Is it time for a change?


 
At the end of every year, we hear people talk about their New Year’s resolution(s) – whether it works or not, or is just a fad, it still consumes many conversations and sometimes leaves people in despair when they cannot keep them.
 
New Year’s resolutions for companies may yet be a good thing. I’ve often wondered how companies could benefit, if employees who are empowered to spend company money made a conscious decision to review spending habits, looking for greater returns and benefits for their companies. Imagine if these employees exercised the same (or greater) caution and demanded similar or greater value for money, as they do when spending their own wages/salaries – could it make companies more profitable and less vulnerable to cash flow issues?
 
It would require complete transparency and willingness to celebrate successes (note I used the plural here as I’m hoping there is more than 1 of these), admit failures or shortcomings and to objectively look at spending patterns and habits. What would they do differently, having the benefit of the 2016 learnings? Should they stick with existing relationships or forge new ones? Should they seek a better return on investment (ROI) or accept the returns of 2016 whether good or bad? Would they be bold and brave enough to admit that some spends did not realise the expected ROI.
 
Now I’m not expecting employees to eagerly put their hands up and say that they ‘wasted’ or ‘badly used’ company money (I do not doubt there are many honest employees). 2016 saw many failed projects, many projects overrunning budgets and some projects even being cancelled or restarted. I know of many companies that were brave enough to suspend projects and write off their ‘investments’ in favour of a replacement project that was delivered quicker and for less money than the cancelled project.
 

 
Company money is like any other asset, when it’s used wisely it brings benefits, but when it’s not, it can be regarded as negligence. So, while 2016 may have raised many conversations between interacting parties (suppliers, companies, employees), will companies settle for ’same old same old’ or will they actively look to increase profitability via change? The old adage ‘Better the Devil you know’ comes to mind – but who wants to work with the devil? I know there are ‘angels’ out there that just have to be found. My consulting colleagues’ talk of projects that required clean-up or rescuing and we have done a few of these activities in 2016. This ultimately costs companies more – and not just financially.
 
So as you start 2017, maybe this IS a good time to:
 

  • Review past business relationships and their ROI
  • Consider changing relationships for better ROI
  • Look at future spend and decide to go wider in sourcing
  • Seek advice from peers and competitors (if they will share it)
  • Read more informative material to help make the right decisions
  • Look at engaging ‘help/advisory’ services to ensure projects are delivered well

 
Whatever 2017 holds, every employee has a moral obligation to treat company assets as their own and to aggressively seek the best ROI on spend. As I reflect on 2016, I can certainly see areas where I can do things differently.
 
Question is: Am I going to act on them sooner rather than later or not at all?
 
Calvin
KALTech CEO

This entry was posted on January 12th, 2017.

Fatigue management in the workplace

Fatigue management is a vital area that businesses need to manage. Its importance must be highlighted as it is not often recognised. Fatigue can be a major source of stress among employees and fatigue can significantly affect an employee’s capacity to function. It can affect an employee’s performance, productivity and has detrimental effects on an employee’s mental health. In addition, it increases the potential for workplace injuries to occur.
 
What is Fatigue?
Fatigue is an acute and/or ongoing state of tiredness that leads to mental or physical exhaustion and prevents people from functioning within normal boundaries. Working long hours with intense mental or physical effort or during some or all of the natural time for sleep, can cause fatigue. All of these have obvious implications for workplace and public safety. Fatigue can also have long-term effects on health.
 

 
Why Fatigue is important to manage?
 
Fatigue can have catastrophic impacts, especially at work. In environments where alertness is necessary, safety can be compromised due to errors, increasing the propensity for accidents and having staff suffer worse injuries. This is especially true for vocations where skill and alertness are important. Machine operators, vehicle operators, work demanding high levels of concentration or working odd shifts or times, are some examples of why fatigue management is necessary.
 
Its effect can be far-reaching, but there may also be short-term impacts. Some long term impacts may include:
 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart problems
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

 
Fatigue Management
 
There must be a conscious effort to manage fatigue. Companies have a responsibility to their staff to ensure that they don’t cause or act in ways that cause fatigue. While fatigue affects a person’s health, increases the occurrence of workplace injuries, and reduces performance and productivity within the workplace, it can also adversely impact families.
 
The Factors Contributing To Fatigue

  • The mental and physical demands of work
  • Work scheduling and planning
  • Working time
  • Environmental conditions
  • Personal factors

 
Causes of Fatigue
 
Below is a sample list of what causes fatigue.
 

 
Risk-Assessment Methods
 
The following are examples of risk-assessment methods:

  • Consulting workers on workloads and schedules – ask if they are having or have experienced work-related fatigue
  • Analysing an audit of working hours and ensure this includes comparing planned working hours with hours actually worked. Where appropriate, related issues to consider in the audit may include work-related travel and work completed outside of normal hours (e.g. when people take work home)

 
In an organisation, employees are our most valuable assets. Therefore, we must ensure that their health and safety is managed. Fatigue cannot be cured, however there are steps in place to prevent it. A risk management approach to fatigue not only prevents fatigue but helps managers and employees better understand it. Educating and training employees about fatigue and the risks associated with them is essential.
At KALTech Group we have solutions to assist with the effective management of fatigue. Talk to us about our HCM and OH&S solutions to experience the KALTech Difference!
 
During this festive season we all get some well-deserved time off to relax and enjoy quality time with family and friends. These breaks whilst exciting, are essential in ensuring we have time to rest and relax, thereby also contributing to the management of fatigue.
 

 
Louise
KALES Consultant

This entry was posted on December 20th, 2016.

New Fiori Style Homepage

As SuccessFactors continues to evolve, enhancements to the UX are released and made available to SuccessFactors instances globally. One of the most visible pages is the home page. This is the default ‘dashboard’ that customers will see when they login to SuccessFactors, although the default page can be changed to better suit a user’s requirement.
 
Being a page of such high visibility it is great that the new Fiori style template can be used to enhance the user experience of the homepage. It’s a design that mimics the windows 8 and 10 ‘metro’ user interface. Something that many users will be familiar with. It replaces the old tile based design (pictured below).
 
An example of the standard SFSF homepage

An example of the standard SFSF homepage

 
The new Fiori style homepage

The new Fiori style homepage

 
Like the standard homepage, tiles can be moved by the user to customise the position and accessibility of the homepage. A new ‘personalize homepage’ option has been added to the menu and only displays when the user is on the home page. This allows the user to have greater control over their home page. Everything is customised via a drag and drop menu making it easy for users to personalise their experience without any formal training. Easy to use interfaces usually drive up user adoption so this is a positive aspect. Users can also pin or unpin tiles to their home page – essentially turning them on or off as desired.
 
Users can pin and unpin tiles to personalise their home page experience

Users can pin and unpin tiles to personalise their home page experience

 
As normal, an administrator can add custom tiles and personalise the default layout for users. Just as before an editor function is still provided so companies like KALTech who are skilled in HTML can make these tiles completely unique to every customer with the addition of youtube videos, pictures, links, colour schemes and more. Would you like your employees to have a link on their home page to company policies or portals? This is easily achieved now.
 
The ‘Manage Home Page’ screen enables admins to customise the content of the home page for the company.

The ‘Manage Home Page’ screen enables admins to customise the content of the home page for the company.

 
This new ‘Manage Home Page’ user interface makes things simpler for admins and consultants.
 
Overall I feel the new Fiorised home page is a definite improvement. However there are some downsides to the new look. For example, to click on a link on the old homepage it was just one simple click. Now you need to first click on the links tile and then click the appropriate link. I also believe there is a little more wasted space as the ‘ToDo’ section takes up space especially when only a single tile is being utilised. These are minor issues to me and I feel that the new look is still better over the old look and feel. This new home page is also much easier to edit and change.
 
The Fiori look is also starting to be utilised in other modules. Eventually the entire SuccessFactors UI will become unified providing even easier adoption by users. This is something I certainly am looking forward to.
 
What do you think about the new look and feel? Leave a comment below on your thoughts and experience.
 
Ben
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on December 9th, 2016.

SAP Metadata Framework Centre (MDF)

The Metadata Framework, or MDF as it is popularly known, is SAP SuccessFactors’ solution to build custom applications and custom objects. MDF is a UI-based configuration and extension framework that provides creation, modification, maintenance, and deletion of custom objects (called Generic Objects) within the SuccessFactors BizX suite.
 
The current way of creating Generic Objects is a multi-step process and can sometimes be cumbersome, even for a seasoned consultant. The MDF Extension Centre is the latest feature that has been released in version 1608 to simplify the process of building Generic Objects. The MDF Extension Centre can be visualised as a one-stop-shop for custom objects and picklists.
 
In my blog, I’d like to compare these two methods.
 

Old way of doing things

 
The current way of creating objects is displayed below with the following images:
 

 

 

 

 

The New way

 
Before the MDF Extension Centre can be accessed the feature needs to be turned on in Provisioning. The following images show the steps involved to active MDF:
 

 

 
The UI is pretty cool and aids in searching for existing objects or creating new ones. The objects counter on the left is a great utility for developers.
 
The MDF Extension Centre UI is neatly laid out making it user friendly.
 

 
The various properties associated with an object – fields, relationships, workflows etc. – are easily accessible from a single screen (refer image above) without having to navigate multiple screens.
 

 

 
Steps 3 and 4 are common to both methods.
 

To summarise:

 

 
The new feature has the following benefits:

  • Enhanced UI
  • Reduced number of navigation steps

 
Hopefully this information gives you a better understanding of the MDF Extension Centre. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact KALTech for all of your SuccessFactors solutions.
 
Pramod
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on November 10th, 2016.

Working smart with KALES

As seen in our previous blogs, KALES is delivered via a smooth and impressive UI. Some key innovations which have been developed are highlighted below:
 
Thumb It: This concept is built into the system and ensures true mobility functionality and experience. The system enables users to scroll and select items that they want to see, thereby reducing effort during administrative activities. For example, employees may view their current and previous payslips directly on the app with all related information displayed on the one screen.
 
Thumb it
 
Mail It: You can request your leave balance or payslip without even logging into the system, Yes, that’s right! This is a zero user interface concept. Typical requests and FAQs can be answered by sending an email to a designated email ID, without logging into the system. For example, if an employee wants to know their leave balance, they can type “Leave balance” in the subject line of the email and a response will be emailed back within 20-30 seconds with their current leave balance. The system is also quite intuitive; you could type in “LB” or “Leave Bal” for the same enquiry. The system will even reply back with a help guide highlighting allowed parameters should a request be misspelled or incorrect.
 
Mail it
 
Hub It: Users and administrators can build a single window of the most frequently used processes and reports. This is a single cockpit of processes. This feature entails a payroll hub, recruitment hub and a time and attendance hub. All payroll activities can be completed in the payroll hub such as payroll processes, timelines In addition, the payroll configurator facilitates automation of routine processes which reduces administrative effort. This ensures efficiency and effectiveness.
 
Prompt It: The system is intuitive and can prompt next steps based on past behaviour of the user. This feature is provided through Genie, our intelligent system.
 
Another interesting and innovative feature is the Wizard Interface. This means that any activity performed by a manager/admin can be arranged in a logical sequence. We have a pre-packaged wizard or conversely, custom wizards can be built by users. In the employee creation wizard (as seen in the image below) all the windows necessary for creating a new employee are open such as: employee file creation, assignment information, additional information, compensation information and bank details.
 

 

 
The most recent innovation is called Empsense. With this feature you can capture the mood of your organisation to better manage your business. Each employee can plug in their moods and this will generate a statistical percentage of how many employees are happy, not happy or just okay.
 
With more advanced features and options available, talk to KALTech about how KALES could be the solution for your organisation?
 
Louise
KALES Consultant

This entry was posted on October 20th, 2016.

SuccessFactors 1608 release login page enhancements

A customised login page for KALTech
A login page customised with the new options from release 1608
 
I have a background in HTML and design so to me user experience is one of the key metrics I look at when evaluating the system. An engaged user is a happy user. A bored user will spend less time using the systems an organisation has in place. That’s why I’m happy to explore the new login page customisation options available in release 1608.
 
SuccessFactors already had the ability to customise the login page through HTML/CSS which is the option that will give clients the most amount of flexibility. KALTech implemented this solution at multiple customers who are very satisfied. However customising the login page in this way is best reserved for those with knowledge of HTML and CSS as well as a basic understanding of responsive design.
 
As of release 1608 SuccessFactors provides a basic set of options to customise the login page. Please note that the standard login screen has also changed in 1608.
 
Theme manager navigation
 
Here are a list of the options defined in the “theme manager” section of the “admin center”:
 

Login Background

 
Do not change settings – Doesn’t change any settings (default).
Use this theme’s settings – Use settings defined in other parts of the active theme.
Use solid colour – Choose using the colour picker or a hex code.
Upload an image
Repeat – Whether or not the image should repeat on the x, y or both axis.
Position – Position of the image.
*Note that the image does not scale
 
Overlay option – add either a black or white layer at a given opacity. A black (dark) layer at 83% will darken the image considerably. A white (light) layer at 15% will lighten the image slightly.
Background type – colour of the background text in either dark or light.
 

Login logo

 
Use your company logo – Not recommended due to resolution issues.
Use SucessFactors logo – Use the SFSF logo on the login page.
Upload a logo – The most common option (I recommend this).
 

Login button

 
Do not change settings – Default settings.
Use this theme’s settings – Use theme settings.
New style settings – configure the below options.
Text colour – Text of the login button.
Text colour hover – Text colour on hover.
Background colour – Background colour of the button.
Background colour hover – Background colour when hovered.
Disabled text colour – Changes disabled text colour.
Disabled background colour – Changes disabled text colour background.
 

Login Footer

 
Colour scheme – Changes the footer text to either white (light) or black (dark).
 

Issues

 
There are a few issues with this option though.
 
Flash of default background – The default background loads, then the custom background loads. This looks unprofessional to me.
 
Lack of customisation – Things like a simple hover transition or making the background image scale to the page are impossible without using the custom login page option.
 
HTML version
An example of a fully customised login page. Note that there are very few limits to this type of design.
 
Despite the issues that this new feature presents, it is a great option to have none the less. I imagine this will keep many customers happy until a fully customised solution can be tailored to their needs.
 
Feel free to contact KALTech to understand how we can create a custom look and feel to your SuccessFactors instance.
 
Ben
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on October 5th, 2016.