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Tech is key to HR future

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In a world where technology is more pervasive and the millennial generation is entering the workforce, business will rely more heavily on the human resource department to ensure that key talent is found, and retained, writes SANDRA SWANEPOEL, MD, Sage HR & Payroll.

Here are key themes to look out for in the ever evolving HR space:

1.     Cloud is revolutionising HR

Today’s corporate reality is the digitisation of business models and industries. Technology is transforming the HR and payroll environment. The modernised HR and payroll environments are aggregating employee data into a single location and it allows for platform integration to save time and money as well as improving employee engagement.

Cloud-based applications continue to transform the HR and payroll environment. Access to cloud also facilitates quicker decision making with workforce planning and predictive analytics to make critical decisions in the future by providing access to rich data.

2.     Systems integration

HR, payroll and business management solutions are moving closer together as organisations adopt integrated solutions. From recruitment to performance management, integrated HR systems are breaking down the silos within an organisation and they provide a complete view of the business’s relationship with its employees.

With integrated solutions, businesses can achieve higher levels of automation across their businesses, become more productive and efficient, and gain better visibility into their performance.

3.     HR’s change to data driven decision-making

A recent report by Deloitte on Human Capital Trends revealed that 77% of executives now rate people analytics as a key priority, as technology makes data-driven HR decision making a possibility.

HR departments should refocus on strategic talent management, skills development, building the employer brand, and performance management. When they automate routine processes, they can free up hours for the more strategic aspects of their job.

Automated systems also capture rich data HR managers can use for talent analytics that give insight into trends such as staff churn, the costs of training and development, employee and organisational performance, and the skills they may need to attract and develop to support the business’s future growth.

4.     Embracing Mobility

A 2015-2016 HR Systems Survey conducted by Sierra-Cedar also revealed that in the last three years there has been a 70% increase in company’s investing in mobile-enabled HR technology, 20% of these are planning a major initiative in the next 12 months. This just shows how mobility is becoming more integral to business and how we as HR practitioners will need it to be able to facilitate this organisational change.

5.     Compliance

We will continue to see more demand for software that helps companies to improve record-keeping and decision making thus helping them to become more efficient and productive. Businesses also require solutions that will ensure compliance with stricter tax and labour laws that are always changing.

6.     Online recruitment will come to the fore

There are many tools that can streamline the recruitment process, from managing job applicants and filtering CVs, to interviewing and screening candidates, right up to the on-boarding process. Though the human element will always be important in HR, companies will continue to extend their tools such as online applicant tracking systems, talent communities, social media and internal career portals.

Online platforms such as Sage SkillsMap, give organisations direct access to people in Africa and abroad who are looking for jobs, as well as the tools they need to publish their jobs to the Web and track the applications they receive. These tools help automate a lot of the manual processes for them, so they can make better informed decisions and spend time growing their businesses.

Conclusion

The gist of it all is the increasing role that technology is going to play in the HR function. The future is mobile and we at Sage are giving our customers the power to control their businesses from the palm of their hand. For HR practitioners this is an exciting time, where we will be able to broaden our skills base and become trusted advisors within organisations and play a larger part in its success.

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Epic Games brings a
Nite-mare to Android

Epic Games’ decision to not publish games through Google Play inadvertently opens a market to Android virus makers, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, decided to take the high road by skipping Google Play’s app distribution market and placing a third-party installer for its games on its website. While this is technically fine, it is not recommended for the average user, because allowing third-party installers on one’s smartphone opens up the possibility of non-signed and malicious software to be run on the smartphone. 

In June, malware researchers at ESET warned Android gamers that malicious fake versions of the Fortnite app had been created to steal personal information or damage smartphones. A malware researcher demonstrated how the fake applications works in the Tweet below.

While the decision to bypass Google Play was a bold move on Epic Games’ part, it has been a long time coming for app developers to move their premium apps off Google’s Play Store. The two major app distributors, Google Play and Apple’s App Store, take a 30% cut of every purchase made through their app distribution platforms. 

The App Store is currently the only way to get apps on a non-modified iOS device, which is why Epic Games had no choice for Fortnite to be in the App Store. On the other hand, Android phones can install packages downloaded through the browser, which makes the Play Store almost unnecessary for the gaming company. 

The most interesting part of this development is that Google is not the “bad guy” and Epic Games is no saviour to other game developers. Epic Games is a company with a multi-billion dollar valuation and has resources like large-scale servers to distribute and update its games, a big marketing budget to ensure everyone knows how to get its games, and server security to protect against malware. 

Resources of this scale allow the game company to turn a cold shoulder to Google’s Play Store distribution and focus on its own, in-house solution. 

That said, installing packages without the Google Play Store must be done carefully, and it is essential to do homework on where a package is downloaded. Moreover, when a package is installed outside of the Google Play Store, a security switch to block the installation of third party apps must be turned off. This switch should be turned back on immediately after the third party package is installed. 

This complex amount of steps makes it less worthwhile to install third party apps, in favour of rather waiting for them to reach the Play Store.

From a consumer perspective, ESET recommends not installing packages outside of the Google Play Store and to ignore advertisements to download the game from other sources.

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How to take on IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, whether you like it or not and organisations today will look to platforms and services that help them manage and analyse the streams of data coming from connected devices, says RONALD RAVEL, Director B2B South Africa, Toshiba South Africa.

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Today, we are witnessing an explosion in IoT deployments and solutions and are moving towards a world where almost everything you can imagine will be connected. While this opens the door to many possibilities it also comes with its own challenges such as privacy and security.

The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life; it has been a free for all on a daily basis. IoT is a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around. Essentially, nearly every business will be affected.

Managing vast quantities of data across increasingly mobile workforces can be tremendously beneficial if done well, but equally can be cumbersome and ineffective if not managed properly. This is why technologies such as mobile edge computing are becoming increasingly popular, helping to increase the prevalence of secure mobile working and data management in the age of IoT.

Unlocking IoT

The evolution of IoT, despite rapid and ongoing technological innovation, is still very much in its fledgling stages. Its potential, though, is demonstrated by the fact that by 2020, Bain anticipates a significant shift in uptake, with roughly 80 per cent of adoptions at that point to have progressed to the stage of either ‘proof of concept’ or extensive implementation. This means that technological innovation in IoT for the enterprise is progressing at a similarly fast rate with many of these solutions being developed with utilities, engineering, manufacturing and logistics companies in mind.

Processing at the edge

For IoT to be adopted at the rate predicted, technology which does not overwhelm current or even legacy systems must be implemented. Mobile edge computing solves this. Such solutions offer processing power at the edge of the network, helping firms with a high proportion of mobile workers to reduce operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data at the edge and close to its originating source. Relevant data can then be sent to the cloud for observation and analysis, thereby reducing the waves of ‘data garbage’ which has to be processed by cloud services.

A logistics manager can feasibly monitor and analyse the efficiency of warehouse operations, for example, with important data calculations carried out in real-time, on location, and key data findings then sent to the cloud for centrally-located data scientists to analyse.

The work of wearables

The potential of IoT means it not only has the scope to change the way people work, but also where they work. While widespread mobile working is a relatively new trend in industries such as banking and professional services, for CIOs in sectors where working on the move is inherent – such as logistics and field maintenance – mobility is high on the agenda.

Wearables – and specifically smart glasses – have started to gain traction within the business world. With mobile edge computing solutions acting as the gateway, smart glasses such as Toshiba’s assisted reality AR 100 viewer solution have been designed to benefit frontline and field-based workers in industries such as utilities, manufacturing and logistics. In the renewable energy sector, for example, a wind turbine engineer conducting repairs may use assisted reality smart glasses to call up the schematics of the turbine to enable a hands-free view of service procedures. This means that when a fault becomes a barrier to repair, the engineer is able to use collaboration software to call for assistance from a remote expert and have additional information sent through, thereby saving time and money by eradicating the need for extra personnel to be sent to the site.

The time is ripe for organisations to look to exploit the age of IoT to improve the productivity and safety of their workers, as well as the end service delivered to customers. In fact, Toshiba’s recent ‘Maximising Mobility’ report found that 49 per cent of organisations believe their sector can benefit from the hands-free functionality of smart glasses, while 47 per cent expect them to deliver improved mobile working and 41 per cent foresee better collaboration and information sharing. Embracing IoT technologies such as mobile edge computing and wearable solutions will be an essential step for many organisations within these verticals as they look to stay on top of 21st century working challenges.

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