Project Management tool for SaaS implementation projects

Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are mainly implemented using Agile Project Implementation Methodologies. As you can get access to your new hosted solution in the Cloud from day 1 when you become a new Client there is no need to wait for weeks before you can start using, configuring or testing your new solution. That’s a very big change compared to the on-premise solutions.

Configuring and testing is much easier as well than what we have seen on on-premise solutions. This means that we can engage the project team and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) into Design workshops in which we simply change some options and can quickly demonstrate the effects of this changes.This is not always true for all Design changes but the intent is to perform such interactive changes.

SaaS implementation changes: Prototyping + Collaboration

For SaaS solutions we will Design so-called Prototypes and iteratively do 3 Prototypes. Each changes that requires some more configuration time and effort will be done after the workshops.

Agile Methodology is the best option for managing Iterative integration projects.

This said, we cannot afford a project to not deliver on time and with expected scope and quality. It is still required (and even more then with on-premise solutions) to build a project plan with activities, tasks, assignees, dates, dependencies, costs…

But the big change here is linked to the iterations. Usually you build a Prototype “0” with some very high levels options and 3 series of workshop which deliver the work product which include the requirements and changes gathered and agreed within the workshop.

The initial Blueprint is lighter than what we were accustomed with the on-premise solutions. Changes after the SaaS Blueprint or Design document will be gathered in a Design Changes Document (DCD) usually a list of changes and decisions maintained in Excel.

Another big change in SaaS implementation is linked to the fact the end user always have the capability to follow-up and test the progress of its configuration in between the 3 series of Prototypes.

In other words you can easily collaborate with all team members and therefore co-construct your final solution.

Traditional vs. Agile implementation methodology

I think the best way to present you the differences between the traditional (or the so-called Waterfall approach) and the iterative Agile approach is to use 2 schematics:

The Waterfall approach

traditional-waterfall-development 3

The iterative Agile approach

scrum-iteration-detail 2Agile approach allows to start configuring earlier than Waterfall approach. So rather than delivering a huge change at the end of the project Agile iterative upgrades and avoid the “Technical debt“:

Compare waterfall to agile

So what does this mean from a Project Management point of view?

Building 3 Prototypes from a light Design Document in a collaborative organization means that you don’t know in advance all the Design Changes that will be required and therefore it is impossible to list all details tasks in advance and estimate the effort required.

Being a Project Manager my first reaction would be: THIS IS HIGH RISK!

But here is where a new approach of Project Management Methodology needs to be introduced. This is the case with LiquidPlanner PM tool.

I won’t explain here all the benefits of using this tool but just focus on 2 features.

LiquidPlanner: Estimating in Ranges

The set of ranged estimates in your project provides the data LiquidPlanner uses to statistically determine all of the possible schedule outcomes. This data appears on schedule bars in the Schedule tab.

Estimating-in-ranges-screenshot

Estimating in realistic ranges is one of the single best and easiest things you can do to improve your project outcomes.

Ranged estimation will change your team’s perspective on work and scheduling and move conversations from uncomfortable negotiations to open and honest dialogue about requirements and ways to work together constructively to get rid of uncertainty.

LiquidPlanner sees each range as a bell curve and uses it to calculate an expected completion date.

basic-probability

LiquidPlanner: Collaboration

Collaboration 2

Connected conversation threads

All conversations in LiquidPlanner are connected to tasks, because collaboration is more useful in context. Your homepage displays recent conversations grouped by tasks so you can keep up to date with what’s going on with your team.

Seamless file-sharing

You can upload and easily share virtually any type of file in your LiquidPlanner workspace. Photos, documents and PDFs can be uploaded from your hard-drive or popular third-party cloud storage service like Dropbox, Box and Google. Files are always attached to a plan item, meaning less time scouring through email to find what you’re looking for.

Email + calendar integration

Create tasks in seconds by simply sending email to your LiquidPlanner inbox, and reply to comments directly from email (your replies are captured automatically in LiquidPlanner). View tasks in your Outlook or Google calendar to keep on top of commitments and changing priorities.

More information and references:

HCM Big Data in action

In my previous blog “Big Data for HCM?” I started to define Big Data and how it differs from traditional Business Intelligence (BI) tools.Here is the 4 pillars you should look for when choosing a Big Data solution:

Big data componentsI also gave some examples about what Big Data technologies could bring to HCM and which kind of new reports becomes available when using Internal & External Data.

But it is always easier to understand with some live demos and videos.

That’s the purpose of this blog: bringing you the most relevant and interesting demos & videos I could find online.

HCM Big Data in action

What is Big Data and how does it work?

This first video is very generic about Big Data. It explains the concept and necessary analytic tools to manipulate data.

Workforce Analytics Delivers Immediate Insights

Demo from Equifax about Workforce analytics.

 

SAP Lumira for Your HR data — Big and Small

SAP Lumira SP14 – Human Resources

IBM SPSS Predictive analysis for HR

Oracle Endeca Information Discovery (OEID) 3.1 Workforce End-User Demo

Workforce Planning Overview

KRONOS Workforce Analytics – Data Visualization & Exploration

WORKDAY HCM: From Data to Decision. Analyzing Your Global Labor Costs

Cloud Application Vendors

Cloud Applications

Apps Run The Cloud is an internet site where almost all (if not all) Cloud Applications are referenced. They provide frequent surveys such as Cloud Application Vendors revenues and ranking.

This is the link to the home page: https://www.appsrunthecloud.com/

The top 500 Cloud Applications Vendors ranking

This is the link to the survey: https://www.appsrunthecloud.com/vendors/cloud_top_500_applications_vendors

Functional Markets

What applications are provided on the Cloud?500 Cloud Applications by functional area

The Top 10 Cloud Application Vendors

Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP are the top 3 vendors.

Top 10 Cloud Applications

The TOP HCM Application Vendors

Workday is the 1st HCM Cloud Vendor with highest market share within HCM market and second best YoY Growth.

TOP HCM

Harmocracy

What is Harmocracy?

Harmocracy is a new concept to help organizations and people to create new innovative products, services or processes and successfully achieve their goals. It is not a methodology as such but uses some principles (7 principles) which defines organization rules and people behaviors that are key for change management and reach out the goals.

Harmocracy principles have been defined by using the best practices from several change management methodologies like: AGILE, LEAN…

Obviously Harmocracy combines 2 words: Harmony and the suffixe -cracy.

  • Harmony: The term harmony derives from the Greek ἁρμονία (harmonía), meaning “joint, agreement, concord”, from the verb ἁρμόζω (harmozo), “to fit together, to join”.
  • -cracy: From the Ancient Greek suffix -κρατία (-kratía), from κράτος (krátos, power, rule).

The 7 principles of Harmocracy

This is a representation of the 7 principles (in French):principes-harmocratie

First and very most important principle

The very most important principle is to “Experiment confidence”. This means that a team (members and managers who are called “Mediators”) have to work, interact in a confident relationship mode. Moreover they need to experiment this confident relationship on a daily basis whenever they work together. In order to reach this confidence or trust, it is important to find some quick ways to demonstrate that Mediators are really doing, acting or delivering in accordance with their commitments. Mediators need to communicate what they will do and do what they communicated. Reversely members of the community will also have to demonstrate that we can trust them by delivering tangible facts or results according to their commitments.

Whenever someone delivers what was expected or simply acts in such way to achieve their own goal, it must be noticed and member must be congratulated.

The 6 other principles

  • Self-assessing teams
  • Develop collaborative willingness
  • Free from extraneous thoughts
  • Facilitate creativity
  • Build intuitive organization
  • Promote continuous harmonization

The link to original Harmocracy description can be found here:

http://lleofold.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/les-7-principes-de-lharmocratie/

 

 

 

 

 

Fieldglass: Contingent workers management now on SuccessFactors

What is Fieldglass?

Fieldglass is a solution on the Cloud to help companies and recruiters to manage the entire sourcing process of contingent workers such as independent contractors or more generally Talent Pool.

SAP acquired this solution which will be integrated into SuccessFactors suite.

 Link to Fieldglass official site

Link to SAP acquisition announcement (Forbes)

Fieldglass solution

I have very few information about how the Fieldglass solution is working but found some basic statements on their site. Fieldglass seems to be a marketplace where companies can have access to contingent workers and reverse. Recruiters can manage the selection process and define a Statement of Work (SoW) and source candidates for new projects.

This is the high level process suggested by Fieldglass and visible here:

Vendor Management System (VMS) Fieldglass is also providing some best practices to define whether or not a worker is an independent contractors. You can find the link to the original page here.

Is worker independent contractor

 Why Fieldglass?

Obviously contingent workers are very important for companies as they need temporary resources for new project and very specific skills for a short period of time.

Fieldglass allows to get in contact with contingent workers and reduce risk by selecting the right skills with relevant work experiences.

Fielglass is also providing information about hourly / daily rates.

 Fielglass integration

Fieldglass announces common integrations with the 3 major HCM Cloud based solutions and have function-specific integration capabilities with various 3rd systems:

Fieldglass integrationHere is the link to Fieldglass integration information.

Request additional information

Please don’t hesitate to share any information on Fieldglass especially if you are using this tool. Tell us about the benefits for your company.

 

Big Data for HCM?

If you are interested in HR innovative solutions especially on the Cloud or currently trying to select a new Cloud HCM solution such as Workday HCM, SuccessFactors or Oracle Fusion, you have surely seen and heard about Big Data. What does it mean? What are the differences with Business Intelligence (BI) solutions? What are the benefits and the usage for Human Capital Management?

I will try in this post to explain in simple words my own understanding and share some relevant links I have found.

What is Big Data?

I have seen many definitions for Big Data and will try to summarize by listing the 7 most important features:

  1. Big Data solutions allow to store and / or access massive amount of data, more then just your own HCM data
  2. You can mix internal HCM data with external sources
  3. External data sources can be structured or unstructured (1)
  4. Data manipulation and reporting is faster then traditional BI solutions (2)
  5. Big Data solutions are always provided with very powerful analytic tools
  6. Big Data solutions on the Cloud don’t need extra infrastructure (3)
  7. Big Data solutions on the Cloud are delivered with many ready-to-use templates and reports

(1) : Structured data usually means that you import external data and map the data model with your own data definition. Unstructured data means that you access external data by using ready-to-use connectors.

(2) : Big Data use innovative solutions to speed access to data and reporting. I have seen 2 technologies being used:

  • In-Memory
  • Hadoop

In-Memory is notably used by SuccessFactors (SAP) thanks to their solution named HANA (“High-Performance Analytic Appliance). More information available on Wikipedia.

Hadoop is an open-source technology used by Workday HCM. More information available on Wikipedia.

(3) : HCM solutions delivered on the Cloud such as SuccessFactors, Workday or Oracle Fusion are hosted by the providers themselves and don’t require any internal (on premise) infrastructure. These solutions are provided in SaaS mode (Software as a Service). Learn more about SaaS on Wikipedia.

Big Data components

Big data components

What are the differences with Business Intelligence (BI) solutions?

Big Data are different from the traditional BI solutions because Big Data are faster (see 4. above), they don’t need traditional ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) tools, they can access unstructured external data thanks to connectors (see 3. above). Usually BI tools do not contain ready-to-use HCM templates and reports (see 7. above).

What are the benefits and the usage for Human Capital Management?

I think that the first benefit of Big Data solutions is the capacity of mixing your own internal data with external sources such as:

  • Internal or external Financial data
  • Salary and compensation market data
  • CVs and recruitment data (Job boards and requisitions from competitors…)
  • Social media feeds
  • Economic or business trends (inflation, GDP growth, cost of living by country or town…)

The second benefit is certainly how fast the results can be accessed and rendered. Its allows real time complex data evaluation and even simulation.

The third benefit is surely the huge number of ready-to-use templates and reports provided by the Cloud HCM solutions.

Usage of Big Data for HCM

Here are some ideas about what kind of new reporting you could perform:

  • Market Compensation Comparison
  • Global Payroll Cost Analysis
  • Headcount Analysis (Combine staffing data with
    data from an external recruiting solution to get a clear
    picture of current and planned staffing)
  • Retention Risk and Impact Analysis (Combine Performance data with Social external sites)
  • High Performer Analysis (Combine Performance data with Market Compensation data)…

More information:

Workday Big Data datasheet

SuccessFactors Big data

Oracle Fusion Big Data

Workday HCM update 23: What’s new?

Date: Update 23 of Workday HCM was applied on August 2014 for all clients.

Summary

This update brings many improvements for the user interface and new features. I do like the Announcement feature now allowing embedded video, File attachment with simple drag & drop, Improvement in chart rendering and new Analytic options, Committee as new organization type, Additional 50 custom domains to maintain custom data, Enhancements to audit reports to easily track what changes have been to any object in the system, made by whom and when.

Here are some improvement examples

Presenting a video into the announcement worklet

The announcement worklet allows you to distribute specific messages to groups or individuals from the Home Page by activating this button: Message centerBefore WD23 only text messages with images were allowed. Now you can add links to videos which will be played outside Workday. You can specify a given picture for the display page, if none Workday will use a generic image.

This is where you edit the announcements worklet:Edit announcement

Now when you click on the Message center you get the new announcement in the list:Announcement list

When clicking on the new announcement you will see the announcement message and the link to the video will be displayed:Announcement show video

 

 File attachment

You can know easily attach files of any type by simply drag & drop files to a media container.

Here is how you will attach files (Expense invoices) to a Travel Expense form (Attachment container at the right of the form):

Attachment Expense reportSelect files and drag & drop:

Att drag_dropFiles are attached in the form:

Att download

Chart options

There are many new options to display data in graphs. Options can be combined and it is quite difficult to present an exhaustive list of all options and their combinations. Below are some of the best new options available.

Top n values

The “Top n values” option will help you to narrow results and to remove none relevant data when the number of categories are too important to read the chart easily. The “Top n Values” is using the horizontal axis here the age group:

Chart TOP n valuesThis is an example when reducing the Top n values from 11 to 3.

Chart with the 11 geography combined to gender categories:

Chart top n values 11Now the same chart with the Top 3 values

Chart Top n values 3The bubble chart

The bubble chart allows you to represent data with 3 “axis”. Horizontal and Vertical as usual + the size of the bubble. Color can be used to represent categories.

Chart bubble optionsChart BubbleWhen selecting one category you can highlight only the bubbles from this category:

Chart bubble highlightCommittee as new Organization type

Committees are new Organization types allowing to manage memberships of “committees” such as: unions, expert board or any employee groups. Committees can be categorized with type, subtypes and categories. Regular security features can be used to manage and access to these committees. Memberships are assigned thru a business process: Committee new memberOnce an employee has been assigned to a committee it is displayed like below:

Committee employee info

Big data & Analytics

Big data in HR solutions must always be analyzed with Analytics features. In Workday WD23 this features allows you to analyze large amount of data very quickly. One of the objective of Big data & Analytics is to facilitate audit for data quality and accuracy.

Let’s take an example. When you convert and import your data from your legacy system before going live with Workday you would like to understand if your data are consistent and where data quality may be an issue. Workday provides such analaytics that are easy to run with graphical displays. Here we have 5 fields that we can compare (Employee Id, First_name, Last_name, Start_date…)

5 rows are displayed to help understand the data:

  • Distribution of he data
  • Count
  • Unique values
  • Min
  • Max

BigData FlipsideMin and Max can be useful if you don’t expect negative values or values exceeding a certain level.

Big data is accepting external data source to be mixed with your Workday data:

BigData Additionl data sourceWhen data can be joined an “Inner join” is providing you with the possible relationships between data:

BigData innerjoin from multiple sourceMany functions have been added to analyze your data:

BigData Additionl Calculation Features

Audit report

Workday 23 has improved audit reports. You can narrow to certain transaction or business processes

Audit trail report optionsHere we would like to restrict to all changes made to the transaction “Create Service Center Representative”:

Audit trail report transactionThe audit trail report looks like the following:

Audit trail report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy upgrades with SuccessFactors

SuccessFactors upgrades

Date : July 21st 2014

SuccessFactors is a Cloud / SaaS (Software as a Service) based tool for Human Capital Management. Like all Cloud tools upgrades are delivered to all customers at the same time if the SaaS tool is delivered in a multi-tenant framework. This is the case for SuccessFactors.

New features are made available to all customers without any intervention from end users. SuccessFactors delivers usually 3 new upgrades per year.

Sometimes it is necessary to load or update some data prior to use new features. In this case it is necessary to activate the new features when the data complies with the new requirements. This is notably the case for a recent upgrade which delivered the new SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) Bank Transfer standard for 33 countries in Europe.

Activate new features

In the Administration Interface within SuccessFactors you get noticed when new features require your activation, here at the top right of the screen 9 features require your attention:

Admin upgrade number v3

Here is the list of all features classified by importance that need to be activated:

Admin all upgrade by importance

Let’s activate the SEPA upgrade. By clicking on the link you will get all information about the upgrade and tutorial video about how to implement the new feature:

SEPA Upgrade description

Confirm “Upgrade Now” and you will have a confirmation screen:

Upgrade confirmation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upgrade is performed in seconds and you get a status message of your upgrade. You are noticed about the next steps if any:

Successfull SEPA upgrade

Video tutorial for next steps

You have access to additional information in order to complete your upgrade notably if you need to add or update employee data. Tutorial video are available to show you how to apply any changes you will need to perform:

SEPA Upgrade description

List of all upgrades

You can access the history of all your upgrade actions:

Upgrade history

Advantages

As you can see activating upgrades are simple administrator actions and does not required costly upgrade project anymore. Obviously when a new feature requires additional data like the one shown above (SEPA) there will be additional work needed from end-users as usual.

New features requiring an activation can be launched whenever required by the customer.

The magic “Related Actions” button in Workday HCM

Date : July 5th 2014

The “Related Actions” button in Workday

Workday is an object oriented SaaS solution for Human Resources and Financial Management.

Each object like Workers, Job or Compensation data, Organizations, Business Processes… have “Related Actions”. This button is shown when “Related Actions” are available:   Related Action Button

This Magic button gives you access to related resources and actions. Here are some examples:

Related Actions from Employee object

When displaying an employee file the “Related Actions” is available next to the name of the employee: RA_NameOfWorker

As you can see there are many options and related actions you can chose from the list. Many of them even offer “sub-actions”. The related actions panel displays also a summary of some important data (i.e. contact information, Job or Location…)

Related actions from the Organization object

The related actions button is actionable from any data within the employee panel when it refers to another object. For instance the Organization to which the employee is assigned to is an object and has its own related actions:   RA_OrganizationRA

 

This particular related actions panel offers an access to view the Organization chart. To open the Org chart in a new Tab you can first right-click on the button and chose “See in New Tab”: RA_rightclickOrgChart

The Organization chart

This is the Organization chart screen:RA_OrgChartView

Again from this Org chart you can ask related actions for employees or organization objects. For instance you can start a Hire process from a given Organization by clicking on the Organization name:RA_HireBP_from_OrgChart

Related reports

In the related actions list you can access to a reporting section. Workday will offer you to list related reports available from the object you were displaying. For instance if you are displaying an employee panel the related reports will be linked to employees data:RA_ReportingEmployee

List of related reports (with filtering options) :RA_RelatedReportEmployee

Once the report is ran you can again use the related actions button to get additional information or start business processes (i.e. information about Time and Leave):RA_Report

Here is another report with actionable related actions (i.e. Report_ActiveEmployeesCost center information):

 

Other useful navigation possibilities and features

Search with prefix

When searching for objects in Workday you will type your words in the search text box. Any object containing your words will be returned just like in a Google search. Here is the result for searching the employee name “ajay”:Search Text Box

As you can see all objects containing the name “Ajay” are returned: the employee himself and the Organization object that Ajay is managing.

Now when you add the prefix “Worker: ” to the same search : “Worker: ajay” the result will be restricted to the employee only:Search with prefix

There are many other prefixes available like bp: for Business Processes.

 My Team view

From the employee main panel you can access to the team view thanks to this link:ViewTeam

 

This screen will be displayed and is called the Directory Swirl”. Again you can access to related actions when clicking on employee names:DirectorySwirl_RA_Worker

Compare team

Another nice action is the compare team report accessible from the related reports on any Organization object:CompareTeam

View Inbox

In your inbox you can review the past events and actions you have performed. Use the Archive tab to list all your actions. Any action can be displayed in detail and depending on the object you may have the possibility to “Rescind” the process:Inbox_PhotoChange