Five Insights from Ceridian INSIGHTS

by | Oct 23, 2014

Ceridian held its annual user conference, INSIGHTS 2014, on July 12-16, 2014. This was my first time attending the conference, and I was there to hear the latest on Dayforce HCM and Dayforce WFM. I was not alone. More than 1,200 customers and prospects descended on the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, to hear about the latest advancements from Ceridian. 

While Ceridian offers a number of products and services, the overwhelming buzz from the attendees was about Dayforce. I spent my four days at INSIGHTS, talking with customers, talking with Ceridian employees, attending sessions, and just taking in all that was on offer. Here are my five insights from these discussions.

Beyond WFM…way beyond.

Before INSIGHTS, when I thought about Dayforce, my first thought was about WFM. Then, I would remember that they also have an HCM product. At INSIGHTS, I realized that my perspective was warped.

Ceridian has built an incredibly robust HCM solution. It is investing heavily in expanding its breadth with new modules and improving those that have already been released with new features and functionality. For example, Ceridian introduced Recruiting and previewed Performance Management at the conference. It also demonstrated a General Ledger module, debuted platform capabilities such as Document Management, Analytics, and showed ACA-specific functionality intended to make it easier to manage, track and comply with the US government-required healthcare mandates. Today, Dayforce HCM is a highly competitive HCM solution, comparable to Workday or Ultimate Software’s UltiPro, but Ceridian couples its strong HCM platform with an enterprise-class WFM solution. This is something no other competitor can offer.

For Ceridian, new modules and new capabilities come from collaboration with its customers. When a new module is released, Ceridian provides enough functionality to get customers started. The Dayforce development team works closely with early adopters to rapidly mature the application. In speaking with other analysts, several noted significant progress across the platform in the last 12 months. In the keynote and just about every product session I sat in, I heard stories from customers in the audience about how Ceridian added this functionality or that functionality to Dayforce for them over the last year—improving their usability. Most importantly, these enhancements are not one-off customizations but product improvements that benefit all customers using that particular module.

The benefits of one, one and zero

No, I am not speaking binary but rather abbreviating something Ceridian touted about Dayforce HCM. Throughout the conference, Ceridian highlighted that Dayforce was built from the ground-up as a single applications that provides one employee record, one user experience and zero interfaces. My first reaction was, “meh.” Sure, I get that interfaces create maintenance issues and clunky user interfaces create training and adoption issues, but then I saw two demos that drove home the benefits.

The first demo was of Dayforce HCM Recruiting. In this demo, information that was captured from an applicant’s resume and job application formed the stub of his/her future employee record. This streamlined onboarding and took care of simple things that are often a problem with new hires like getting the new employee on the schedule and/or tracking his/her time the week she is hired. The second demo showed the link between Time and Attendance and Payroll. In this demo, a user was reviewing an employee’s pay statement and noticed a problem with that employee’s time record. The user was able to navigate to the timesheet and correct the problematic time record. When the user returned to the pay statement, not only was the employee’s time updated but the gross and net pay had been updated, all in real-time. 

So long, Silverlight; hello, new UI

Since its beginning, Dayforce WFM and later Dayforce HCM used Microsoft Silverlight to render its user interface. While most companies had no issues using this browser plug-in, it created problems for organizations with very tight technology policies and in certain network environments. At INSIGHTS, Ceridian introduced an HTML5-based rather than Silverlight-based UI. The transition to HTML5 is not complete, yet. There are still screens that are rendered in Silverlight but that is temporary. I was told by Ceridian staff that they expect to HTML5 to completely replace Silverlight by the end of the year. 

More significant than the change in technology (at least to me and probably the clients that didn’t have an issue with Silverlight) is the design of the new UI, which represents an evolution that cleans-up and further streamlines navigation, icons, buttons, etc. Also, it is designed to render the same on a tablet as on a desktop. 

Best piece of advice? Get ready.

Ceridian has more than 1,100 customers live on Dayforce HCM and/or WFM with another 500 signed and queued for implementation. At the show, I tried to talk to as many of these customers as I could to hear their impressions of the company, product and the service they received during and after implementation. Across the board, the reviews were very positive. They were happy with the product, they were happy with the speed of implementation, and they were happy with the support that they received. 

When I asked what piece of advice they would give to a customer that was about ready to start their Dayforce implementation, I heard a common theme: get ready. Across the board, customers wished that they were better prepared for the implementation. Examples included:

  • Understanding their current HCM/WFM processes and designing new ones
  • Documenting their current policies and procedures as well as looking ahead to anticipate short-term and long-term changes
  • Ensuring that they had a dedicated project manager to work with Ceridian’s implementation team
  • Having enough time allocated from subject matter experts during both configuration and testing

The challenge for many new customers is that they do not know where to turn for help. This is where Ceridian partners can help. They can bring both experience and best practices to ensure that the customer is ready for the implementation, can provide supplemental resources to let the customer’s team do their full-time jobs, and provide long-term support and guidance and the customer’s requirements, policies and procedures change overtime.

Gone global

Ceridian is a global organization with clients in over 50 countries. So, it should be no surprise that Ceridian is rolling out Dayforce to support customers around the world. Dayforce was designed to be a global solution from its beginning and had early adopters in Canada and South Africa. However, Ceridian recognizes that offering an HCM solution in a specific country requires more than just providing support for the local language. 

At INSIGHTS, Ceridian had its global vision and capabilities on display. For Dayforce HCM, the core is a global employee record that includes country-specific employee properties, on-boarding workflows, time keeping and scheduling compliance policies, entitlement and time-off support, and interfaces with local payroll providers. This country-specific capabilities is complimented by global reporting that allows multinational organizations to view consolidated reports that handle currency conversion seamlessly.

* * * *

Ceridian INSIGHTS 2014 proved to be a good checkpoint to understand the company’s progress over the last 12 months and to understand where it is headed. While Dayforce has grown quickly over the last few years, things will accelerate as Dayforce continues to carry a momentum through new customer acquisition and as Ceridian begins to convert more of its customers on its legacy platforms to Dayforce. I will be very interested to see Ceridian’s progress at INSIGHTS 2015 to be held at the Wynn Las Vegas next July.

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