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On the Surface, the Pats aren’t cheating…

January 30, 2015

Belichick and PalpatineWhat’s an evil emperor to do? In 2007, the en-eff-el spanked Bill Belichick and took his Kodachrome away for his staff filming the defensive signals of an opposing team in front of 70,000 people, a “cheating scandal” that was and is full of hot air. Brady AnakinSince then, the coach and his breathtakingly handsome, super-model marrying quarterback, Tom Brady, have been maligned by opposing fans and ruthlessly compared to two of the most evil characters in history. Fictional history, mind you, but hey, it’s all in fun, right? Now, suddenly the league is investigating the Patriots for allegedly deinflating footballs to gain an illegal competitive advantage. While using the alleged nerf balls in the AFC championship game against Indianapolis, the Patriots used their squishy advantage to build a 17-7 lead at halftime. After league officials confiscated the nerfs at halftime, the Pats managed a mere 28-0 hardball performance in the second half. Anyway, the league has announced “Added security” for all balls at the big game, so what’s Coach “Belicheat” to do? Technology to the rescue…

russell-wilson-and-surfaceHave you seen the cool ad on the Microsoft Surface featuring Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson? Besides giving me a chance to plug my post on how Kronos uses football film study, the ad shows just one way teams are using technology. Besides the Surface on the sideline, teams are using big data to compile and analyze player performance, improve their safety, and even refine recruiting. Some might call these applications of technology “workforce analytics,” but that’s not important right now… For in game use, here’s an overview of how most teams use the Surface, but for Sunday, the key statement in the article is, “for all the advancements, it still feels like Microsoft and the NFL could take the idea even further.” Now stay with me… This article on “Cloud Seeding Possibilities” (no, not this cloud) is from the University of Arizona, the same U of A that Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski hails from. Now, if you go to the Patriots website, you’ll see they surely have an app development team, based on the number of “official” apps they offer. My sources tell me Bill Belichick’s special ops “app/dev” team has been working with Weather Modification Incorporated in preparation for Sunday’s game. My prediction is naturally a Pats victory, but not without controversy that will look something like this…

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Belichick controls the weather

The Cool Kids Cloud Club?

January 29, 2015

First ofnot cool all, I can’t stand butt kissers, and I hope my readers will understand I’m just an objective correspondent reporting the facts, ma’am. Anyway, this morning I excitedly scanned the list of The Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2015 in search of well, us. I didn’t find us, so I did a little investigative reporting. Louis Columbus over at Forbes used the latest Computer Reseller News list, The 100 Coolest Cloud Computing Vendors Of 2015, plus Glassdoor.com scores of the percentage of employees who would recommend this company to a friend and the percentage of employees who approve of the CEO…

OK, so first I want to make sure Kronos was “cloudy” enough to make the list, and since I see IBM, Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle, yeah, I think with 12,000 customer organizations in the Kronos cloud, we’re pretty cloudy.

Then I looked at Kronos rankings at Glassdoor to see if employees hate us or if the big guy got us bounced from the list. Uhhh, no. In fact, 88% of Kronos employees in the Glassdoor database would recommend us to a friend (that would place us at #12 of 53 companies), and as for the CEO, here’s the list from the Forbes article annotated by me:

The highest rated CEOs on Glassdoor as of January 28th include the following:

  • Jay Chaudhry, Zscaler, 97%
  • David Ulevitch, OpenDNS, 97%
  • Rodney J. Rogers, Virtustream, 96%
  • Brian Halligan, HubSpot, 96%
  • Lew Cirne, New Relic, 96%
  • Nicolas Desmarais & Daniel Saks, AppDirect, 96%
  • Larry Page, Google, 96%
  • Aron Ain, Kronos, 96%
  • Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat, 96%
  • Brad Peters, Birst, 95%
  • Greg Schott, Mulesoft, 95%
  • Marc Benioff, Salesforce, 94%

Then it hit me. We didn’t make the “cool” list, even though “cool” isn’t defined by CRN. So what’s cool for a cloud company? Happy, loyal customers? Yessir. Happy, engaged employees? Yep. SaaS? Uh-huh. Mobile? iCheck. Global? Si. Gamification? We got game. Revenue growth? Money. Profitable. Yeah, that too.

Nevermind. I guess I’m cool with all that.

Film study a key to winning on Sunday and everyday

January 28, 2015
nfl-tape-film-video

Photo from bleacherreport.com

In the Sports Illustrated article, Everything You Need To Know About Super Bowl 49, the subtitle says:

“Our film-study guru breaks down the matchups, schemes, strengths, weaknesses and gambits from every conceivable angle. And the winner will be…”

The study of film from past games is a key component to developing a game plan in football. Knowing what worked and what didn’t, both for you and your upcoming opponent. Reviewing game film allows the viewer to see team and individual tendencies, strengths and weaknesses, and areas of opportunity to exploit. The teams from Seattle and New England are watching a lot of film this week.

We do essentially the same thing at Kronos. We review our past efforts, and we analyze wins and losses to determine how we win and why we lose. Just like in a football game, the variables are always different depending on the competition, and our ability to execute our game plan. One variable that makes our analysis more obtuse is identifying and meeting specific customer needs. You never know how meeting just one customer need can be the difference in winning and losing. Sometimes that’s achieved by great preparation, and sometimes it’s just luck (See: Seattle v. Green Bay NFC Championship) This morning I was reviewing the “game film” from a recent win, and the customer said:

One other thing we liked with Kronos was the training. They were holding our hands, and because this agency has never been on a time and attendance system before, I thought it was important for them to have a company that is going to hold their hands.”

Hmmm… Training. It can be the difference between winning and losing. Hand holding doesn’t hurt, either.

Snowmageddon can’t kill the Kronos cloud!

January 27, 2015

I assure you the deflector shields will be quite operational for the Workforce Central cloud and the Workforce Ready cloud. That’s not the case for an internal “Cloud Forum” scheduled for tomorrow…

WorkJoyce ready for JunoFirst though, I want to bring you up to date on the disaster preparedness plan implemented yesterday by (Work)Joyce. Just like the storm, there are a couple things in play here. First, the boss has lost a few pounds since the beginning of the year (she’s working on “her guns”), and I wasn’t really sure how she was doing it. Second, on a conference call yesterday, she mentioned “filling 8 gallon jugs of water” just in case her costal home was cut off from civilization. No, really. It happens when you live on 1 square mile of land surrounded by the ocean and precariously connected to Whole Foods by just a slim tombolo. Just now she assured me all is well…

Anyway, the “Cloud Forum” is to “bring individuals from across Kronos, in support our cloud business, together to share updates from their areas as well as to work on continuous improvement efforts.” Sadly, this bombogenesis of snow has blown our cloud-time continuum awry, producing a schedule drift out a couple weeks.

Back to ridin’ the storm out like they did in bellbottoms back in ‘78.

All work and no play makes Jack a stressed boy

January 26, 2015

ShiningFrozenJackYeah, today’s post title is a nod to “the Shining.” I hear we’re getting a “Bliznado” tonight and all day tomorrow. While I’m a little concerned about losing power, freezing pipes, and whether sharks will be involved, I’m not stressing about Snowpocalypse’s impact on my work. I’m pretty confident Kronos will close our Massachusetts campuses tomorrow for the well-being of employees, and many of us can work from home, anyway, so I’ll be chill. Uh, I mean relaxed, not cold. Well, unless I get lost snow-blowing in the maze of my driveway…

Stress-Pie-Chart-259x300Anyway, workplace stress is not really a joking matter. An article in Forbes today pegs annual healthcare costs related to workplace stress at $190B. I wasn’t aware there’s an American Institute of Stress, but there is, and their attached graphic shows what’s what in the workforce stress pie. With “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” number 2 on the list of 5 Things People Regret Most On Their Deathbed, how do we deal? Here are some excellent Tips to Reduce and Manage Job and Workplace Stress, but the article doesn’t mention meditation. With growing evidence that the practice can actually change our brains for the better, why not give meditation a try?

Of course, working for an organization that respects a good work-life balance is something to consider while you’re not meditating. “Work Inspired” is what we call it here at Kronos, and with almost 180 open positions, shouldn’t you at least take a look? It could be time well spent tomorrow while you survive Stormageddon.

Stay safe, everyone.

Boomers: What do you want from (work) life?

January 23, 2015

“There is nothing sadder than an aging hipster…”
Attributed to either Lenny Bruce or a police officer at the scene of his 1966 death

AARP Baby Boomers (Sean McCabe)I’m a baby boomer, born 2/3 into the 18 year window of 1946 to 1964. I can’t even define “aging hipster,” and I don’t think I’ve ever been hip, but given my use of social media well beyond most of my co-workers, maybe I’m an aging social hipster? As my career has evolved on its own trajectory, the ability to make stuff up and advocate for my company is probably driving as much value as anything else I do at work. Still, I won’t do this forever, and while “retirement” isn’t something that interests me, what’s the plan for me and millions of boomers like me?

Kerry Hannon, writing in the Wall Street Journal addresses this topic with New SHRM Survey Finds Organizations Unprepared for Aging Workforce. If you’re a boomer or are at all interested in managing this transition of millions of boomer workers, read it. In a related thread, yesterday I participated in a Kronos tweetchat on the Workforce Institute’s top 5 predictions in workforce management for 2015. You can check out the whole transcript here, but the question most pertinent to this post was:

Baby boomers continue to retire. How can orgs address skills gap & hold onto the knowledge assets of a retiring workforce?

There were some interesting responses. Here are a few:

  • Provide Boomers with exit ramps via part time opportunities
  • Boomers need and want flexible schedules and the ones worth keeping will want continued skills growth opportunities
  • Organizations and employees can start thinking about phased retirement strategies. Allow time for knowledge transfer
  • Hold onto knowledge assets by allowing for phased retirement; tap retirees to fill temp jobs/for people on leave
  • Buddy-up a b’boomer with a newer manager. Give them opportunities to transfer some of the tacit knowledge and feel valued

What are your strategies for retaining your valuable aging hipsters? And if you’re a boomer, what would you like that transition to be like?

It’s not easy being cloud

January 22, 2015

I’ve written a few “Dinosaurs in SaaSWorld” posts about the claim by some that mature enterprise software vendors like Oracle, SAP, and yeah, Kronos would be unable to make a successful transition from a licensed software, on-customer-premise model to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. I never claimed it was going to be easy, and this week when SAP and IBM reported earnings for the calendar 4th quarter, both cited challenges associated with their move to the cloud:

It’s not easy being cloud.

In other news, Kronos reported first quarter earnings this week, noting Workforce Management Cloud Revenue Increases 60 Percent as Shift to Kronos Cloud Continues. Still, SaaS is simply the deployment model our customers want, and while cloud continues to be the fastest growing engine of our business, it’s so many other elements like product innovation, industry expertise, customer experience, and employee engagement that keep us the leader in workforce management.

So while it’s not easy being cloud, our success isn’t really about it anyway.

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