Midland HR Case Study
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Midland HR

It’s often expensive and time-consuming for software developers to keep their products in line with the latest technology innovations, yet these updates can be vital in helping customers manage costs downward.

That is challenge enough, but if you specialize in HR software, you also need to accommodate frequent legislative and tax changes. Developers need to be able to devote their attention to these business changes, and to enhancing the product in line with evolving customer requirements, without worrying about technological change.

Leading HR solutions and services provider MidlandHR was well aware of these challenges when it was planning the development of iTrent, its flagship application package.

Company Overview

MidlandHR is the UK’s largest independent HR & Payroll solutions provider harnesses technological innovation to help customers weather the downturn.

Why Uniface?

MidlandHR chose Uniface because it saw that Uniface’s commitment to keeping Uniface ahead of the technology curve would make iTrent future-proof. Additional reasons included productivity, ease of use, resilience, quality, and ability to deploy across multiple architectures and databases. Uniface’s profile, responsiveness and strength of support were also major factors. Ever since, Uniface has helped MidlandHR to handle technological and business change with an efficiency and elegance that elude its competitors.

Key Benefits of Uniface

Uniface has supported MidlandHR’s strategic focus on SOA and Web services, explains Software Director Anton Roe. “Integration and Interoperability are rapidly moving up the IT agenda; therefore building bespoke interfaces to different system is no longer economical. For a while now, our integration strategy has been based around exposing reusable business services or web services.”

We wouldn’t have stayed with Uniface for 15 years if we didn’t believe it made us highly productive. The continual alignment and adoption of new technologies such as AJAX, increases productivity even more, as well as making it easier for us to recruit development staff.

– Anton Roe, Software Director

Another benefit is the flexibility that users get to extend iTrent, whilst at the same time maintaining business and security integrity of the core application. “We give our customers a library of services which allows them to extend iTrent; for example, if an organization wants to keep staff contact directories up to date, they can simply use our Web Service to retrieve and/or update the information in iTrent.”

Anton Roe went on to add “We use our own Web Service library to extend Self Service to mobile devices”.

Cloud Services
Uniface has made it straightforward for MidlandHR to offer iTrent through MidlandHR’s private cloud service as an alternative to on-premise implementation. Anton Roe says the cloud service is proving popular: “Our clients often want to avoid the capital expenditure and management overhead associated with owning servers, databases and so on; our private cloud service means that they can do that, yet still get access to our complete product.”

Modernizing the User Experience
Today’s workforce increasingly expects business software to be just as usable as the games and apps they use in their leisure time. This challenge is critical in the world of HR, because companies increasingly want their entire workforce, from the CEO to administration staff to maintain their own HR data and to complete activities such as absence booking and submission of expenses: “If users don’t like the look or the feel of the system, they simply won’t use it – and then the whole self-service proposition falls down,” Anton Roe notes.

Recent and upcoming Uniface features, such as the integration of JavaScript frameworks such as jQuery reduce the time and cost of implementing new innovative features into the user experience.

Enhancing Business Functionality – Productively
iTrent is continually being enhanced, whether to keep up with legislative or tax change or to support trends in HR. Talent management is a major element of MidlandHR’s strategy that is continuing to develop in areas such as performance management, personal development plans and tracking performance against objectives. Thanks in part to the Uniface environment, MidlandHR is able to develop these improvements and respond to market demands faster than many of its competitors.

Continuous Performance and Quality Improvement
Uniface helps MidlandHR to maintain high performance and quality. Uniface-enabled reuse means that developers can focus testing effort on new elements. “We’ve been able to define component templates for the different components used in iTrent that provides approximately 60% of the code required by the developers to fully use that component; therefore developers clearly focus on delivering innovative features to our customers” says Anton Roe.

Future Projects

Uniface has always allowed MidlandHR to maintain its focus on building and supporting best-in-class applications. That strong focus, and the flexibility that Uniface has enabled in iTrent, has helped MidlandHR reinforce its position as a frontrunner in its business: it now has more than 400 customers, the largest with over 50,000 employees.

With Uniface, we can take advantage of new technological advances without having to employ a bunch of technologists. Uniface takes care of that for us, so that we can focus on keeping our HR functionality ahead of the market.

– Lawrence Knowles, Vice Chairman, Technology

This approach works only because MidlandHR trusts Uniface to take care of technology change. This is a true partnership, with a free flow of information, opinions and knowledge between the two companies. MidlandHR uses not only Uniface, but also a full range of Uniface tools to support the iTrent lifecycle.

The MidlandHR team has no doubts that they made the right choice in deciding to partner with Uniface. The intention is not only to stick with Uniface, but to take future upgrades as soon as they become available, as many of the new features are highly relevant.

Vice Chairman for Technology Lawrence Knowles says, “When we chose Uniface, we believed Uniface’s vision was aligned to our own, and our expectations have been more than fulfilled.”