KEG 2015 – Event Wrap-Up, Resources, and the Wally Awards

This year’s Kinetic Enthusiast Group (KEG) event was the largest to date. IT professionals from government agencies, business enterprises, school systems and service providers from across the U.S., Canada and Europe gathered for information-packed presentations, customer stories, networking and training.

Ben Christenson presents the 2015 Wally Awards at KEGKEG 2015 also featured the second annual Wally Awards—recognition given to customers who’ve done uniquely innovative things with Kinetic Data products and technologies. Among this year’s winners were:

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Four Ways to Optimize the New Employee Onboarding Process

New employees are the lifeblood of every organization. Beyond natural turnover, at some point in any enterprise it’s impossible to grow without adding people.

Implementing an organized onboarding process makes life better for both the organization and the new employee, at what is often a very stressful time. Enterprises want to get new employees settled in, up to speed, and contributing productively as quickly as possible. Employees want to get started on their jobs with minimal wait time and chaos.

And yet, “at many companies, provisioning new hires is a haphazard affair, often amounting to little more than handing out a laptop and a building pass,” according to the Wall Street Journal in How (and How Not) to Train New Staff on IT. While the WSJ article focuses on information technology issue, its recommendations can easily be expanded to encompass the entire employee onboarding process.

Have Everything Ready

According the WSJ article, “Many of the mistakes companies make come from starting too late and not having a clear ‘onboarding’ process.” While IT clearly plays a pivotal role in bringing new employees into the company (provisioning computer hardware, mobile device management, email and application access, phones, printer access and more), several other departments also need to be involved.

Employee Onboarding Process Task TreeHuman resources (HR) needs to get the employee set up with payroll, benefits, emergency contact information, training, etc. Facilities needs up to set and provision furnishings for the employee’s workspace. Accounting needs to coordinate pay- and expense-based setup tasks with HR. And so on.

What’s needed is for managers in each department to map out their onboarding tasks, approvals and deliverables, and coordinate these tasks with other departments. Then look for opportunities to automate as many of the tasks as possible to reduce labor, costs, and the potential for errors due to redundant manual data entry.

While onboarding processes will be different across departments and levels (e.g., the process for a call center operator will differ from a departmental VP), many of the same tasks still apply. So, a basic onboarding task workflow can be created, then modified as needed for various roles.

Simplify Systems Access

“One of the dumb ways of getting new employees set up is to have a complex process of approval for access to systems. New staff members can end up waiting days or weeks for managers in different departments to give them access to what they need,” according to the WSJ story.

Provisioning role-based system and application access should be part of the onboarding process flow as described above. For situations where the employee is in a new role for which systems access isn’t completely defined, or in which it’s determined after the employee starts that he or she needs access to an application that wasn’t specified in the onboarding process, incorporation of an enterprise request management (ERM) strategy (sort of an “Amazon.com” for any type of internal company service and equipment requests) can enable that access gap to be quickly filled.

Control the Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD) Chaos

As noted here previously, a properly implemented BYOD approach can both keep employees happy and reduce costs for the organization. The Journal article is spot-on that there do need to be guiderails around on the program, with both limitations and requirements clearly communicated up front, but “banning all personal devices is increasingly unrealistic.”

Training Done by Humans

“Giving someone access to an intranet site with instructions to read it and watch a few videos isn’t as effective as one-to-one training,” as the WSJ points out, but there is an even smarter approach. Pardon the cliché, but this is an area where “thinking outside the box” can really make a difference.

Rather than just considering various methods of training, consider designing new interfaces—what Forrester Research calls “systems of engagement“—on top of vital, but often complex, core enterprise applications (systems of record).

For example, a call center operator may need to utilize information from multiple applications and screens in order to answer even a few common questions. Rather than spend hours on training (regardless of the method used), build a simple interface with perhaps just a handful of clearly-labeled fields that provides the operator with the essential capabilities and information needed to resolve the customer issue while hiding all of the underlying complexity and cross-system navigation.

This approach can reduce to training time required, at least for many common tasks, to virtually zero. A simple user interface that eliminates the need for training is often the best training approach of all.

The combination of mapping the entire onboarding process flow, automating as many tasks as feasible, and doing as much of this work as possible before the employee arrives for the first day on the job, will get each new employee off to a comfortable, chaos-free and productive start as rapidly as possible.

For more information on this topic, download the white paper Business Process Automation Anywhere and Everywhere.

Kinetic Data Training

By Derick Larson

You’ve purchased Kinetic Request or Kinetic Survey, you got it installed, you have some requirements scoped out—now what? Well, how about some training!

There are manuals to help and even web videos, but there is just no substitute for a knowledgeable person to come and help get you started. One of the best ways to do this is with a training class. Kinetic Data offers four different classes to help you get started (or restarted it it’s been awhile) with Kinetic Request, Kinetic Task and Kinetic Survey.

If you have purchased only Kinetic Survey, the choice is easy. We offer a two day Kinetic Survey Manager class and a one day Administrator class. During class you will learn all about developing survey templates including questions, text, images, formatting with cascading style sheets, events and integrations. This class is for people that will be creating and maintaining survey templates. During the Administrator class, we walk through performing an integration to a sample BMC Remedy form, and talk about installations, where and how data is stored, and using some custom javascript. The Administrator class is for BMC Remedy administrators, and is also useful for report writers.

If you purchased Kinetic Request (or better yet, both Kinetic Survey and Kinetic Request), there are more options for classes. First there is the four day Kinetic Request Manager class which includes everything from the Kinetic Survey Manager class (so you can take the Kinetic Request class and be covered for Kinetic Survey!) and adds on a day of talking about the Kinetic Task Engine. You’ll learn how to create your own task trees and all about our basic handlers and others available from the Kinetic Task Community (ktc.kineticdata.com). Like the Kinetic Survey class, this class is for people that create and maintain service items and service catalogs. And, the same Administrator class is offered as the fourth day of training.

With the addition of Kinetic Task, bundled with Kinetic Request, we have two additional classes. The first is aone day web based classthat is focused on building task trees for Kinetic Request. It is essentially day three of the Kinetic Request Manager class and is great for customers that are upgrading from older versions, or just want some insight into how Kinetic Task works.

The last class we offer is a three day course just on Kinetic Task Advanced Training. It includes all the material from the one day online class and adds two days of breaking down and creating the task handlers that are part of what makes the ne Kinetic Task engine so powerful.

The Kinetic Survey Manager, Kinetic Request Manager, Kinetic Administrator, and the Kinetic Task Advanced Training are all available both at a local St Paul, Minnesota training center (see our web site for specific schedules) or you can have a trainer come to your site. The one day Kinetic Task Builder class is offered as on on-line class only at this time.

One of the best reasons to have a trainer come to your site is customization. As much as possible, we will customize the training class to your needs and specific requirements. We will happily change or update our in-class examples to your specific needs. And, if there are specific items that you want included in training, we can make sure they are part of your curriculum.

Contact us at training@kineticdata.com to inquire about availability and cost. Let us help you get your Kinetic Data project off to a great start.