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Kronos HR Software Review—Hellman & Friedman Company Evaluation

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 179 votes)

Kronos Company Viability Review

Hellman & Friedman LLC, is the holding company for Kronos and has operations in San Francisco, London, and New York. Founded in 1984, Hellman & Friedman is a private equity investment firm that has developed $25B+ of committed capital and invested in over 75 companies—primarily in the services industry (the firm currently has investments in 25 technology companies including Datatel and IRIS Software Group). As for Kronos, the company has global offices in North America, Western Europe, Australia, China, India and Brazil, and has released 2011 figures that indicate the company earned $800M in revenues for the prior fiscal year.

Kronos' focus on vertical markets has put the HR software company into an enviable position for geographic expansion—a current strategic focus for the company. Specifically, Kronos' global focus is on the emerging markets for now (especially India and China with 40 and 60 customers respectively) due to the fact that the company sees itself as having already established itself as a serious competitor in the American, British, Canadian, and Australian markets. Indeed, whether founded on truth or not, the company has actually been called "bullish" about the presence it has in these established markets—seeing ample prospects for up-selling and cross-selling into its sizeable customer base. For example, in North America, Kronos sees its capabilities in Payroll and HRIS as an opportunity to further explore other talent management software domains. However, as of the writing of this HR software review, no such strategic moves have been noted.

Unfortunately, Kronos also suffers from an exaggerated sense of the importance of employee control measures. While these functions have certainly served organizations well in the past, the paradigm shift that is occurring within the Human Capital Management (HCM) space threatens to up-end the belief that workers are to be controlled and monitored closely—a belief that seems to be central to Kronos' flagship solutions. As such, if Kronos is to succeed in the future as a global provider of HR software (and capitalize those aforementioned "prospects"), its focus must move towards providing those HR solutions that harness this "worker-centric" power—understanding that the rise of well-rounded social and mobile technologies is an appropriate response for an increasingly disjointed and globally dispersed workforce.

That being said, Kronos is heavily investing in product development, as has been the case for the past several years, and is making in-roads in several key talent management areas. This re-invention of sorts that the company is pushing has attracted the attention of both customers and analysts alike. In fact, Bersin & Associates' Madeline Laurano is quoted as saying that, "Kronos has become one of the most forward-looking solution providers in the space". Further, Laurano points out, "In talent acquisition alone, they have introduced a new UI, sourcing analytics, multiple ways to engage passive candidates including social networking integration not to mention a solution for salaried hires". The common theme running through these accolades however is that the newer Kronos capabilities revolve around Talent Acquisition and little else—initiatives that are either incredibly near-sighted or far-sighted depending on how the HR software market shapes up over the coming months and years.

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