We interviewed Michael Grimm, managing director at organisation chart technology company Ingentis. Michael tells us his thoughts on key trends in the HR technology industry and misunderstandings among HR directors on the value that can be gained from HR software. Michael will be appearing at HR Tech Europe in London on March 24th and 25th 2015.
1) Ingentis provides organisation charts for companies. What benefit do these provide to businesses?
A well-prepared and clear organisation chart can be an important base for every HR strategy. Due to globalisation and workforce diversity company structures become more and more complex and need to be brought in a clear overview. With Ingentis org.manager we provide a solution to create organisation charts in an easy and automated way. Another benefit is that the most important KPIs like analysis of demographics, absences or budget reconciliations can be visualised within these org charts. This enhances transparency and communication processes within companies. Functions and responsibilities of employees can be better identified in mid-sized as well as large organisations.
2) What trends are you seeing in the HR technology industry developing in 2015?
It’s a fact that young tech-savvy generations are entering the HR working area and HR technologies are adapted to fit with their needs. Actually, these young ‘Gen Y’ target groups have high requirements to any software. Due to their daily social networking activities they’re used to well-designed, comfortable and ‘easy to use’-solutions. Of course, tablets and smartphones are used more and more to retrieve the info. That’s why ‘hip’ HR technologies to browse information everywhere at any time are on the go. Flexible solutions based on a responsive design that adapts its size to every screen resolution are the current trend.
3) What are the biggest misunderstandings most people have about cloud HR software?
Cloud solutions obviously have some advantages. Nevertheless I feel that people tend to forget the downside of things. Certainly data are relatively safe in the cloud. Companies can have their onsite systems being hacked just as this can potentially happen to their HR data in the cloud. This is not the problem.
I think what especially HR people will realise is, that they give up some sort of flexibility once they move their data to the cloud. In many organisations HR has to struggle with their own internal IT, to help them making use of their HR data and implementing new features, interfaces or systems. Facing the same issues with a cloud solution makes things only more complicated. There might still be an internal IT to deal with and in addition to this there is the cloud solution provider. As long as you stick to standard functionalities, cloud solutions are a good option. If you want more, you should be aware of the challenges.
4) What are the biggest barriers you see to more companies adopting cloud software?
Actually, more and more companies are using cloud software. Thus, enormous data volumes have to be stored. Due to this service providers need to work on a fast and easy data access for their customers. Furthermore, capacities including adequate storage areas for servers have to be saved.
In general data security and support issues are still the areas where companies have most doubt about if cloud software is really the best solution for them.
5) What are the biggest advantages of a company having a global view of their workforce?
Overviewing workforce supports in various business cases and serves as base for HR strategies. The need for action in organisations can be recognised by showing organisational units, positions and employees in a clear structure. A big advantage here is to deploy the right employees to the right project at the right time. This saves costs and optimises the productivity of a company.
6) Can you tell us some of a) the most common use cases for organisation charts and b) the innovative use cases you're seeing recently?
The most common use case of an organisation chart is obviously the visualisation and publishing of the complete organisation based on units or positions or parts of it. Since enriching the pure structural information with communication data like email address and phone numbers most organisations using an automated org charting solution also use the org chart as an online phone directory or who-is-who system.
To visualise additional information is the next natural step and meanwhile many of our customers are using their org charts to show KPIs like vacancy rates or span of control. Gender distribution, diversity reports or age structures are other examples which often are displayed by using small diagrams or micro graphs inside of the organisation chart boxes.
Using organisation charts within succession planning and for talent management purposes are other examples that we see becoming more and more popular. Having a graphical overview can help a lot in all those areas.
About Jamie Lawrence
Jamie Lawrence is editor of global online HR publication and community HRZone.com. He is committed to driving forward the HR agenda and making sure that HR directors have the knowledge and insight necessary to make HR felt across the whole organisation. He regularly speaks to audiences of 250+ and has interviewed key HR industry names, including Daniel H. Pink. He has worked previously as a small business journalist and a copywriter and has published non-fiction that reached #2 on the NYT Children's Bestseller List. In his spare time Jamie likes writing fiction, films, fitness and eating out.