We had the opportunity to attend the Ceridian analyst summit held in Hollywood at the beautiful W Hotel.


Tough to pick the top three takeaways, but here you go - check out the video.



Ceridian Progress Report

No time to watch - read on:

New User Interface Across Products – The avid reader may know that I have been pointing out to UI modernization and usability issues around the Ceridian products for a while. It was good to see that the vendor has started to address the issue over a year ago, but upgrading user interfaces takes time. Ceridian took the smart route of addressing the high-frequency screens first, starting with employee and manager self-service. The good news is that Ceridian has now brought the new user interface to all products and screens. It looks modern, fresh, 21st century-like, and we know already from customers and prospects that it makes a difference. For those architecturally inclined, the vendor has moved to a declarative UI architecture, which should make future UI renovation and innovation much easier.

Compliance Make the Forte Stronger – Ceridian has never made it a secret that compliance runs deep in the vendor’s DNA. Not only on the traditional payroll DNA but also on the “infused” Workbrain DNA around workforce management (more labor rules, more schedules, etc.). This DNA combined with the integrated architecture of Dayforce puts Ceridian into the attractive position to take compliance further than most other players in the market. Take the omnipresent ACA challenges of enterprises; Ceridian not only offers the reports to understand where compliance is but also populates the statutory forms and reporting for its customers. A good direction - and knowing how much enterprises struggle with compliance, it’s a significant value in the marketplace. The other coin of the compliance equation is Payroll, and we saw promising “Payroll 2.0” capabilities with micro calculations and a well-designed global payroll dashboard.

HCM Anywhere – One of the best-kept but open secrets of the industry is that the bulk of users really do not use the HCM system much. But all people spend (way too) much time in email. Ceridian wants to tackle that system separation by bringing the HCM information and processes to email, more specifically to Outlook. A plug-on not only shows key employee information, but also key HCM information, and it even allows some lightweight information processing. Enterprise software history is literally littered (pun intended) with failed Email / Outlook integration products (anyone remember SAP’s Mendocino project?); however, technology and integration has progressed (OData, more below), making integration easier. And users are still in email, so kudos to Ceridian to trying it again. Equally important is the mobile support with emancipated iOS and Android native apps, something most vendors only manage to tackle over time, given the North American infatuation with iOS devices (in contrast to the rest of the world).



  • Talent Management - Ceridian released its recruiting product a year ago. Now it is time to extend the functionality – both on the talent acquisition side with offering management and on the onboarding side. It was good to see that Ceridian is also thinking of internal transfers, an employee population generally overseen in regards to onboarding them (this is why I created “transboarding” some time ago – more here).
  • Reporting - Ceridian has also spent R&D time on reporting – both on the usability of the report creation, as well as the export / exposure of reporting data through the powerful OData protocol. This opens up analysis options for enterprises using OData-compatible BI tools, e.g., Microsoft PowerBI or Tableau.
  • Lifeworks – Ceridian keeps extending capabilities of its Employee Assistance Program product, Lifeworks. Its partnership with UK0based Workangel adds key employee engagement, recognition and rewards to the product, as announced last year at the Ceridian Insights conference (see here for event report).
  • Services scaled – Ceridian has spent time to scale its support function better with the creation of a pod model, standardization of roles and a general follow-the-sun model across its locations in the U.S., U.K. and Mauritius. Metrix looks good with overall support trending down, while the number of customers is growing rapidly. On the implementation side, Ceridian has the good but challenging problem to grow fast to avoid an implementation backlog from becoming a problem. It is good that training is ramped up and certifications are in place, but Ceridian will have to sign larger SI partners, such as the existing partnership with TCS. It was very encouraging to see self-service setup capabilities coming to Dayforce; enabling customers to take implementation in their own hands is the right direction. 


Good progress at Ceridian on the Dayforce product. In general, the team has a good delivery track record and that shows after three years of significant investment in product. Now the question is where Ceridian will take the product next; more global is already a direction the vendor is executing on.

HCM anywhere is a promising direction but needs more validation and further investment. However, more business user empowerment is always a good “true north” for enterprise software vendors.

Next are advances on the (true) analytics side, big data and machine learning, where Ceridian needs to time investments and formulate its strategy. Another option will be the Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) area, where Ceridian has already millions of real-world data points; exploiting that capability will be a mutual benefit to both vendor and customers.

On the concern side, Ceridian operates its own data-center infrastructure, which is manageable today but with more statutory challenges on the horizon (see Russia, see Safe Harbor invalidation, etc.), partnering with an IaaS leader will give both Ceridian and its customers more peace of mind. To be fair, only a few of the HCM players are there.

Overall good progress with Dayforce at Ceridian, which has to address growth challenges on the services side, but that’s a good problem to have for a software vendor and something that has been done and mastered by every successful enterprise software leader. Now it will be key to invest the headroom gained on the R&D side by truly differentiating and creating long-lasting value propositions. 

More on Ceridian

  • Event Report - Ceridian Insights - Momentum and Differentiation Building - read here
  • First Take - Ceridian Insights Day #1 Keynote Takeaways - off to a good start - read here
  • Progress Report – Ceridian executes on product, next challenge – implementation capacity, then sales … Read here
  • Event Report - CeridianINSIGHTS 2014 - Ceridian innovates and adds key functionality - read here
  • First Take - Ceridian INSIGHTS Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
  • Progress Report - Ceridian makes a lot of progress - but the road(map) is long - read here
  • Ceridian transforming itself and with that the game – read here

And unrelated to Ceridian - how important payroll can be for HCM innovation:
  • Could the paycheck reinvent HCM - yes it can - read here
  • And suddenly... payroll matters again - read here
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.