This article is about time clocks. Most HR folks have at least a passing familiarity with these objects. Punching the clock is synonymous with having a standard issue job.
The Time Clock Shop offers an endless array of approaches to time keeping. Ranging from the standard issue punch clock ($246) to the biometric wonder with internet connections ($1,700ish), time clocks serve a variety of functions that include security and time tracking. Time clocks can collect data from cards, badge swipes, biometrics and PCs. The units are often integrated with software systems that calculate and submit payroll data.
Time clock makers, like every other manufacturer of 20th century artifacts are about to be disintermediated. In the current regime, Payroll systems are a hardware software integration that usually requires a physical replacement of the time clock when functionality is being improved. It’s a microcosm of the enterprise software problem.
This week, small Canadian based time keeping company released the first cloud time clock. If you’re like me, that seems worth one large yawn. “Cloud based time clock,” I thought, “Next stop, cloud based first aid kit.”
It seemed so bizarre that I sought out the CEO.
It turns out that the company, Replicon, is yet another Canadian backed player in the HR nexus (think Rypple, Taleo, PeopleFluent,and the up and coming Ontario software mafia). With 7,200 customers and 1.5 Million regular users, Replicon has a small but interesting share of the overall market for time and attendance products.
The cloud time clock really is the next wave. An android tablet, customized for the function, is wirelessly tied to the local infrastructure. The company monitors performance at headquarters. Software is updated routinely and seamlessly. Hardware replacements are eliminated. Badges are read by a camera that also photos the person documenting their time. It’s a comprehensive integration.
It’s priced at $99/month/unit all in.
The company’s video is focused and nearly painless.
This is one more example of the way that consumer technology is driving innovation in the tiniest of niches. Time keeping is one of those HR chores that, if done poorly derails the organization. By letting the consumer marketplace provide the toolset, Replicon is embracing the 21st century.
The story here has less to do with time clocks than the sorts of things HR is going to encounter in the coming months and years. As technology creeps into the organization in the pockets and briefcases of employees, a whole range of old fashioned things will get automated.