Ceridian’s Ambitious Agenda in Human Capital Management

I attended the Ceridian analyst summit (Twitter #CENAday) in Boston to see how the company  is expanding its business in HR-related software and services into human capital management (HCM). Ceridian derives $1.5 billion in revenue from more than 130,000 customers with 25 million employees at organizations ranging from small and midsize business to two-thirds of the Fortune 500. CEO Stuart Harvey has been expanding the company’s management team, with key additions in heads of marketing and finance and promotions of internal management, all of whom were front and center for the analyst summit. Ceridian’s focus on human capital management meshes with our 2012 research agenda in this field as it tries to exploit the potential value of an entire workforce to meet the needs of the business.

Ceridian sees an opportunity to help clients with new human capital management applications like those from its new acquisition Dayforce, which provides more usable workforce management applications that eliminate manual administrative tasks. When I analyzed Dayforce’s efforts in workforce management I was intrigued by the unique aspects of its product. By acquiring Dayforce Ceridian has made a strategic move to incorporate more applications into its portfolio and build upon its platform.

At the summit Ceridian introduced Dayforce HCM as a platform and set of applications to address the mission of providing one employee record, one user experience and zero interfaces. The HCM platform includes a range of capabilities, including mobile access, messaging, analytics, workforce activities, payments and other foundation items needed to support payroll and tax, benefits, human resources, operational workforce management and even talent management applications from recruiting onward. The suite has a solid start already in Dayforce’s workforce management and now expanding into broader set of human capital management needs. Ceridian presented its roadmap for HCM, covering an expanding range of capabilities in payroll, benefits, payments, HR self-service and workforce management. Ceridian’s design principles balance the user experience with flexibility, accuracy of data and processing speed.

Some of the dialogue at the summit was led by Ceridian Dayforce President David Ossip, who provided an overview of the business in 2011, touting more than 500 client engagements, 200 of which are already live. The customer list is a Who’s Who of consumer brands, including Harley-Davidson, SkyWest and Bridgestone. David explained the importance of integrating payroll and workforce management, which allows managers to validate work and pay, and dynamically calculate pay for the day to provide an immediate financial view of the business. It is in Ceridian’s best interest to integrate and leverage its portfolio with Dayforce. An additional value of integrating time and pay with Dayforce is that Ceridian can now process 40,000 checks in five minutes using its platform, compared to the hours that it took previously with Ceridian aging mainframe based approach. 

Presenters demonstrated the latest Dayforce release, including integration points with Ceridian covering payroll and other HR services. Dayforce lets workers quickly see their earnings and can automatically populate W-4 and other regulatory documents to ensure accuracy of information across the applications and documents. These capabilities can be used for both hourly and salaried workers. 

Dayforce’s unique advantage from my perspective is in the user experience. Analysts and administrators can use its scheduling and visual workflow designer to route work tasks for exceptions and approvals. Also unique is the ability to render any interactions with a worker in the individual’s native language. Dayforce has built many of the tasks using prompts and wizards, so, for example, shift changes of hourly workers and notifications to managers can be done with a few clicks in the application. 

Dayforce performs calculations and processing in-memory and distributed across the client and server environments, which makes its application more efficient and more reliable. I did not previously realize the depth of detail with which the company automates specific manual activities, including changes of address and tax jurisdiction across geographic areas and calculation of changes in payroll and earnings. For some organizations this could save hours every week. Though Dayforce is not yet a fully functional compensation management provider, it has many capabilities that our benchmark research in total compensation management found to be critical, from calculations of bonuses and incentives to dispute and resolution capabilities. I was also impressed with the simplicity of its reporting and analytics, and the productivity improvements such as built-in search and type-ahead for dynamic querying and selection.

Dayforce enables smartphones to access workforce management and payroll information. It provides geographical location check-in for work shift changes, which those with older mobile phones can execute via SMS. Other new advances in workforce management are planned for 2012 including an Android-based approach with Dayforce Touch for time clocks, support of Window 8 and a new user experience for vacation bidding. 

Ceridian has also advanced into more detailed analytics and reporting with Ceridian Business Intelligence, which is built on the SAP Business Objects technology. A quick review showed some depth in its prebuilt measurements and reports, which could be an attractive component of its offering, but it is not well marketed or even apparent on the company’s website, though Ceridian claims to have more than 500 customers for BI. What they have really built is a workforce analytics application that according to our benchmark research is desperately needed in HR that are still operating in silos of spreadsheets and lack critical measurements to determine places for course of action.

Ceridian has other initiatives planned for 2012 that span health and welfare, COBRA and compliance. Its efforts over the last year have been impressive, with customer and product expansion along with new management team members who should help the business continue to grow further over the next couple of years. 

Ceridian with Dayforce is expanding into what I refer to as the next generation of workforce management, which I am currently benchmarking. The combined company’s platform and applications help organizations address their desire for better workforce engagement methods that go beyond time worked and pay provided. If you are looking to re-assess your workforce management needs and looking for some significant process efficiency improvements, it is worth investigating the power of Ceridian and its newest Dayforce platform and applications for human capital management.


Mark Smith – Chief Research Officer

Dayforce Engages Workforces for Higher Productivity

Improving worker/manager collaboration becomes a top priority as organizations realize the impact of such collaboration on workforce productivity and profitability. One way to enhance that collaboration is to make tasks such as scheduling, time and attendance and task management accessible through smartphones and tablets. The management team at Dayforce has experience with workforce management applications and now into the next generation of collaboration and mobility. The company uses innovative Web technology to make its workforce management applications easy to use, and is able to demonstrate the value of the monthly and annualized time its approach saves over that of others.

Dayforce’s product suite includes time and attendance, scheduling, labor budgeting, task management and employee self-scheduling. My review of the applications confirms their usability for tasks from calendaring and scheduling to the utilization and budgeting of workers. Dayforce’s graphical interface takes an intuitive approach to scheduling and labor optimization based on worker scheduling constraints. What Dayforce calls performance-based scheduling includes the ability to look at schedules of individuals while seeing analytics of schedule efficiency. A schedule optimizer provides the best scenarios and then automatically populates schedules with a group of details that occur in workers’ shifts.

The suite’s workflow designer can help managers design worker interactions and alerts that can be sent automatically. To help out with the financial aspects of workforce usage, the software lets users look at schedule costing to determine any exceptions that require management review. It also provides ad-hoc reports that are easy for managers for generate for review.

As workforce management evolves to engage workers more with assignments and tasks that affect them, Dayforce has built in methods not just to define tasks but to assign them and approve their completion. This helps organizations gain the most engagement from their workers on a daily basis while also tracking their performance, and it provides a foundation for including rewards that can be made visible to the workers. This might provide an edge for Dayforce, since the software can support a diverse range of types of workers, and incentives and rewards are keys to motivating and retaining talent. Our benchmark research into performance management for talent management shows that aligning the workforce to business goals is of highest importance to 81 percent of organizations. To provide applications in the HR and payroll areas, Dayforce partners with Ceridian, which is also an investor in the company areas.

Dayforce now offers a native application for Apple iOS and Android-based smartphones called Dayforce Mobile, which I reviewed briefly. The application helps associates and managers communicate and work together on scheduling to create a work/life balance. The company should make a demo of it freely available to get more organizations to see its capabilities.

Dayforce competes with workforce management providers such as Infor, Kronos, Red Prairie and Workforce that also are advancing in mobility and collaboration; we believe that such capabilities are critical for organizations to adopt to acquire and retain talent. We are assessing the next generation of workforce management applications now and later on will do a detailed review of vendors and products in this segment to help buyers sort through these and other developments.

If you are looking to replace legacy workforce management systems or the use of email and spreadsheets, we advise you to explore the depth of Dayforce’s applications and look at its success in the market.


Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer