Mobile Apps are Ringing up HRO

Smart phones, mobile devices and “apps” are more and more ubiquitous and indispensible in our personal and business lives. But while the HR phone is ringing in invitation, is HR, and are HRO providers, ready to answer?

Workforce.com’s article, “Avoid These Hurdles to Adopting HR Mobile Apps,” covers a number of the issues HR faces with mobile apps, perhaps the most critical of which is employee and corporate data security. What data is accessible, and how can you safeguard secure data if the device is lost or stolen? Will only organization-provided devices be allowed mobile access to corporate data? To address this piece of the apps pie, IBM Global Process Services is currently developing HR mobile apps  with authentication and encryption capabilities to address its HRO clients’ data security issues, needs and concerns. It will move to client use and testing pilots in 2011.

In-house HR departments and internal IT groups can wrestle with issues across a variety of technology systems, vendors and applications. Those with a multi-process HRO provider,  or at least an HR technology and administration vendor, will have a partner that can lead in the development of security, integration and even the design of applications that work with the major HR ERP systems and integrate standalone applications, like talent management, thereby reducing the burden on in-house IT.

For buyers using the new SaaS HRO platforms, providers will be developing mobile apps that meet the needs of multiple clients, as well as rolling out applications as they become available by the provider of the underlying HR system (usually Oracle or SAP.)

What HR mobile use offerings make sense? Thoughtful design is required to develop a cost effective strategy for the client and the HRO provider, one based on user needs and usability in a mobile setting. Anything that smacks of bells and whistles and looks pretty but is too complex, or does not add to user productivity, will not add value. User research and testing must be utilized to identify and prioritize which features and functions will make sense from a cost, integration and security perspective.

One of the early entrants is RUN Powered by ADP® mobile payroll, now available on the App Store for its small business RUN payroll clients, and is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In early 2011, ADP will extend the app to other smart phone platforms like Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Droid.

My colleague Gary Bragar commented on mobile HR apps in his blog, HRO Themes at the HR Tech Conference: Portals, Platforms and Self-Service. He noted that not the just concept, but examples of specific uses, such ability to access your insurance medical provider data while traveling, would be valuable.

This is all now emerging technology for HR and HRO, but users are way ahead, with many adopting the “mobile lifestyle” for work and play on the go, anytime, anywhere. Will HRO be there?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

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One Comment on “Mobile Apps are Ringing up HRO”


  1. […] 8. Mobile Apps are Ringing up HRO, Linda Merritt from HRO Insights Blog What are the killer apps for mobile devices in HR Services?   From mobile workers submitting an expense claim, commuters with access to their teams holiday schedule, approving a training request while waiting for the bus, Gary Bragar from Nelson Hall, outlines how Mobile Apps will stimulate the HRO Market.   For buyers using SaaS HRO platforms, providers will be developing mobile apps that meet the needs of multiple clients, as well as rolling out applications as they become available by the provider of the underlying HR system (usually Oracle or SAP.)   […]


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