What better place for a human resources software company to test and refine ideas for new applications than its own employees? Payroll and HR services giant ADP, ranked No. 7 among the top 10 cloud HR software companies, is doing just that with a “startup” nestled within its four-year-old Innovation Lab.
The ADP team is using behavioral economics concepts—the study of how psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors affect organizational decisions—to develop new applications for talent management processes and training. They don’t have to be associated with existing software. In fact, these apps often address narrow processes that sit outside the realm of what’s handled by traditional HR systems focused on recruiting or performance appraisals, said Stuart Sackman, who is ADP’s CIO and its corporate vice president for product and technology strategy. “Many of today’s systems are too heavy,” he said.
So far, the modest team has come up with 10 ideas that live outside the responsibility of its traditional product groups. Four are being used by subsets of ADP’s 55,000-person workforce. They include LeaderCompass, a tool used to collect feedback about managers outside traditional performance review cycles; ADPcoach, software for helping leaders identify and address their skill gaps; NetworkCompass, an app for surveying employee groups about initiatives or projects; and MeetBetter, a system for keeping meetings on point and on time. The last one is already used by close to a dozen ADP customers.
Sackman told me that the side effects of these apps are sometimes quite unexpected. For example, the team discovered LeaderCompass is useful for keeping org charts updated on the fly, since workers using the system are asked to confirm the identity of their manager before answering a survey. And even though the goal of ADPcoach is to provide highly personalized training programs for employees, it is pointing to common skills gaps and training needs that might benefit from additional investment.
Apps that pass muster will find their way into the ADP Marketplace (the company’s online directory for HR software) starting in July 2016. Over time, the group may work on behalf of specific customers but that agenda is still evolving. “The goal is to study how people work, how they interact with systems, and come up with apps that are more frictionless and useable,” Sackman said. “You can think of this as consumer-oriented design.”
BITS AND BYTES
This could be the biggest tech IPO this year. Japanese messaging company Line priced its dual Tokyo and New York stock offering at $1.3 billion, which was the top end of expectations. The app was launched after the country’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami made it difficult to communicate. It has 218 million monthly active users. (Reuters)
Should Hewlett Packard Enterprise stay in software? The company is reportedly evaluating whether several of its huge acquisitions, including Autonomy, Mercury Interactive, and Vertica, have paid off. No one is commenting, but CEO Meg Whitman has said the company needs to be smaller and more nimble. (Bloomberg)
SWIFT adopts stronger defenses for bank messaging system. The organization has hired two outside organizations to reinforce security amid criticism about its vulnerability. Hackers breached the system earlier this year, ultimately stealing an estimated $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank. (Reuters)
The EU data deal will help U.S. companies, if it holds up. The new rules for sharing data across the Atlantic address Europe’s consumer privacy concerns by creating a U.S. “ombudsman” to whom Europeans can bring complaints, including ones about how American intelligence agencies spy on social networks and other tech firms. (Fortune)
Cloud budgets could grow 15.5% this year. The latest forecast from IDC projects spending of $37.1 billion on cloud services for data storage, computer servers on demand, and networking capacity. Within four years, spending could rival what is spent on traditional information technology. (InformationWeek)
These are the jobs least likely to go to robots. Automation is often depicted in news articles and some academic literature as a titanic struggle between man and machine, in which the machine seems destined to win and the only question is how soon to schedule the medal ceremony.
A group of McKinsey consultants examined 2,000-plus work activities in every industry sector across the US economy. The good news: only about 5% of occupations could be fully automated by adapting current technology. The not-so-good news: Technologies could automate 45% of the activities people are paid to perform across all occupations. Here’s a summary of their findings, highlighting which occupations are most and least likely to go to a machine.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Silicon Valley’s Peter Pan Syndrome vs. the Aging of Aquarius, by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld
Uber and Snapchat Are Making Bill Gurley’s Unicorn Fears Come True, by Lucinda Shen
Why Fintech Could Be a Casualty of Brexit, by Aaron Klein
VMware Hires Former Oracle Exec as CTO of Its Cloud Business, by Barb Darrow
Why Apple Is Being Sued Over Its Website Design, by Don Reisinger
GE’s Industrial Internet Software Is a ‘Baby Startup’ Says Report, by Katie Fehrenbacher
Sharing Your Netflix Password Is Now a Federal Crime, by David Z. Morris
ONE MORE THING
Nintendo’s Pokemon smartphone game is runaway hit. Many people still have an affection for collecting Pokemons—you know, those cute little characters that used to come on trading cards. The Japanese company’s shares soared more than $7.5 billion on the early success of a scavenger hunt app that sends players out into the real world to find virtual versions of the creatures. But be careful out there, there are real criminals preying on players. (Reuters, Recode, Fortune)