HR goes modern with cloud and mobile apps

The software functionality maybe familiar, but not the online delivery or anytime, anywhere access

This week, I've been enjoying the HR Florida State Conference and Expo in Orlando. (We managed to avoid, just barely, Hurricane Isaac.) Payroll management, people management, and talent management software may seem like old-school, moribund technology, but in fact is not. Like so many sectors, HR technology is undergoing its own modernization effort and becoming more cloud- and mobile-savvy.

In the past, vendors had software that IT would implement through IIS with an SQL back end in many cases. Today, although on-premise deployment software remains available, most providers have gone fully cloud-based or at least offer an online portal structure. An increasing number of vendors are now offering mobile access to their tools.

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At the conference, many vendors didn't really show off new functionality. Instead, the focus was on the shift in delivery mechanism to off-premise delivery (which cloud infrastructure providers like Microsoft will like) with a mobile connection point. Here are some of the more interesting ones at the conference:

Workday gave me a quick demonstration of its employee management product. A SaaS product, Workday manages payroll, project and work tracking, and tracking of important employee personal events, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Administrators, executives, and employees can access the system through mobile devices to get updates on business productivity, analytics, time-off requests, and bonus-plan assignments.

Beyond.com's online talent-finding service offers traditional job posting options but also includes an email campaign search tool for potential hires. It supports Facebook and Twitter conduits as well. Companion mobile apps help connect job seekers with employers.

From a mobile perspective, one of the most interesting products I saw was Ceridian Dayforce, which handles payroll, tax, benefits, and workforce and talent management and associated analytics and self-service capabilities you'd expect. What really resonated was how polished and smooth the mobile access was across multiple platforms.

Switching gears a bit, Rival Fusion offers a wellness program online. It's no secret that Americans are in a health crisis, and although we may not be ready to embrace the 1980s Japanese program of forced aerobics during work, services like this could help. It provides custom nutrition and fitness plans on demand, and lets employees join teams (company, division, deparment) or stand alone as an individual in following the chosen program. Admins can track the teams, challenges, and so on.

It's interesting to see how times are changing both in the move to cloud delivery and the notion of mobile access, both of which support access on the go, 24/7/365, while reducing the burden on IT to make it all work.

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