Watson Wyatt: Employers likely to continue improvements to HR technology in 2010

by Editor 12/29/2009 8:08:00 AM

As companies prepare for the economic recovery, many are poised to enter 2010 with renewed interest in improving their HR technology systems, processes and organizational structures, according to experts at Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm.

“In the current economy, organizations will keep a watchful eye on their spending as they analyze their investments in HR technology,” said Steve Hitzeman, national leader for technology and administration solutions consulting at Watson Wyatt. “Employers are likely to continue or even increase their cost-savings initiatives by taking steps to globalize and streamline the HR function, scrutinize their vendor relationships and strengthen their service levels.” 

Watson Wyatt HR technology experts identify these emerging themes for 2010:

Scrutinizing vendor relationships and sourcing options. Employers with vendor contracts that are up for renewal will evaluate whether they have received optimal value from those relationships. For example, employers that aren’t satisfied with their HR business process outsourcing might decide whether to stay in their contracts next year, or revert to outsourcing to multiple vendors with specialized services.

“Rather than place all of their eggs in one basket, many companies will migrate to a blended, co-sourced service delivery model,” said Dan Vander Hey, senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt.

As disenchantment with the time requirement and expense of platform hosting and technology upgrades grows, Watson Wyatt experts also expect many employers will continue to embrace software-as-a-service (SaaS) options. These options help reduce costs by providing access to software via an external provider.

Globalizing the HR function. A growing number of multinational organizations are expected to focus on standardizing their HR processes, organizational structure and systems, such as payroll, across borders. 

“In an increasingly global workplace, employers will be challenged to strike a balance between having consistent standards for their HR technology and processes across the different countries they operate in, while not losing sight of region-specific issues,” Hitzeman said.

Investing in a consumer-grade experience for workers. Companies will grow more comfortable with Web-based, consumer-oriented applications that convey HR information through interactive and self-service tools. Many will look to technology to boost employee collaboration and lower costs by expanding the use of social media or leveraging their portals.

“The recession spurred many employers to assess their technology capabilities and priorities,” said Hitzeman. “In the coming year, tight budgets and cautious spending will compel many companies to look for a strong business case that justifies taking action.”

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Atos Origin now certified in Run SAP Methodology

by Editor 12/22/2009 8:49:00 PM

Atos Origin, an international IT services company, has been certified by SAP AG as a provider of solution implementation based on the Run SAP methodology, the company said. Atos Origin is among the first Global SAP partners to be certified in the Run SAP methodology and will incorporate the methodology into its implementation standards.

“By adopting the Run SAP methodology into our own implementation standards, we are going beyond the vision of implementing the solutions required by our customers,” said Paul Bray, senior vice president and global head of SAP solutions at Atos Origin. “We are now providing our customers the proven methodology for managing their SAP applications through end-to-end solution operations standards. This will empower our customers to manage their SAP applications more efficiently and at a lower cost.”

Run SAP methodology is a phased methodology based on world-class knowledge. It provides best-practice procedures, content, services, training and tools for end-to-end solution operations, along with a standardized and proven implementation method. The Run SAP methodology focuses on application management, business process operations, and administration of SAP solutions. The methodology describes how support should be implemented across the lifecycle design, set-up, operations and optimization. In addition, with its best-practice documents for solution operations, it describes how to implement end-to-end solution operations for different SAP software-based business processes.

“We applaud Atos Origin’s achievement as a global SAP services partner certified in the Run SAP methodology,” said Dr. Uwe Hommel, executive vice president of Active Global Support at SAP AG. “By adopting the end-to-end solution operations standards provided by the Run SAP methodology, Atos Origin will deliver to its customers a higher level of effectiveness and efficiency.”

Run SAP is an integral part of SAP Enterprise Support services, a holistic support model designed to enable continuous improvement and successful solution operations at lower risk and cost.

SAP customers will realize the benefits of operating with the end-to-end standards. SAP standards for solution operations are a prerequisite for the continuous improvement of SAP solution operations. Not only do they enable automation, reducing the cost of operations, but also improved traceability and an audit trail, helping companies to achieve cost efficiency, quality assurance and compliance enablement.

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European IT Excellence Awards 2010 announced

by Editor 12/15/2009 2:30:00 AM

IT Europa announced today that it will stage the European IT Excellence Awards 2010 in London on 25 February 2010. The IT Excellence Awards have been designed to recognise and reward excellence in solutions provided by European IT and Telecoms Channels. The awards will bring together leading ISVs, Solution Providers and Systems Integrators from across Europe to demonstrate their ability to provide IT solutions for their customers.

The awards are split into three sections. The first set of awards are exclusively for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) highlighting the crucial role that applications play in the development of customer solutions. The second set of awards recognise the vital role played by Value Added Resellers (VARs), Solution Providers and Systems Integrators in providing solutions for both the SME and Large Enterprise sectors. The third set of awards is for vendors and suppliers who best support channel partners in delivering excellence.

“With more than 80% of sales now going through some form of channel and the complexity of technology continuing to increase, recognition of the crucial role that channels play in the delivery of real solutions to end customers is probably overdue,” said Alan Norman, Managing Director of IT Europa. “The European IT Excellence Awards are the first pan-European awards to recognise excellence in the delivery of real solutions and are intended to encourage the development of partnerships between vendors and solution providers across the IT and Telecoms industries.”

IT Excellence Awards winners will be presented with their awards at the European IT Excellence Awards Dinner on 25 February 2010 at The Tower, a Guoman Hotel, London. The Awards Dinner has been timed to coincide with the European ISV Convention 2010 which is being staged at the same venue on the same day.

Organisations wishing to enter the European IT Excellence Awards or interested in sponsorship opportunities can find further information at www.iteawards.com . The closing date for entries is 16 January 2010. Further information about the European ISV Convention can be found at www.isvconvention.com

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Gauntlet down for IT sector

by Editor 12/4/2009 1:38:00 AM

Leading aid and development agency CARE International is looking for teams of intrepid colleagues from across the IT industry to take part in the third CARE 3 Peaks Challenge, on 12-13 June 2010.

The challenge will see teams from the sector tackling the three highest peaks in Scotland (Ben Nevis, 1,334m), England (Scafell Pike, 978m) and Wales (Snowdon, 1,085m) all in the target time of 24 hours.

In 2009, QA completed the challenge in the fastest time of 23 hours and 18 minutes, and the gauntlet is down for any team who thinks they can beat them! Better still, last years event raised £50,000 to support CAREs poverty-fighting work.

Head of CARE Challenge Neil Munro said, The funds raised by teams on previous challenges are already achieving fantastic things around the world. The IT sector is one of the most fun and enthusiastic sectors we work with. It would be wonderful to top last years fundraising total and were confident the IT sector is up to it!

The CARE 3 Peaks Challenge offers corporate teams a fantastic teambuilding and networking opportunity, with a well deserved dinner and awards following the challenge. Experienced CARE Challenge staff will be available from the day teams sign up, to offer advice and support with fundraising and training.

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Accenture and GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms help Metro de Madrid transform its operations and increase service levels

by Editor 12/1/2009 4:20:00 AM

Metro de Madrid, the third largest metro system in the world, has successfully introduced a program to transform its maintenance operations and provide higher standards of transportation services.  Metro de Madrid has teamed with Accenture and GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, a unit of GE Enterprise Solutions, to launch the program, known as ‘COMMIT’,  to increase operational performance and raise the level of its customer service.

To meet Metro de Madrid’s operational goals, Accenture implemented a new operational maintenance model and designed a technology infrastructure to manage in real-time the installation of metro’s equipment such as elevators, escalators, energy distribution and management, telecommunications, hydraulic pumps, ticketing and turnstiles. The model comprises monitoring and automation tools with capabilities including advanced diagnostics of failures and incidents to minimize service disruptions, the analysis of incidents and equipment faults to reduce maintenance costs and maximize manpower resources, and remote maintenance and remote monitoring of installations of equipment to increase efficiency. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platform’s supervisory control and data acquisition software suite, Proficy iFIX , was implemented as a part of the solution. iFIX provides real-time information management to help Metro de Madrid drive better analytics and leverage more reliability, visibility into day-to-day operations, flexibility and scalability across their enterprise.

“We are delighted with the early successes the COMMIT program has delivered,” Manuel Vázquez , Metro de Madrid’s Infrastructure Director. “The work Accenture and GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms carried out is central to the expansion of our network and delivery of superior service as we now have real-time diagnostic and monitoring tools that enable us to be proactive rather than reactive at all levels and aspects of the network’s operation.”

Since the launch of the COMMIT program in June 2006, Metro de Madrid has realized a range of benefits including:

*  Putting into service about one third more equipment and facilities without deteriorating the quality of service. The costs of implementation were also controlled;

*  Manpower efficiencies with a reduction in second on-site visits to resolve equipment failures or malfunctions;

*  Increase in positive customer experience due to real-time availability of the state of services offered;

*  Improved technical and service management internally and with its suppliers.

Carlos Gallego, Accenture senior executive for public transportation, said, “COMMIT has a strong focus on innovation and is a pioneering model in maintenance infrastructures for the railway industry. It has already been able to deliver superior quality of service at a reduced operating cost.”

Marco Ribas, senior executive with Accenture automation and industrial solutions services, said, “Accenture is committed to leveraging our skills in industrial automation and experience in business process and systems to help Metro de Madrid achieve its goals of operational excellence and positive customer experience.  We were able to provide Metro de Madrid with critical, real-time transit system operations data and other essential information, using GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms software, which allowed it to align operations with the business strategy.  We look forward to collaborating with GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms on future client opportunities.”

Erik Udstuen, Vice President of Software and Services for GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, said, “Our industry-leading HMI/SCADA software is designed to provide organizations like Metro de Madrid visibility into their operations so they can make decisions to achieve a sustainable advantage for their business. We are pleased to be working jointly with Accenture on this operation and service quality program, and plan to collaborate on similar client opportunities.”

Accenture and GE have begun a working relationship to provide enterprise solutions globally.

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