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Ceridian’s DayForce Payroll and HCM Software Solution: A Review


Ceridian's Dayforce Software—Additional System Capabilities

By far the most compelling aspect of the Dayforce solution is the way that the solution reimagines payroll and time/attendance processes as a single solution; rather than an integration between two separate functions. By doing this, data redundancy and integration issues are largely nil; but the really important aspect of this is how data is seamlessly shared between products to ensure a single, consolidated data source. By leveraging these functions as a single application (with one database and one rule engine) this data exchange functionality also guarantees that time-critical data can be made available in near real-time. However, additional Ceridian Dayforce system capabilities that are typically reviewed during the Payroll/HR software selection process include:

Ceridian Dayforce's User Experience

While for good reason much of the industry's attention has been on the user experience (UX) that companies like Workday and SilkRoad have been able to craft, the fact of the matter is that applications such as Dayforce are making significant headway in terms of their usage of consumerized, current-generation Rich Internet Application technologies to create an accessible and engaging UX. For instance, recently Dayforce announced its leveraging of "multi-view" technology—which has been designed to increase user adoption by "providing access to Dayforce's rich, visual solution on all platforms and hardware, including specialized or proprietary hardware and devices; and [enabling] enterprise-class scalability and performance on even the most challenging IT infrastructure". This consistent UX will be driven by a continued utilization of XAML for desktop clients and HTML5 frameworks for native iOS and Android for mobile and tablet users.

Ceridian Dayforce's Analytics

Dayforce leverages a number of analytics capabilities that are worth mentioning; all revolving around what the company deems "Real-time Performance Visibility". Although decidedly skewed towards workforce management, this "visibility" is accessible from multiple points within the application—enabling users to take advantage of a highly visual and interactive interface that provides conditional alerts and gives even non-technical users the ability to gather deep labor and budgeting insights. Further, analytics users can choose among standard views or create their own custom views; all while retaining access to unlimited groupings and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) reporting. And from a self-service standpoint, Dayforce's embedded analytics functions further allows managers to see performance trends; filter data for unit comparisons; conduct "what-if" analyses (in a mirrored business environment); and report on business decision implications. What's more, these data features are set up to be able to provide a visual representation on a rolling time basis. Simply make the changes and you can immediately view what the results of that decision could be. Of course, Dayforce's parent company Ceridian has also seen fit to advance into some slightly more detailed reporting capabilities thanks to their Ceridian Business Intelligence feature set (built off of SAP's Business Objects); but at this point functionality seems largely limited to pre-built metrics and reporting options. As such, while reporting functionalities are decidedly broad, until elements such as data warehousing, data mining, online analytical processing (OLAP), data modeling and predictive analytics are present; Ceridian will remain behind the market leaders.

International Payroll and HR Capabilities

As it has been discussed before when referencing not only Ceridian but other vendors within the payroll software space, the bulk of the solutions on the market currently cannot be described as fully supporting global payroll and HR. In large part the issue here is that Payroll, HR, and Benefits modules for these vendors simply pose more challenging legislative and regulatory requirements internationally. However, for opportunities such as these, Ceridian is able to leverage local payroll partners through their managed international payroll solution. This hybrid model approach provides a payroll system for certain countries and integration partnerships for geographies outside of that scope. While this is a fairly standard practice, when evaluating the international capabilities of a particular vendor (in this case Ceridian's Dayforce) these partnerships make it rather difficult to determine exactly what international capabilities are actually present.

That said what we do know is that Dayforce HCM is currently offered in the United States and Canada and available in English, Spanish, and French and supports multiple currencies. Additional languages can be added to the application within weeks to months (depending on the language complexity), and language configuration can be relatively easily controlled at the employee level so that each user views the application in their preferred language. This ability to render employee-system interactions into an individual's native tongue (thereby allowing organizations to provide their own wording and phrasing to the labels displayed in the application) is key—especially when dealing with localization issues. Further, through this localization, additional language translations can be achieved without facing upgrade issues as there will be no interruptions when any new functionality is automatically released in the application.

These international elements allow us to give a cautious "thumbs up" to Dayforce's suitability outside of the North American market for workforce management. And given that further development in both Europe and Asia are on the Dayforce radar moving forward, we consequently expect many of our initial trepidations to subside.

Mobile Fucntionality

Dayforce's mobile capability (contained in their aptly named Dayforce Mobile application) is a robust and feature-laden solution for iOS and Android that signals Ceridian's on-going commitment to the mobile form factor. Employees leveraging the solution can view and manage personal availability week by week; can punch in/out for shifts, meals, and breaks; can view scheduled shifts; can review and submit requests for time away from work; can review time in a weekly timesheet view; and can even view a detailed breakdown of their earnings information. Similarly, managers utilizing Dayforce Mobile can view daily attendance and perform call-ins; can view a list of employees, their contact information, and recent/upcoming shifts; can view and track completion status of tasks; can act on and approve workflows and employee requests; and can even send targeted communications to employee groups (an extremely helpful tool that has proven its worth in more than one case study on Gen Y workers). Unfortunately, for those organizations looking for mobile payroll functionality in the same vein as say ADP's RUN or PayrollGuru, those capabilities to process payroll from a mobile device are not yet available. It should be noted though that, to date, no vendor has developed these mobile payroll functionalities for the enterprise level; which could indicate another area that companies like Ceridian could grow into or simply that those capabilities aren't called for by larger businesses.

Of course Ceridian has also debuted additional quasi-mobile functionality via the Dayforce Touch time-clock; which adds yet another layer of self-service functionality that very few providers within the space can match. Essentially what we mean by that is that now both employees and managers have the capabilities to view and manage work information (e.g. message/alerts, shift scheduling, pay details, etc.) from the clock itself. And while the functionalities of the clock itself are impressive (i.e. features include biometric, bar code, RFID, magnetic stripe, PIN, and proximity punch methods; as well as optional photo-capture and schedule validation), perhaps the most striking thing about this touch technology-based clock is its user experience—intuitively designed to be used without any need for training.

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