by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 26 November 2012
Of all industries, the HR industry is, perhaps, the most difficult one to disrupt. This is because it involves a complex mix of systems for faster processing and human interaction and collaboration to rate candidates and arrive at a consensus.
This week, we will review Vana Workforce - a SaaS solution that tackles human capital management from multiple perspectives. We will review its features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.
Founded in 2008, Vana Workforce has offices in Canada and the United States and "customers on every continent," according to David Vanheukelom, co-founder of the company. In its short existence, the company has won several accolades including that of a "Cool Vendor" for HCM from research organization, Gartner and recently named a "Top 10 Up and Coming Technology Company in Canada" from PWC.
The question that naturally presents itself, then, is how did they manage so much success in such a short time?
By providing the best of both worlds, says Vanheukelom. According to him, the combination of a simple screening system that assists recruiters rate candidates (read: automated system) and a social and collaboration-based approach (read: human interaction) has helped popularize the solution.
To further make the case for Vana HCM, Vanheukelom lists four reasons for small businesses to opt for the application. First, the solution is native to Force.com, Salesforce's social and mobile application development platform providing users the benefits of the Force.com ecosystem and combining it with that of their native environment.
The application's integration extends to social and mobile platforms. "Vana Workforce is social, mobile, and global," says Vanheukelom. "We are built in HTML 5 to allow you to access your HR solution using any mobile or tablet device."
Simultaneously, the folks at Vana Workforce believe in reducing the total cost of ownership. This belief translates into no charges for extra features or subsequent updates in the solution. Add the cloud-based benefits of rapid deployment and cost benefits to the mix and you have a winner.
According to Vanheukelom, Vana HCM is a "completely integrated HR solution." "This means that your business gets everything that include core HR and recruiting features," he says. "We do not charge extra for a module of a feature and you get the complete package."
Vana HCM reflects this integration in its interface and modules. It enables you to do everything that a typical HR-processing system does. This includes project and hiring management and performance appraisal. For example, you can create tasks, assign work, and track progress. In addition, you can manage and track hiring-related decisions using Vana HCM. Finally, you can set organizational charts, assign goals and review performances at the end of specified time-periods.
The real work in the solution is done through multiple modules. For example, the Payroll Connect module enables you to integrate data from Vana HCM to external modules. Similarly, the Rapid Hire module ensures that you can manage your hiring process from within the solution. Thus, the module enables you to configure hiring criteria and track progress of your efforts. The leave management module helps managers make absence requests, on behalf of their employees. To do this, the system must be configured with the same set of business rules and validations that have already been configured in HR systems.
I thought this was a fairly interesting feature for small businesses who are yet to decide on an HR system, since it makes things easier for them. Because the solution is already integrated with Chatter, you can use Salesforce.com's popular collaboration and social software as a tool to increase productivity in your application.
However, what impressed me most about the solution was its global approach. This means that you can manage a global team using the solution. Thus, Vana HCM is scalable to other geographies and regions. This is because Vana HCM is a multi-currency, multi-lingual, and multi-country platform. You can get snapshots, generate reports, and manage reports under different geographies using one single platform.
As I mentioned earlier, the Vana HCM interface reflects the integrated nature of the HR practice. The dashboard provides graphical updates and statistics related to your graphical updates, such as hiring criteria. The application, itself, has a horizontal menu structure that enables you to navigate between different modules and include information about yourself and your team. A dropdown at the end of a menu ensures that you are able to navigate to other options.
The application offers premium support for all customers. In case you were wondering about it, the support offerings consist of unlimited email and web-based support and a plethora of online documentation and recorded webinars. Phone support is also available to all customers during weekdays and, with prior appointments, on weekends. I especially liked the fact that they have advisory and best practice workshops on multiple subjects including talent management, social media selling, and lead generation. These courses have been especially crafted for small businesses, who have resource- and talent-crunch. I thought this was an especially useful strategy, given that it would encourage users to engage more with the application and, consequently, use it to their maximum benefit.
In summary, I think the solution is a great idea. Integration with an existing platform is smart strategy and works out for small companies as it offers them dual benefits: cost-savings and resources of a universally-used platform such as Salesforce.
However, I recommend trying out the solution even as a stand-alone platform because it includes several features that might interest small businesses already scrimping on costs.