OK, first of all, I can’t tell you everything I heard and saw, but whoa… Am I glad I work for Kronos. Seriously. Sometimes I just have to pause and reflect on how fortunate I am that I knew Tom, and Tom knew Pete, and I knew enough about billable utilization to pass the interview with Ray… Yeah, that’s how it went. Anyway… Here are some highlights in words and pictures:
Customer satisfaction – It’s trending up, and we’re continuing to focus on delivering the experience you expect:
Financial Summary and Trends – I do think that focusing on the customer experience leads to strong financial performance. After a while, though, the financials got tedious. Most were just a version of this:
Cloud – It’s where we are. It’s where we’re going, and in 2014, a majority of our customers were going there, too:
IT – Common, Integrated, and Global – After years of acquisitions and globalization, an IT infrastructure can become quite complicated. Our CIO explained the plan to standardize across the planet.
Industry performance – Our Sales VP’s presented performance across all our industries, and the new guy was pretty funny. Again, though… Across industries, the stories were made up of green numbers.
Products – We got live demos of professional grant and project tracking, OptiLink® for healthcare scheduling using actual patient demand, and Workforce HR… This was my favorite part. Check out this new employee self-service interface!
Finally, and this is only a tease… The announcement will come in mid-November, but we’re…
While I’m watching a parade of success stories at our 2014 Operational Review, here’s another guest post by Lynne Levy. I’m thankful Lynne is courageously answering my call for guest bloggers, so if you’re a Kronos customer, employee, or partner, please let me know if you want to blog! Lynne is our Director of Product Management in the Workforce Talent Acquisition organization and is passionate about building innovative products that engage the multi-generational workforce.
By Lynne Levy, MBA
While listening to a motivational speech by Erik Weihenmayer …..A key question he asked the audience resonated with me. “Who is your rope team?” Who is your team with whom you can walk into a storm, have complete trust, and together, have the courage to face adversity?
With a rope team, everyone has a different role, a different way to see the situation, and is tied together with a common vision. It’s these key elements along with trust the enables a rope team to walk into the storm. They are only successful when they work together, leveraging each other’s strengths in the group.
In the world of Product Management, who is the rope team? The most successful rope teams in my Product Management journey have been a wide range of stakeholders. They have included strategic customers, engineers, architects, services, sales, and support. Each member of the rope group gives a different perspective to the vision. In fact, it’s the rope group that can help you, as a product manager, both adjust the vision and make the vision real. It’s my various rope teams during my career that have helped shape an idea or a thought into a product. It’s the rope teams that have enabled me to look at a customer business challenge from a completely different angle, enabling the team to build a better product.
Many product managers are Type A personalities and love to be in control and lead the group. I initially struggled with working in collaborative groups (aka rope teams). However, after working with some amazing leaders over the years, I have learned the value of being a MEMBER of the rope team. I have learned that if one element of the rope is broken or falls, the entire group is impacted. Each element of your rope group is tied together and dependent on each other. There is no one formal leader in a rope group. Each member is interdependent with each other to solve the problem. As product managers, we need to embrace rope teams as the key to building successful products.
Who is your rope team?
Monday, October 20th was the 10th anniversary of the Boston Red Sox epic comeback win on the ALCS over the New York Yankees. The day didn’t get any better for New Yorkers at IBM’s NY headquarters as the company announced their 3rd quarter results:
- Sales decreased 4%, the 10th consecutive quarter of flat or declining sales
- Profits down sharply
Since a close of $182.05 on 10/15, the venerable IBM ticker is currently $161.89, a decline of 11%
The aftermath was telling.
During the company earnings conference call, Senior Vice President and CFO, Martin Schroeter said IBM would “remix its portfolio to target higher customer value,” and “accelerating the use of automation in our data centers and being more aggressive in our use of global delivery skills and intellectual property across our service lines.”
Huh? Not a word about people, although that seems to be a huge issue. Disengaged employees can’t provide a great service experience, and many industry pundits point to “the services problem” as the problem, and since many services are delivered by people, one financial analyst wrote:
“A stakeholder considering an investment – or a current stakeholder before reinvesting – should ask IBM to discuss, publish and benchmark its customer satisfaction and employee morale measurements.”
As the software industry races to the “as a service” model, the “service” may be more important than the “software,” and at Kronos, we’re focused on making both great. So when we receive customer satisfaction awards and recognition as a “Best Place to Work,” it’s no coincidence that Kronos “as a service” offerings continue to “grow exponentially.”
In his article, Mr. Robert X. Cringely put it simply for IBM and any other “as a service” provider:
“As goes Services, so goes the whole corporation.”
By now, many of our customers are dutifully studying and plotting their KronosWorks agenda, mapping out their assault on the Expo Hall, scheduling education workshops, and planning to document their every move via social media…
No they’re not!
In reality, many of the 2,500 customer, partner and employee attendees are:
- dutifully studying and plotting their Vegas agenda
- mapping out their assault on the casinos
- scheduling spectacular dinners
- and planning to make sure their every move stays in Vegas!
This will be my 15th KronosWorks as an employee, although I won’t celebrate my 15th anniversary until April… Math is weird sometimes. Anyway, here are my tips for getting the most out of KronosWorks sessions and Vegas, baby!
KronosWorks is a great place to get some training, so check out our education workshops happening Mon, Tue and Wed.
- If you’re a Workforce Central customer, and not on version 7, you should check out Workforce Central 7: Workforce Management Made Easier at 11:15 on Monday. Remember, it’s now 78% java-free!
- Every year, Find Support Answers and More on the Kronos Customer Portal is a popular and highly-rated session. It’s Monday at 2:15.
- At 3:15, 7 More Options to Drive an Optimized Kronos Solution will open your eyes on how to improve your Workforce Central system, and use it more effectively.
- Monday night, dinners are by industry.
- On Tuesday at 9, get a demo and your questions answered on Kronos KnowledgePass, our education portal.
- Many time-slots have tough competition, and Tuesday at 10 is a toughie for me. I’m torn between Workforce Central Operational Reporting for the Business Analyst and The Affordable Care Act – Kronos Delivers. I guess it depends on whether you are a data geek or want to comply with the law…
- At 11, definitely check out The Kronos Workforce Central Cloud: Ask the Experts. This panel Q&A was my idea, so although I don’t get a commission on it, go.
- At 1:45, I’d do the double session, Roundtable: Change Doesn’t Have to Be Hard. The moderator is outstanding, and managing change applies to more than just your Kronos system.
- At 7:00 on Tuesday is the big customer event that makes those Wednesday morning sessions so challenging.
- At 8:45, Workforce Timekeeper Tips and Tricks for the New User is always popular. We also have T&T sessions for the “superuser,” IT administrator, plus a T&T session for Workforce HR/Payroll system administrators.
- If your users aren’t really, um, using your system, then attend Increasing User Adoption to Maximize ROI at 9:45.
- Finally, as you stagger toward the marathon finish line, finish strong with Integration: Ask the Experts. It’s a panel that will entertain questions and share tips on Workforce Integration Manager.
Now, for the tips you really want:
- This should be the only tip I need to share, but the hottest band in the land plays the Hard Rock Café Casino on the 7th, 8th, and 12th. You’re welcome.
- Sushi Samba in the Pallazzo Hotel should be experienced. You give the waiter a per-head budget, then tell him or her what you like and don’t like. The food then arrives in waves. Like tsunami waves of deliciousness. Don’t miss the sea bass.
- Carnaval Court Bar & Grill – Just go.
Finally, I wish I could recommend the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, but it’s closed for renovations through November 14, 2014. Instead, save your pennies and dine at their fantastic Picasso restaurant. And yes, they have real Picasso works adorning the walls…
Before these get too far back in my rear view mirror, here are key learning’s for me from TSW:
Live chat can drive customer satisfaction and revenue. I just had an excellent chat experience with Build.com regarding a product return, and now I’m telling all of you about it. It was that good. Here’s what one presenter at TSW showed for the impact of live chat on their organization:
I love this, and hope it will someday be a part of all Kronos products. EPS provides product guidance when a user needs it, as they are using the product. Of course, I want ours to have ESP, and be able to predict when a user will have a problem, then provide guidance before they know they need it. Here’s a quick primer slide on EPS by ANCILE:
Evolving to outcome-based services from a product/services approach requires a new way of thinking about solving customer problems. This slide captures the transition nicely:
I continue to be amazed at their use of technology to enhance their customer experience. Recently, they revamped their public, partner, and employee online properties with fantastic results:
Net Promoter Score is Dead
This was mentioned in the keynote by TSIA CEO, J.B. Wood. I missed it, of course, but in conversations with my co-workers, it’s not the idea of measuring customer loyalty that’s dead, but the fact that it’s a look-back. Today, service providers have to react real-time in solving customer issues, not later after a survey.
But we should always think like #2. Tom Fishburne – Marketing Guru… Hmmm… Sounds familiar.
- 3:56pm departure from Las Vegas delayed to 5:45, but I did strike gold in the terminal!
- That recalibrated our arrival time from 11:59pm to 1:41am.
- JetBlue had issues with the toilets, and the TV’s weren’t working, but free Wi-Fi was!
- Our landing in Boston wasn’t bad, in spite of 40 knot gusts…
- …but we had to wait for a gate.
- Then a baggage ramp broke, so baggage was delayed.
- Hey, in spite of the downpour, I was in the garage… Um, check that. I was on the roof of the garage.
- At 2:20am or so, the Mass Pike heading West from the airport was reduced to one lane… clogged with cars.
- It was a slow slog home, but I made it safely at 3:30am…
I’m doing the Vegas thing again for KronosWorks November 9-12, and apparently so are many of you! Right now we’re pushing 2,500 customers, partners, employees, and Adam Savages, an all-time high, so the app will get a workout, but you can start planning with it now. Just hit our download page and choose Android, iOS, or HTML5 to use it on a laptop.
Follow me and I will follow. Wow! They were young!
It’s tough for me to focus when my brain is swirling like a smoothie in a blender, but that’s what Technology Services World has done to me. I’m learning about so many ways for Kronos to leverage the Nexus of Forces, or the 3rd platform, depending on whether you follow Gartner or IDC. I’m There are so many ways we, and other technology providers can improve the customer experience, and things are moving faster than ever. In one wonderful presentation, I learned to first understand the end business outcome the customer wants, then work backward from there to figure out how best to help them. Sessions on live chat and performance support blew me away, then I saw this slide in a session on learning communities… Then I had a Ferris Bueller moment. For organizations and individuals, this is so simple, but a key to maintaining and increasing our relevance:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”