Uploading to Workforce Managers
Uploading to a workforce manager automatically is a relatively simple process as most of them supply special interfaces to connect with. This interface allows 2 way communication which essentially means you can buy the most competitively priced, well supported and established workforce managers on the market and extend them with the custom features you need instead of having to choose features between a smaller solution that has some features you want and the market leaders that are more generic.
For instance suppose that you have found a workforce manager that supports everything but live Erlang C integration, it’s completely possible to authorize a 3rd party website to overlay Erlang C as you make live updates to employee schedules. Should you want to revoke that authorization at a later date the 3rd party website will be unable to access your data as your passwords are never shared. That 3rd party website could also be a server that your company owns and control all of the content on.
Fully Automated Shift Assignment
A lot of companies now talk about machine learning and fully automated shift assignment. Personally I think it’s largely a gimmick at the moment but it sounds cool. What does work and airlines and similar have used for a long time is linear programming and local search algorithms such as evolutionary searches and ant path and annealing simulations (It sounds unrelated but it is used to provide a mathematical representation of the problem). Unfortunately they don’t sound anywhere near as exciting and they have to be tailored specifically to each business’s work practices.
The big difference is that with linear programming a human is dictating the rules, checking the output, and refining the search parameters. With machine learning you are relying on what is largely a black box and hoping that the computer learns the correct parameters. Linear programming is an automated search of as many schedules as possible (sometimes all of them in smaller problems) according to a set of parameters entered by a mathematician and/or programmer. Airlines would not be able to operate at the efficiency that they do without such systems in place. I have experience building such systems for mid sized businesses. Very large businesses are much more complicated to accommodate for and require the latest math software, hardware, and often more than one person building the system.