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Kronos Workforce Central Review—An HR Software Comparison

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Kronos Sweet Spot & Competitor Solutions

Kronos Workforce Central Sweet Spot
The customer target market for Kronos' Workforce Central software includes the vertical markets of retail, health care, government, hospitality, and manufacturing. Though no specific employee number was specified by the vendor in relation to the application, the best fit for the Workforce Central suite is the middle market (broadly defined as 500-2500 employees) all the way up to that of larger enterprises (2500+ employees). Smaller organizations will likely find Kronos' other applications such as Essentials and iSeries more well-suited to their business needs and IT budgets.

Marquis customers that leverage Kronos solutions include Best Buy, Costco, CVS, Staples, Kroger, PetSmart, Securitas, Sports Authority, Yum Brands, and Starbucks—a testament to how well-received the HR software is in the hourly-worker market, as each one of these brands has a high make-up of these employees. However, Kronos also has significant penetration in the verticals of Energy, Public Sector Administration, Financial Services, Gaming, Higher Education, K-12 Education, Life Sciences, Logistics, and Public Safety.

Short List the Kronos Workforce Central solution when:

  • Your business is within one of Kronos' supported vertical markets
  • You seek an HR software solution that is specifically focused on increasing workforce productivity and decreasing labor expenses
  • Your organization has a high concentration of hourly and/or contingent workers
  • Your organization is already leveraging multiple Kronos products for workforce management

Alternative Solutions
HR software buyers may be best advised to seek an alternative to Kronos if:

  • Your organization needs to leverage global payroll through a single solution
  • You are seeking deeper integration into additional ERP capabilities like financials, CRM, etc.
  • Your company needs best-of-breed talent management capabilities for functions such as learning and development, performance management, etc.
  • Your company needs the flexibility and innovation that comes from a multi-tenant SaaS solution

Kronos Competitors

Even though Kronos is considered non-ERP, the bulk of Kronos' competition is in the ERP software space and includes SAP, Oracle and Infor; however, Kronos also competes against Ceridian, Ultimate Software, and NuView for much of the remaining HRMS market share. Still, given Kronos' heavy emphasis on workforce management, productivity gains, and a rapidly evolving mobile application, perhaps the most direct competitor that Kronos has is Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

Kronos remaining competitors are varied and tend towards offering at least partial HR functionality as best-of-breed. That being said, it should be noted that, as opposed to most if not all of Kronos' competitors within the HR software landscape, Kronos sought first to be a best-of-breed Time & Attendance solution. Though Kronos is moving the needle in their talent management offerings like Recruiting, many companies will likely find this new offering to be woefully inadequate compared to leading HR software solutions. That being said, the recent upgrades to the User Interface (UI) have improved the user experience and are pushing the company into the territory of being able to compete with some of the more prominent talent management solutions.

Concluding Remarks

Kronos' track record of offering workforce management solutions speaks for itself in terms of fullness and adoption rates. Unfortunately the very technology that set Kronos apart during its formative growth years may end up stifling future growth if the company isn't careful. Organizations that already leverage Kronos software for time and attendance may unwittingly assume that the "command-and-control" structure is all that Kronos can do. And given the strong push that we're seeing by organizations to unify their HRMS and talent management solutions, it is a distinct possibility that Kronos could lose customers if a carefully-crafted message about their offerings isn't better communicated. The large customer base that exists has tremendous potential for the company to up-sell and cross-sell its other solutions, but is by no means a given.

All in all, Kronos' Workforce Central Suite is a solidly performing solution that deserves to be in the same ranks as that of its major competitors. The HR software has its flaws, but for the organization that is specifically looking for the functionality that is housed in the Kronos solution, Workforce Central may well be the desired solution. Though obviously more well-suited to companies with hourly-wage worker concentrations, the simplicity of design and lack of "bells and whistles" could be appealing regardless of industry. Kronos' main task moving forward though is to catch up to the level of innovation that other HR software vendors are pushing, and push the envelope on its own offering—ultimately understanding that the workforce is changing and the global map is shrinking...whether Kronos is ready for it or not.

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