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February 2015 HR Technology News

By / March 1, 2015 / / 0 Comments

After a  little break of the summer period we are back with our news wrap. This month we are covering news across the summer period, and while traditionally a slow period lots has happened.

Technology One

In early February TechnologyOne announced a profit after tax of $31 million for the full year 2014, up from $27 million in 2013. This translated to an earnings per share of $10.06, up 15% year over year.

Technology One’s success has rewarded its shareholders whose gains owning this stock have been very good.  In the last 12 months the share price alone has produced a return of 49.5% and over 5 year 337%!

Payroll Mistakes

The “final” price tag for New Zealand’s troubled payroll system Novopay is starting to emerge and it it not pretty. It has been reported that the additional costs incurred by New Zealand taxpayers has reached $45M.  The system while now operating significantly reduced error rates from when it went live, iTNews reported that a February 5 payroll resulted in an error rate of 0.7%, not too bad but still above the governments targets of 05%. At 0.7% error rate over 500 teachers were underpaid.

Not to be left out of the new Queensland’s Health payroll debacle is still ongoing, now in the courts. The cost to Queensland tax payers has been a lot higher than the New Zealand mistakes with estimates taking to final cost to over $1.25 billion! iTNews revealed that:

(The) Queensland (government) will argue that misinformation provided by IBM during the tender process directly resulted in the state ‘mistakenly’ preferencing the company over competing bidder Accenture, and agreeing to a software design it says compromised the project.

The government is claiming IBM acted in “misleading and deceptive” conduct under the Trade Practices Act in order to win the deal. I often see and hear sales executives “stretching” the truth around the capabilities of the solutions they are selling, but you would think when it comes to the management of $200 million in fortnightly wages they would have not been so brazen!

A lack of a back-up plan to cover employee absenteeism resulted in US company Luzerne County not paying 1,400 employees just after Thanksgiving last year. Why? Because the only employee authorised to do the bank transfer was absent!

Big Data

We all know big data is, well, BIG! To cope with this growth in demand for skills in the area of data analytics a few Australian Universities have introduced data science courses in 2015. The universities in question are James Cook University, Monash University, the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and Victoria University.

SAP/SuccessFactors News

In January SAP provided preliminary 4th quarter results and Full 2014 results. The results showed strong growth in their cloud business Surges with Non-IFRS cloud subscription and support growing by 72% in 4th Quarter,and 45% across the full year.

At the beginning of February SAP announced SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (SAP S/4HANA), a new product completely built in-memory on SAP HANA and using the SAP Fiori design principles. The focus of S/4HANA is on Finance and ERP (CRM, SRM, SCM, PLM, and BW), not so much HCM.

While there has been a lot of press coverage, SAP did leave many question unanswered. These were nicely summarised by Brian Sommer from Diginomica. The American SAP User Group has tried to clarify the position for HCM.


MYOB posted a AU$1.6 million full-year profit to the end of December 2014, compared to a AU$600,000 loss in 2013. According to CEO Tim Reed revenue was driven by adoption of their cloud solutions, acquisitions (PayGlobal was one), and growth in customers.

This is on the back of last month’s announcement that MYOB was moving up the market with a new cloud-based ERP tool MYOB Advanced. MYOB Advanced is based on technology developed by US company Acumatica and will be hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Saba – new data centres and owners

A common complaint/barrier to the take up of cloud application is the location of a vendor’s data centre. To combat this situation more and more vendors are opening data centres in Australia. One of the most recent to do this has been Saba. In late 2014 Saba opened the doors to their new Sydney based data centre for their Saba Cloud product.

As part of the press release Saba indicated there were three driving factors for the new data centre – data privacy, performance and availability.

In more Saba news. At the beginning of February Vector Capital announced it will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Saba common stock for $9.00 per share in an all cash offer. This ends several years of financial restatements and stock market rumblings about the health of the organisation. Going private is a common way for software vendors to be able to restructure their business operations without the daily scrutiny of the financial markets and regulators.


It has been close to a year since the new Australian Privacy Principles have come into plan. The first year was always touted as one of transition. Now privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim will be initiating an audit of 21 individual privacy policies published by a selection of Australia organisations to ensure they meet all the obligations under Australian Privacy Principle 1.

While employee data is generally not covered by Australian Privacy Principles it is very good practice for everyone to be applying the principles to everything they do.


External funding can be hard to come by for Australian startups. So it is good to see successes regardless of their size.

At the beginning of February online education startup OpenLearning announced they had secured AU$1.7 million in funding, bringing its total fundraising to date up to AU$2.1 million. OpenLearning is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider and one of 9 startups included in the “first class” of Telstra’s muru-D accelerator.

HR and Technology

While not really news a couple of very interesting reads were published in the last month. First up John Sumser posted about 15 Questions HR Should Be Asking. John lists some really thought provoking questions, many of which can only be answered through analytics.

The second post was from Rob Scott who posed the question, who will renew their HR SaaS contracts? Given it has been 3 years since SuccessFactors and Taleo were purchased by their largest on-premise competitors, SAP and Oracle, and many contracts are 3 years in length it is a timely question. Rob’s final paragraph is a great summary:

Ultimately the client will decide to stay with a product/vendor based on their experiences with the SaaS product, vendor and SI’s as well as any broader technology objectives and strategies. While ERP implementations provide lengthy on-site opportunities to develop deep and trusting relationships and easily positioning the next piece of work, the SaaS approach doesn’t. If the vendor and/or  SI have been the proverbial ‘Hockey Stick’ and not actively and regularly engaging with their clients through high quality 24/7 support programs, continuous improvement initiatives, thought leadership exposure and robust future design and strategy workshops, then they are at risk of loosing clients, and deservedly so.