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Workforce management software comparison evaluates nine vendors

Ventana Research rates Kronos, Ceridian and Workforce Software as leaders in workforce management systems, followed by SAP SuccessFactors, JDA and four other vendors.

Kronos, Ceridian and WorkForce Software are ranked as the leaders in a new workforce management software comparison...

that evaluates key vendors on usability, reliability and five other categories.

In the report by Ventana Research, SAP SuccessFactors was No. 4, followed by JDA Software, Infor, ADP, SAP and FinancialForce.

The report also included a survey that underscored the significance of workforce management, which comprises activities and processes for managing mostly hourly employees for maximum productivity. It involves shift scheduling, time and attendance, absence tracking, and clocking work time.

The survey with the workforce management software comparison found 69% of buyers and users said workforce management is very important, but only 7% said they are very confident that they manage their workforce effectively. About 80% of companies use time clocks or another time-recording system to manage time and attendance instead of more effective approaches, such as labor analytics, systematic use of incentives and rewards, and mobile access to information and collaboration, the report said.

Software use needs to improve

"There is still a lot of room for improvement on the actual use of workforce management, which is why this category is so important," said Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer at Ventana Research, based in Bend, Ore.

Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer of Ventana ResearchMark Smith

About 75% of companies cited analytics capability as a very important requirement for workforce management, and 56% said they are planning to improve their workforce analytics capabilities, the report said.

For a lot of companies, it is "job one" to ensure workers are as efficient as possible in providing a cup of coffee, checking out clothing purchases or bagging groceries, Smith said. "These people are the frontline of how businesses operate," he said.

The Ventana Research report, the 2017 Value Index for Workforce Management, said the research is not intended to imply that one vendor or product is the right choice for any particular company. While Kronos Workforce Central, Ceridian's Dayforce Workforce Management and the WorkForce Suite from WorkForce Software were ranked the best overall, a smaller company might not require a high-end product with a lot of options, Smith said.

"Sometimes, you don't need that Mercedes-Benz," he said. "You only need to buy a lower-end car."

Usability and reliability most critical

Of the seven evaluation categories, the report said, customers view usability and reliability as the most important aspects of a product, more so than capability and manageability.

In the workforce management software comparison, Kronos Workforce Central was No. 1 overall, ranked among the top three vendors in six of the seven categories, and it was first in manageability, reliability and validation.

The report credited Kronos, a global vendor of human capital and workforce management applications, with providing increased support for cloud-based and hosted deployment options to help users limit their load on IT resources and operate internationally in a reliable way.

The report noted that Kronos Workforce Central needs to improve in assessing total cost of ownership (TCO) and ROI of workforce management, and it also could be more adaptable across processes, application and data that need to integrate with other systems.

Report cites Ceridian, WorkForce Software, SAP

Ceridian Dayforce Workforce Management was No. 2 overall, and it was first in usability and capability.

The report cited the vendor's continued investment and rapid product releases as reasons for its significant advances in workforce management in the past few years. Its cloud-based approach allows it to speed the release of new versions to users, the report said, adding that Ceridian could improve by addressing configuration and integration to more easily adapt and connect with other systems.

The WorkForce Software Suite was No. 3 overall in the workforce management software comparison and placed among the top three vendors in five of the seven categories.

The vendor is dedicated to refining its software and supporting customer performance, and it delivers value before and after any sale, the report said, adding that WorkForce Software should invest more to improve in collaboration, mobility, analytics and integration.

SAP SuccessFactors was No. 4 overall and rated highest in manageability because of advances in its cloud-based platform, which provides easy mobile access, the report said. SAP SuccessFactors was rated the most adaptable of any vendor, partly because of advances in the use of the SAP HANA in-memory database platform, and it was acknowledged for simplifying the ability of employees to access information.

Other vendors ranked by report

Here are other vendors in order of their ranking:

JDA Workforce Management, which is "unique and significant" for its range of support for retail and store operations, according to the report, ranked seventh in usability and needs to work on improving use across roles and boosting support for collaboration.

The report cited Infor, one of the largest providers of business applications worldwide, for its "significant," continued commitment to Infor Workforce Management and support and services for global deployments. The Infor product needs to improve in mobility, time clocks and integration, the report said.

ADP Time, which the report said comes with the vendor's high-quality information and tools for justifying the value of the product, has a lot of experience in mobile and web deployments, and it can scale its software, but needs to become better in task management, collaboration and time-clock support.

SAP ERP HCM Time and Attendance Management, which is on premises, is part of a commitment to many customers who bought its products before the vendor acquired cloud-based SuccessFactors in late 2011. The vendor scored high in TCO and ROI, but needs to improve in collaboration, overall accessibility and simplicity of technical administration, the report said.

FinancialForce is a cloud-based ERP vendor covering finance, accounting and HR, and it's a newer provider of workforce management, according to Ventana Research. Its offering is built on Salesforce's Force.com platform. Companies that already use Salesforce or need basic workforce management will find that FinancialForce makes it easy to administer hourly workers, according to the report.

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