Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Infor - Pretty Amazing HR innovations - Making it so the Machines can talk!

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I had the pleasure of getting a briefing from Infor, and it was very intriguing to meet with two of their HCM product managers and see what is going on. I must admit, that I thought Ara at Infor was the master of the acquisition play and it was to find good business, positive cash flow, and have deals instantly add money to the bottom line. But instead, I found a company that is a lot more focused on product integration that I thought.

First of all - Infor, may be one of silent giants (kind of reminds me of ADP), as they one of the largest Application Development houses in the world with over 70 products - and have over 70,000 clients.. Seriously - over 70,000 clients. So with that many products and clients - the immediate concern I wanted to hone in on was investment in HR products, and how it works.

Focus on Innovation:
What was interesting is that they have 3600 engineers working on innovation among their products. Further more, they have a great group call Hook and Loop that works on the user experience. This group sounds like the MIT Creativity lab turned loose on HR software. The group is made up of a true interdisciplinary disciplines (think Screenwriters, graphic artists, etc.) and they study how people use the applications. It took me a minute to understand (so they had to explain three times) - this group doesn't focus on the User interface - it is more about the user experience. What is the person doing when they use the app, where are they working, what events occur around them.

Hook & Loop 2013 from Hook and Loop on Vimeo.

Micro-Verticals
The other piece that they do really well is developing products within micro-verticals. So instead of the normal SIC codes, they dig even deeper.

Lots of talk - but now what? 
Okay - so what are they doing that is pretty cool from a HR Perspective?
1. Spousal Access -  what was really cool is that they have provisioned their applications to allow for Spousal access. How many of us had to answer questions for our spouse while at work about benefits or pay stubs, etc.? So Infor provisioned so the spouse can log in using a PIN access approach using the employee profile. So they are using role based security on a per app and data field level. So the spouse can see pay stub, but not the employee's team information. So simple innovation - but at the same time - pretty awesome!

2. Social with Machines talking! Okay - they are doing something really cool with Social that I hadn't seen before. But they have enabled processes or assets to "talk" in the social layer. So think a normal chat forum, but all of a sudden, a Process called " Death Event" says - "we are sad to announce that employee Jane Doe just passed away." and now everyone can start chatting to coordinate the activities. Or imagine a machine (like a time clock) saying that John didn't clock out till 9:00 PM and got 10 hours overtime….

My Takeaway?
Infor is definitely a firm to consider, and watch! Their focus may be coming to a micro-vertical near you soon!