Friday, November 7, 2008

My thoughts on -Demand for HR Software Products in Current market downturn : Niraj Pradhan, Product Evangelist at MinVesta

Author: Niraj Pradhan,Product Evangelist, MinVesta Infotech

These days we keep hearing the words " SLUMP" ,"Recession", "Layoffs", "Cost cutting", "IT industry down turn" etc...
All these are also the reasons cited for slower growth of Indian IT companies.
It is said that there will be lesser new projects coming to the IT companies in India-All due the recession in US economy.
The companies in US have become conservative and there is literally no scope for getting revenues from these markets.
Recently even wipro has shifted its focus to Latin America and Africa -as these are now the emerging market.

Amidst all these..I have seen a reverse process- The need for HR products-especially in India and middle east and also Africa has shot up!!
yes its true-i will put in facts and explain to you but first let me put some reasons for it.

Current objective of companies in India would be to sought "Cost Cutting measures" and also to "increase Employee productivity."
They would rather have say 1500 employees( cut down work force from 2000) and have maximum productivity to match the earlier figure of 2000 employees.

By adopting above techniques they are aiming to have maximum output with minimal cost.

Now let me give you an example-where the employee's productivity goes waste.
every day there would be transactional activities to be carried out-Both by Employees and and also HR Managers or Management.
Simple example- Leave Application- i would treat this as an transactional activity.
There are many more transactional activities- example: marking attendance/requesting Forms( leave forms/loan forms), queries,payslip requests,Travel request -form based,address proof request etc-all these in case of manual process consumes huge amount of time and effort.
Now coming back to example of leave,
Every employee would have an activity to perform-i.e Leave Application( also some times cancellation/withdrawal)
Consider a manual process-Where leave application is sent by an employee by either filling up a leave form( hard copy) or writing and email and sending it to respective persons.
Every employee will have a minimum of 30 leaves in a year? ok lets make it 20.
Now an employee needs to apply for a leave-
He would take a print of the form( lets put 5 minutes for it)
Fill it up- 5-10 minutes
( or other wise compose an email- will take 10 minutes)
walk up to reporting manger to get it signed and approved- 10-15 minutes
again it might involve a chat/discussion/explanation- 10-15 minutes
( The reporting manager might not have instant access to employee's leave balance data)-might have to check with HR dept before granting-10-15 minutes.
Now the employee needs to walk up to the HR department to submit the application-10-15 minutes
( situations- HR manager not at his/her desk or HR Manager on leave/ etc etc)
He/she would submit the application-this might also involve a chat etc-10 minutes
HR Manager would update the leave balance details-in excel etc-10 minutes
and in situations like cancellation-modification-withdrawal this would involve the same cycle and also the time-

Now if i would add up the minutes that involved in a single transaction-i.e Leave Application and that too for one leave application by an employee ( lets assume he/she might take 4-5 times a year) the total minutes would be: 115 minutes average- hence almost 2 hours - which can be 1/4 th man-day
in case of 4 leave application by the employee- it would be 8 hours or 1 man day.
If you multiple by the man-day rate of your organization you can get the cost involved
i am assuming INR 3000 as per man day rate and hence one employee spends 1 man-day implies INR 3000 is the cost involved by one employee for one transactional activity.
Lets say an organization has an average 200 employees- in such a case, the total cost involved would be 200 * INR 3000= INR 600,000 six lacs-
or 200 man days spent for carrying out leave transaction- that too without full proof efficient manner.
imagine if the 200 man days was utilised in some project- you would not Only save in terms of time- but eventually in terms of Money!!

Now- How do we save cost- how do we increase employee productivity??
How can we save this 200 man days for a single transactional activity or this INR 600,000 going down without any return???

well- it can be saved...
By adopting methods of Automation- A simple leave application tool -may be a web based( browser based).
A considerate amount of time/effort and money can be saved by automation.
Through this tool the employee has instant access to his/her leave balance and can also apply immediately citing the reasons/remarks etc-
now the leave application would go to the Reporting manager- who can not only view the application-but approve/reject in a single click - also the sub ordinates leave plans/leave balance details etc present with him to take help in decision making.
Like wise HR department/Manager's task is also eased and time saved.
There are much more than just ease of transaction... the system can send alerts/reminders/validation/report generation /year ending process/en cashment etc.

The entire process of leave application can be finished or carried out in less than 10 minutes as compared to nearly 120 minutes by the manual process...
and yes i forgot to mention the cost involved for taking the hard copy of the leave form:)

Over all the ROI from the automation method is much more than the investment.
If you would do an similar calculation for other activities and arrive at the cost of it...i am sure after reading this you would search for an Automation tool and suggest your HR dept or the management.

Well...this is one example that i gave to explain to you the reverse process that is taking place -
yes demand for the HR Softwares has gone up during this Slump/recession etc..
and Especially in INDIA, middle east and Africa.
Well are few more reasons for the demand in these countries...
I can also include few Asian Countries-Japan n China.

What i feel and think could be a possible reason- 20-30 years back the market in US /Europe was emerging- which now has emerged and got a hit by the economic conditions there.

If you compare the Indian economy and the market conditions here....its not that worse.
I would agree with what Rakesh Jhunjhunwala said- India is protected- the liquidity crunch and factors are different here- a lot of Liquidity is yet to flow into the markets-Indians are still holding on their liquid assets.

the market in India can be called as emerging market- Indian companies are growing- they have their alternate market- INDIA
countries and companies would now shift their focus to emerging markets- INDIA/ middle East /Africa- literally a virgin market
The IT industry would not be dependent on the US/Europe market...
This has already started to happen...

Personally i have witnessed a sudden spur in the demand for the HR softwares....
and i have seen the sales cycles to be remarkable shorter- something which can be surprising-
but I am not amazed:)
Organizations- in India have closed on to buying the HR softwares in very short cycles and also have spend handsome amount in buying them-
Undoubted they understood the cost involved in manual process ( as calculated above:) ) and were quick to under stand the importance of Automation.

well...these are my views...i might be not be an expert doing this analysis...but have put down what i feel and think...

Thanks & Regards,
Niraj Pradhan
Product Evangelist| MinVesta Infotech Ltd. |Mob:+91 9246190827 | Ph: +91 40 23738072 Extn:201||email: | website: |
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