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Kronos unleashes Falcon – launches Workforce Dimensions. Complete new products / product suites are seldom launched by surprise. But Kronos managed to do this – keeping the cloth of confidentiality on its new product, Workforce Dimension, for over 3 years. The approach that Kronos took was remarkable: It formed a separate team, with the objective to disrupt Kronos. The team was physically separated from the existing R&D team and laid the foundation for Falcon, the codename for what is today Workforce Dimensions. Moreover, Kronos took the time to listen and had the stamina, guts and discipline to get Workforce Dimensions built out to the point of functional parity with its two other key products – Workforce Central and Workforce Ready. Truly remarkable, and a departure from the typically seen ‘announce first, deliver later’ approach in enterprise software.
Workforce Dimensions – a modern WFM management system. In Workforce Dimensions, Kronos has done many things right, but let’s start with the most crucial ones: Kronos has re-started with a brand-new domain model. Often overseen, but if gotten right, a key capability to support 21st century best practices, that often were hard if not impossible to achieve on older systems. Moreover, Kronos takes advantage of machine learning, to power interesting capabilities like Workforce Advisor and assure compliance. And lastly, Kronos Dimensions is built on a new platform the D5 platform… and D5 runs on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The last decisions are likely going to be key, as all SaaS vendors are moving to IaaS platforms (instead of running on inhouse data centers).
|Ain makes commitment to existing customers|
Commitment to Workforce Central and Workforce Ready. When new products are announced, customers that have experience in the enterprise software market right away are concerned on existing R&D commitment and support / maintenance of existing products. The only way for vendors to address these concerns is to issue roadmaps and deliver on the R&D, support and maintenance commitments. At launch of the new product, vendor cannot do more than make the commitments, and Kronos has done well making these. For instance, the vendor committed 100M US$ in R&D for both Workforce Central and Workforce Ready in 2018. Now Kronos has to follow up and deliver to keep customers comfortable. The last thing vendors with new products want to see happening is a RFP.
|Kronos Workforce Dimensions beta customers|
Google Cloud Platform is the IaaS for Kronos Workforce Dimensions. SaaS vendors are picking their IaaS partners, as they can turn capital expenditure (CAPEX) into OPEX… if done right it should yield in more budget for R&D of the SaaS product. Kronos choice of GCP is not the typical first choice, so quite a coup for Google. But the machine learning and performance capabilities of GCP are something all SaaS vendors have noted. A good choice by Kronos from all we can tell at the end of 2017.
MyPOVIt’s seldom that new enterprise products are announced in the era of SaaS. But with the DNA of most products still reaching into the 20th century, they all need a considerable re-thinking in regards of their capabilities vis a vis 21st century best practice needs. Kronos making the decision to start from scratch is certainly a good one, given the legacy of Workforce Central and Workforce Ready. More important Kronos has also entered the HCM market, as it announced that it will scale up the Workforce Ready HCM capabilities up to enterprises with 10k FTE. What this means for the good partner relations that Kronos has with all the larger HCM and ERP vendors remains to be seen, but Kronos is certainly now in a position of strength. The remarkable ability to announce with a ready product is also a sign of competitive market weakness… most vendors in enterprise software don’t have the luxury to build their next generation product for 3+ years – and still grow. Likely Kronos will be able to exert some competitive pressure on the other players in Workforce Management.
On the concern side, Workforce Dimensions is a new product. Though Kronos has done a good job working with launch customers, presenting them at KronosWorks etc. – the proof will be in the pudding when a few dozens of customers are live. There are a lot of moving parts when creating a new platform and a new SaaS product, that runs on an IaaS platform, and they have to be all in line. There is nothing prompting a concern at the moment, but Kronos still has to master this. Kronos customers are now on the pickle to determine their upgrade decision and path. The older platforms have enough pain points (just mention Java on Desktop. Flash, UI, reporting) to force the hand of decision makers to look at Workforce Dimensions soon. And lastly Kronos needs to get the ecosystem ready, there will be a lot of services and support work needed. But this is a good problem to have.
Overall a great KronosWorks for Kronos and its customers. Kronos has created an attractive, modern Workforce Management system that will give all its customers pause to think about upgrade plans. Not only has Kronos managed to address challenges of the past, but has also shown vision in regards of user experience and best practices, to make the evaluation of Workforce Dimensions almost a no brainer for the install base. A great start for a brand-new product. Stay tuned.