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Utilizing Cloud Technology for Workforce Management: Q&A with Kronos’ Liz Moughan


Retail cloud technology deployments have been getting a lot of attention lately. However, the most publicized retail uses of cloud technology tend to be flashy, front-end implementations.

But the cloud is not just suited to running customer-facing systems. Cloud technology can also serve as an ideal platform for back-end systems and functions, such as workforce management, according to Liz Moughan, director, retail and hospitality practice group of workforce management software and services provider Kronos Inc.

Why are more companies using cloud technology to support new workforce management deployments?

There are a variety of reasons why more and more retailers are choosing workforce management in the cloud. One that we hear frequently is IT-related. More specifically, retailers feel their IT team is stretched thin and they would prefer to keep them focused on other mission-critical solutions such as POS.

Furthermore, the IT department is often not able to devote the attention necessary to core applications, or they don’t have the skill sets required to manage and support workforce management applications effectively.

Another reason retailers prefer cloud-based workforce management solutions is they feel the vendor can implement the solution faster, manage their applications better, and upgrade easier.

Why are more companies shifting on-premises workforce management implementations to the cloud?

We are seeing an increase in this trend, and it is for many unique reasons depending on the retailer. But the top three reasons would be to gain significant returns on investment from the workforce management technology as retailers can achieve more operational efficiency without adding capital or resources.

Secondly, the vendor manages the applications, and this alleviates the IT burden, enabling IT resources to focus on key business objectives. And finally, cloud makes it easier to add employees on the system from additional operations and divisions, which helps with growth objectives.

What specific benefits does cloud-based workforce management offer retailers?

A good example is the experience of one of our longtime on-premise customers, Aztec Shops, who decided to move workforce management to the cloud in 2012. This decision was based on the fact that Kronos performs all configuration, maintenance, upgrades, and support of the workforce management solutions, enabling the IT department of Aztec Shops to focus resources on other priorities, helping save money and time.

Since moving workforce management to the cloud, Aztec Shops, which is a retail operation located on the San Diego State University campus, has cited benefits including the ability to flex to seasonal labor. Aztec Shops’ workforce is mostly part-time and made up heavily of the student population.

The retailer see spikes in hiring during beginning and end of semesters and during these times, its employee count can dramatically increase to become more than 1,000. At other times, the workforce is around 760. Having a reliable system that can process applications and set up HR processes to hire hundreds of students per day is indispensable to Aztec Shops’ seasonal workforce needs.

Moving to cloud-based workforce management also freed up Aztec Shops’ IT resources. As a result, the retailer has been able to take on more strategic projects. Other benefits include improved speed of the applications, which further engages the modern workforce.

What cloud-based workforce management solutions and services does Kronos offer retailers?

All Kronos for Retail solutions are available in the cloud. We saw several years ago that this was where the market was going and we wanted to make sure we offered solutions to meet the needs of our customers.

Now every retailer that chooses Kronos in the cloud gains instant access to the fully automated solutions their teams need to make more informed decisions across time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and more.

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