Ventana Research recently released our Value Index on Workforce Management for 2014. We define workforce management as the set of processes by which organizations manage their hourly and salaried employees to maximize productivity. It involves not only tracking time worked and providing compensation for it but also aligning that work to the objectives of the organization and to the individual employee’s needs. Our Value Indexes are informed by more than a decade of analysis of how well technology suppliers and their products satisfy specific business and IT needs. For each we perform a detailed evaluation of product functionality and suitability to task in five categories as well as of the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. In this case the resulting index gauges the value offered by each vendor and its products in supporting workforce management, which is necessary for running an organization efficiently and effectively.
Part of efforts to optimize workforce management is a focus on aligning the workforce to the organization’s goals and objectives. But more than half (52%) of businesses today use desktop spreadsheets for workforce management. Instead we believe that businesses should adopt dedicated workforce management systems, which are much more reliable and capable, to execute this important set of processes.
Our benchmark research reveals that over the past few years technology innovations have changed workforce management. New technologies have been embedded in elements of its core processes. These next-generation innovations include mobility, cloud computing, advanced analytics and business collaboration. Vendors and businesses have incorporated these technologies at different rates. For example, mobility has elicited response from many vendors and is in demand among customers; in our next-generation workforce management benchmark research, two-thirds of organizations said they have deployed smartphones to their workforce, and 28 percent said they have deployed tablets.
Using our benchmark research methodology Ventana Research evaluated how companies use workforce management, including exploring their maturity in core processes such as time and attendance and scheduling as well as adoption of next-generation technologies. The research shows that organizations are maturing at an uneven rates and that they are relatively immature overall in terms of adopting the next generation of systems. It also shows that overall nearly three in five organizations rank at the lowest two of the four levels of our maturity hierarchy; they have work to do in updating their use of people, processes, information and technology to manage their workforces.
Our Workforce Management Value Index for 2014 evaluates suites of software products that take a comprehensive approach to workforce management. For employees who have to use more than one module of these products, having a suite usually makes it easier to become proficient in the modules than having to learn separate products from different vendors. In addition, the administrative effort can often be lessened with a suite that centralizes these functions, which can reduce overhead for both IT and HR. And total cost of ownership (TCO) may less for a suite than for a collection of individual products.
In assessing the capabilities of workforce management suites we thus are evaluating a broad array of functionality. All of the suites we considered handle the core capabilities of workforce management, but some have other capabilities, such as complete absence management, task management for retail environments, retail demand scheduling and dashboard analytics with which managers track and manage to metrics and KPIs.
As noted, the results of our research indicate that several next-generation technologies are of key importance to creating a complete workforce management suite. We therefore included evaluations of collaboration, mobility and social networking in the scoring criteria. We believe that organizations in many industries and of many sizes – especially those with more than 100 employees –need workforce management systems with more capabilities than just time and attendance and workforce scheduling. We therefore have based our evaluations on a broad array of functionality, even though some organizations may be looking only for basic capabilities.
The value index assesses the broad set of workforce management needs for an organization but also the next-generation of capabilities including analytics, collaboration, cloud computing and mobile technologies that for some organizations are essential for evaluating and selecting their next vendor and set of products. The top vendor is Kronos, followed closely by Ceridian and Infor; all of these vendors received the Hot Vendor rating. They are followed in order by Oracle, WorkForce Software, ADP, SumTotal Systems, SAP, Empower and Workplace, which earned the Warm Vendor rating. The differences in the scores reflect the completeness of the workforce management offerings, such as the strength of their scheduling and absence management capabilities or the degree to which they provide next-generation capabilities. Because we rate vendors across a spectrum of business categories, differences in scores are affected by these categories as well.