Back to the ADP portal discussion, I was invited to take a look at cFactor’s self service portal and came away pretty impressed. A very clean user interface that is obviously brand-able with whatever your organization needs. The standard package comes with employee, manager and administrator views. The surface functionality is a very nice employee and manager self service tool with some very nice bells and whistles. I might not have gotten this 100% right, but hey, it was a 30 minute demo.
- I’m going to call them “help call-outs” but basically every employee self service field has a mouse-over description to assist employees with the understanding of the page. This is huge for driving employee utilization and minimizing transaction failure and calls to the HR department. I’m not saying this is the solution for ESS adoption, but it’s a nice tool.
- Employees/managers can view a history of their transactions right on the home page.
- Workflow is built right into the self service application. Multiple approval levels and an ability to reroute stalled items is nice. The key is that the workflow engine is completely independent of the HRMS workflow. Therefore non-final pending transactions are written to a temp table in the self service environment, not the core HRMS.
- One incredibly cool feature is the ability to time out a workflow process and move the approval to the next approver/level. The ability to establish internal SLA’s (service level agreements) and enforce them is a huge selling point as we try to push managers to be more timely with HR processes.
- Proxy assignment for managers is not in the general release yet, but should be getting written. Hopefully this will be available in the near future and configurable by client.
Functionally, basic employee self service is there. Employees can change their address and do the standard things. What is also included are routing paths associated with proof documentation (like name changes). These transactions would really route through the workflow engine I described above. Managers are also privy to some basic reports and views of certain metrics (like number of employee events).
If we are talking specifically about ADP Enterprise (we are, but I’m not sure we have to), Enterprise is fairly weak in a couple areas if you are not buying the ADP portal – namely performance and comp. Because cFactor has all of their own Oracle tables storing data, they can also build additional functionality that rolls out to employees or managers in the end user interface. cFactor is currently building a performance management tool that I did not see.
In terms of technology, cFactor is using async bidirectional interfaces to get data back and forth from ADP Enterprise. Therefore, everything is a day behind. I’m sure there are arguments for doing interfaces real time vs. in a batch environment. Personally, I’m all for real time, but it’s entirely possible ADP Enterprise is not ready for this. As of earlier this year, they were not supporting XML for data. I’d really like to see their ability to bring in non-ADP applications and facilitate transactions through self service. It’s easy to provide hyperlinks to the TMS, but building the integration is another story. There are really 3 ways to do this: building a true web services environment probably prices them out of the normal ADP Enterprise client-base. Building Oracle tables to house non-core data and provide transactional capabilities is probably a one-off per each client. The third is to provide some directory access (LDAP) and at least get some single sign-on going. The last 2 are decent options if that’s what you want, and certainly seem within cFactor’s capabilities to implement.
How does this fare against the competition? I’m not sure I’m going to put this product up against Plumtree or SAP, but that’s not really fair. However, an organization on ADP, Ultimate, Lawson, Ceridian is looking for a solid HRMS and a solid self service experience without spending $millions. If we compare against an HR portal vendor like WorkScape, I think that WorkScape wins. WorkScape have more maturity in the portal industry, but probably have higher implementation costs. However it’s the upcoming functionality like the above-mentioned performance reviews that will help get cFactor competitive in a non-ADP marketplace.
Within the ADP marketplace, it’s cFactor against ADP portal. Functionally, it’s tough because ADP portal also has great functionality which might be a bit broader. ADP portal has native transactional capabilities with other ADP products. However, ADP cannot provide transactions with 3rd party products. This is where cFactor really has an opportunity to plug into someone else’s TAS, TMS or LMS (talent acquisition, talent management, or learning management). So my question to you would be how you deploy your point solutions? For ADP portal, you must be hosted by ADP. cFactor can deploy self service if you are in-house or hosted.
For now, cFactor has developed a great niche targeting the non-hosted ADP market, and frankly, this product is a great fit. It looks good, should implement easily, and has much more depth in functionality than what I expected. I’m hoping they expand the offering to include a few more “bolt-on” tools and begin marketing to non-ADP clients. It has the makings for a successful product.