can be registered and monitored by the system.

This further helps with the security aspects too. In case of loss of device, by tracking the time frame we can identify inappropriate transactions. Similarly if an employee quits without notice, his device can be erased from the system preventing any malpractice through the device. Even if an employee switches off his phone, his location can be tracked, thanks to mobile technology.

Of course all applications cannot be accessed by all employees. Depending on the need of the organisation there will be security clearance at various levels. But the irony is that we are back to our traditional value system; an employee’s ethics remain the most valuable asset.

Q. Should employees be allowed to use mobile technology for enterprise application?

Yes, employees should be allowed to use mobile technology for enterprise application. According to a study by a IT Research firm, by 2017, half the employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes. Organisations should reap the benefits of using the mobile technology. There will be lots of advantages when employees are allowed to use mobile technology, such as increased employee productivity, employees get to use the benefits of the services offered by the organisations whenever required. The other benefit is that employees stay connected to each other all the time.

Q. How does mobile technology fit in Adrenalin’s road map?

Mobile technology will play a very crucial role in the Adrenalin’s road map. Adrenalin understands the importance of empowering employees to enable agile workforce and in creating Agile organizations. We have implemented key modules on the mobile platform which are user friendly and will empower employees to be productive and take smarter and faster decisions from anywhere, accelerate workflow alerts & approvals.   Adrenalin’s roadmap includes full adoption of the HR processes in mobile over a period of time.

Mr. Balaji Ganesh makes it quite clear that smart technology will give certainly an edge to organizations that quickly adopts them to empower their workforce. The simplicity that these devices offer will help save time and increase employee productivity. His insights into smart technology and employee management are a valuable resource for all who are involved in corporate enterprises.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Recruitment puzzle – My perspective

Ken Georgie Mathew
Aspiration Management 
Professional
Thank you to all who have responded to the recruitment puzzle. Your perspectives are equally valid as each organization and recruiters have different systems and processes and hence there could be many points of view to this puzzle. In case you have not read the puzzle yet, here is the link http://adrenalinhrms.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-recruitment-puzzle.html 

I would like you to read the Puzzle once again and the insights shared by many of you as a response to the Puzzle. I am still learning from your perspectives, and I am sure that recruiters will be benefited from the knowledge that you all have shared. 

If you have already read the puzzle, here is my point of view. Let me start by highlighting two points from the puzzle. 

Each organization and recruiters have different system and processes and hence there could be many ways to look at this puzzle. The off line processes and the level of usage of technology to mitigate risks and to ensure "right hire" or should I say "closest to right hire" varies from one organization to another. 

The second aspect to be highlighted is, the puzzle says "the line manager, a capable and impartial person, conducts interview for all the five candidates, and recommends releases of offer letter to one of the rejected candidates". 

So when the line manager received the 5 top candidate’s interview evaluation sheets, naturally the evaluation sheet of two were marked as rejected. After finding that 2 of the 5 candidates were rejected, the line manager need not have accepted all the 5. Instead the line manger could have accepted only the 3 candidates. To be fair, the line manager reviews the interview evaluation sheet in detail. This analysis pointed to a very important fact which, in my opinion, is key to solving the puzzle. The puzzle states that there were many interviews panels. All the 5 candidates were not interviewed by the same panel. The line manager knows the capability and skills of the team members and their level of knowledge to evaluate a candidate. The line manager finds that one of the rejected candidates had got the toughest interview panel. This is one of the main reasons that made the line manager think about considering all the 5 candidates for the next level of interview. 

The puzzle also talks about one person's response to the puzzle, "The manager asked the various panels and they explained the reasons for their ratings". This also gave the line manager the opportunity to understand the level of evaluation, and there is an assessment that the line manager made based on the review with the panels." 

What the line manager does is to call all 5 candidates for an interview. Now the puzzle says that "The manager found that the rating for the top 3 candidates who cleared the first round interview were more or less similar”. Now, this puts the line manager in a spot because, the line manager has evaluated all 5, finds that the top 3 candidates who cleared the first round interview were more or less similar and of course since the line manger recommended release of offer to one of the rejected candidate, the line manager felt that the rejected candidate was also capable and hence needed to be considered. 

One of the first comments I received for this blog was "How can you release an offer to a rejected candidate?" "Was it a mistake from the part of the recruiter?" 

Yes, the line manager could be questioned on the decision to recommend release of the offer to a rejected candidate? And hence the decision should be substantiated. Now, to substantiate, the line manager decides to use the capability of technology. As mentioned earlier, each organization and recruiters have different system and processes and hence there could be many ways to look at this puzzle. The off line processes and the level of usage of technology to mitigate risks and to ensure "right hire” varies from one organization to another. The line manger required a tool that enables evaluation of the quality of past interviews. 

In this case, the technology infrastructure being the ATM “Any Time Manpower" (HR-ATM) that provides the facility to record live interviews and review of past interviews, and also the necessary features that the ATM provides to mitigate risk of "Wrong hiring".

On review, the line manager was able to access the quality of interviewing of the various panels that had conducted the first round. The final decision to recommend release of offer to one of the rejected candidates was based on the quality of interviewing that the line manager could see, and the evaluation feedback based on the interview that the line manager had personally conducted.