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The Working Smarter Evening Café

September 19, 2014

165540036-thumbnailThe Boston Evening Globe, which began in 1878 but first appeared under the “evening” name on Feb. 1, 1914, ran for 100 years and ceased publication in 1979. Yes, I’m old enough to remember it, but not this headline. However, this one is still pretty fresh, as is this one, and this one. Still, it may be a while before we see another one…

KW quoteSo in the spirit of the old evening newspapers, here’s an afternoon edition of blog-licious content that’s not just regurgitated from today’s morning edition. KronosWorks starts in just 51 days, on Sunday, November 9, 2014. You can still save $100 bucks if you register by October 3rd, and here are some hot sessions depending on your area of interest, including a special track for Workforce Ready customers:

The Oracle of Larry-Land

September 19, 2014

Larry OracleDepending on which news spin you care to believe, Oracle founder Larry Ellison either stepped down or didn’t step down as CEO of the company yesterday. Many people seem to despise the man who, in 1977 started the company that would eventually become Oracle with $2,000 and led its growth to a current market cap of around $180 billion. For his efforts, Mr. Ellison has built a personal fortune of around $50 billion. Not bad for a “college drop-out.”

Ellison bookWhile some of Oracle’s success is due to the tech acumen of Mr. Ellison (he’s remaining CTO), and his ability to navigate the good ship Oracle from mainframe computers to minicomputers, personal computers, computer servers and finally, the Internet, aka “the cloud,” it may be his ability to recruit and manage talent that’s driven Oracle’s success.

Now at 70, Mr. Ellison may be thinking about the ultimate “stepping down” we all face. That is unless author Mike Wilson’s book on him is prescient…

Any way you look at it, Larry Ellison’s Oracle is a monster in the tech industry. One former employee said, “The reality is the culture is Larry, and Larry is the culture.” And since that culture includes lining up Pearl Jam for their annual user’s conference, it can’t be all bad.


Job skills gap? “It’s you, not me”

September 18, 2014

its not youToday I was amused to read in my daily email alert from HR and Payroll Answerforce,™ “Survey shows more than half of American workers believe a skills gap exists but does not apply to them.” The article can be found elsewhere, but I wouldn’t have found it without my email alert.

If you’d like to receive these nifty alerts, all you have to do is log in to the customer portal, and then click on HR and Payroll Answerforce™. Once there, just sign up for email alerts, and all the answers will come to you!

HR and Payroll Answerforce™ content is provides by Wolters Kluwer, and provides “one source for research on HR and payroll related issues — Recruitment and Retention, JCAHO, Workplace Safety, HIPAA, and more. It also provides relevant state and federal laws and regulations for times when more in-depth information is needed.”

No, really. it’s you.

It’s cool and in demand to be a “data geek”

September 17, 2014

Lisa-Pratt-1I love to “be the data,” but only in small bytes. I’d much rather just make stuff up than have to prove it with data. Today, I’m pleased to introduce Lisa Pratt as your blogger of the day. This is the first of a series from Lisa on data analytics, but it’s not all geeky. She’s a storyteller, too! Lisa is the self-described “Senior Director of Marketing Measurement and Analytics at Kronos, responsible for delivering insight into how our strategies translate into brand awareness, quality leads, and revenue across our key industry and customer segments. Lisa has been at Kronos for 4½ years, but her entire 20+ year career has been spent analyzing large amounts of marketing and customer data to drive better business decisions.”

I have always been a math person. I steadfastly maintained throughout my days in high school, college and graduate school (twice) that I would rather do three hours of math problems than one hour of reading or writing. And I still feel that way. I look around my world and see all sorts of opportunities to leverage, what I call, personal analytics. For example, when an auction at my children’s elementary school fell short of its fundraising target, others just blamed the economy and hoped things would improve next year. I took a different approach and suggested that we analyze the items, where they appeared in the auction, and the prices that they sold for relative to their market value so the next year we could optimize the mix of physical goods, services, and experiences, live vs silent items, opening bid amounts, etc. Armed with this knowledge, we would get as much as we could within the economic conditions we were dealt. Others didn’t have the energy for this sort of post-mortem and if you have ever hosted a charity auction, you can understand their fatigue. But I thought that if we were going to put in all that effort to maximize our revenue, why not use any data we have to influence the outcome?

monkeysinthebackroomSince I look at all situations as solvable with some data, good analysis, and a solid story, it seemed only natural for me to go into marketing analysis as a career. What I didn’t realize as I was totally happy being knee deep is a stew of numbers, was that being a data geek was not cool. And, while Marketing was cool, marketing analysis was not. It ranked among actuarial and accounting on the hierarchy of being able to talk about your job at a party, even if you are frequently mistaken for Gisele, as I am ;-). At a previous employer, on a conference call someone referred to me and my team of analysts as “the monkey’s in the back room.” I quickly took my phone off mute and reminded them that I was on the phone. I did get a nice apology later, but it still stung. What I soon found out is that analysts and statisticians were just a little ahead of our time and we would get the last laugh once the transformation of business into a culture of numbers and measurement happened. Now, companies are realizing the power of their data so long as they have technology and people to unlock it’s meaning. And, guess what – they are listening intently to those same monkeys.

To whomever coined and publicized the term Big Data and Analytics, thank you! No one is happier about the lipstick that has been slapped on data analysis than data analysts and statisticians, like me. Suddenly, it is both cool and in demand to be a data geek.

Desperately Seeking Content

September 16, 2014

writers-blockI picked a bad month to get writer’s block. Maybe I also picked a bad month to shoot for a billion blog views since it’s the busiest time of year for me in my day job. So while I wait for a bio on a guest blogger with fantastic posts on the everyday value of analytics, not just the workforce kind, poking around YouTube unearthed this lovely relic from 2009 starring Neil Pickering, our marketing manager in the UK, just one of the 100+ countries Kronos serves customers. Check out five years younger Neil doing a sweet whiteboard riff on workforce management.

Royale with Cheese

September 15, 2014

royalewithcheeseThat’s what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in France according to the 1994 film “Pulp Fiction.” Wow. That film is 20 years old? Time is a weird thing. Anyway, that pop culture reference popped into my head when I saw today’s Time Well Spent cartoon.


It’s a reminder that the political season is upon us, though these days politics never seems to be out of season. I don’t rant politics here for obvious reasons, but a recent Village Voice article pretty much sums up my perspective on our polarized “Royale With Cheese.”

“The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.”

A friend and co-worker here calls it “mutual respect.” When practiced, it goes a long way.

Oh, and speaking of political footballs, The Affordable Care Act (ACA aka “Obamacare”) provisions applicable to larger employers take effect the first of the year. Don’t wait until the deadline to prepare. Join us September 23, 2014 for the webinar, Stay Compliant: Kronos Tools that Help You Stay Compliant and Minimize Risk. Learn how our Full-Time/Part-Time Analysis Report for Workforce Central provides a clear, simple breakdown of your full-time and part-time employee mix, helps you determine who’s eligible for coverage, and how the mix impacts your bottom line. Here’s what one customer said:

“It used to take our risk manager a couple days to analyze the data, and now with the report it takes only a couple of hours. The ACA report is the keystone of our compliance strategy.” — Donna Melton, Payroll Systems Coordinator, Katy Independent School District

Breaking News! #Java still Java…

September 13, 2014

breaking newsI’m not sure this is really “non-breaking” news like the breathless CNN updates to tell us searchers still have not found that Malaysian Airlines jet, but it is “news” and you may have missed it.

Anyway, I’ve written quite a bit on desktop Java here because it’s apparently a real pain to our customers having to use it, and recently a Microsoft Internet Explorer update impacted (or could) Oracle JRE and Workforce Central.

So, the breaking news… Yesterday, our Technical Advisory was updated to read,

“Please note – Microsoft states that sites in the intranet and trusted sites are exempt from the checks.

It specifically states that out-of-date ActiveX control blocking feature works with:

  • Internet Explorer 8 through Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 SP1 and up
  • Internet Explorer 8 through Internet Explorer 11 on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and up
  • All Security Zones except the Local Intranet Zone and the Trusted Sites Zone”

Since I had no idea what any of that meant, I asked a source and received this response:

“Some WFC customers can adjust trusted site settings and low security settings and get by.”

That’s a little obtuse, so I’d recommend reading our technical advisory and Microsoft’s to understand your options.

The Working Smarter Café – Breaking news as it happens… or a little later.


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