Guest Column | June 11, 2013

What Every VAR Ought To Know About Workforce Management

CEA Publishes Accessibility Resource Center

A Q&A With Peter DiMaria, CEO, Accu-Time Systems

1.) Assuming a VAR is the go-to solutions provider for a customer's technology needs in everything other than WFM, how easy is it for them to learn the nuances of WFM technology?   

As the saying goes….”If it were easy everyone would be doing it.”  But that doesn’t mean don’t do it. The rewards can be huge if a VAR is willing to spend the time needed to understand workforce management applications.  For those who already sell ERP, shop floor data collection, or physical and intellectual access control solutions the leap can be easier than for others.  VARs who already know the benefit and pay back from these applications can more easily envision WFM working for their clients.  The best place to look is at a WFM company whose products are designed to be sold by a VAR.

2.) Today's workforce management hardware and software have capabilities some VARs and ISVs might be unfamiliar with. What capabilities or new applications become available thanks to these innovations? For example, adding a camera to a terminal means what in terms of new functionality?

One’s imagination can go wild with all the new features and technologies available.  Using the camera example, it can be used for security (facial recognition), attendance (I am here), or to videoconference with someone like we do with Skype or Apple’s FaceTime.  The advent of new technologies and features being added to WFM hardware and software also offers the opportunity for derivative applications.  Accessing the web for Saas applications on the same appliance on which we use to punch in and out can enhance existing software features.  We are in a situation today where software needs to catch up to exercise the new features being offered on the hardware. Once it does the VAR will have many opportunities to sell multiple applications on a standard hardware platform.

3.) What specialized knowledge and/or skills are required to be successful selling and implementing WFM solutions? Where can VARs go to learn more?

To be successful a VAR must have a working knowledge of human capital management, the overarching term under which workforce management lies.  Employment regulatory compliance is complex.  There are also legal and tax issues to understand.  The VAR, by no means, needs to be an expert or act as an advisor on these issues. However, appreciating the challenges of the client goes a long way in adding confidence and credibility. The WFM software provider is one good source from whom to get this kind of knowledge directly. There are also several good trade conferences sponsored by industry groups like SHRM, APA, and HR Tech that not only showcase some of the best WFM applications but also provide excellent WFM educational tracks. The Workforce Education Organization (WEO), of which Accu-Time Systems is a sponsor, is also a great source for knowledge.

4.) What are some common mistakes VARs make when selling and implementing WFM solutions? 

“Understand My Business” is one of the loudest pleas from customers.  To reiterate my answer from the previous question, it is very important that the VAR maintains a working knowledge of legal, tax and other regulatory and compliance issues regarding WFM.  As I’m certain VARs have heard in the past, listen to the client’s needs before giving any presentation.  Once those needs are understood the VAR should schedule a demonstration for the customer, tailored to their needs, so that the customer can visualize how the WFM solution will solve their problems. And remember, the WFM total solution includes the software and the hardware.