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


Ceridian Dayforce's Integration Options

One of the more interesting aspects of marketing that the company touts is the fact that the solution has "zero interfaces"—a tall order to be sure and one that we were keenly interested in understanding further, especially for those customers needing additional capabilities that can only be garnered from a 3rd-party application. What we discovered in researching this interfacing element further is that Dayforce has been built as a single application from the ground-up. What this essentially equates to (and consequently one of the greatest selling points of the solution) is that functional modules do not require interfaces between each other. However, it should be noted that the application is designed to be modular and is based on an open integration framework. That means that Dayforce is able to implement solutions with only part of the functional scope to be provided by the application, leveraging interfaces with third party systems for additional functionality and data sources.

Unfortunately, even though Dayforce is an early cloud pioneer in terms of both payroll and broader HCM technologies, it does not currently include a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) ecosystem (such as to support the development of third party products. However, in speaking with company representatives, this option is on the table for future development; and according to David Ossip "our application will continue to grow in terms of both functional scope and supported integration options".


Although Dayforce HCM does not offer SharePoint-style groupware capabilities, the application does offer collaboration capabilities for managing, assigning, tracking, and executing against business processes. For example, in the workforce management portion of the application, collaborative functionality includes activities such as: managing and creating schedules; checking employee availability for scheduling; requesting time away from work; trading shifts; assigning tasks; tracking projects; timecard sign-off/approval/review; and approving form submissions.

Ceridian Dayforce's Customization Options

Dayforce HCM accommodates the client instance alteration needs through configuration of the application, rather than customization. And unlike a number of other products on the marketplace currently, nearly all elements of customers' required HR data, policies, and processes can be configured in Dayforce HCM without having to customize the code base upon which the application is developed (a key to multi-tenant architectures). As is the case for other vendor's applications that follow this model, by preventing the need to customize each client environment, functionality and upgrades for Dayforce customers can be provided without affecting future upgrades while maintaining the company's standard release cycle of every 6 to 8 weeks.

In addition to those customization elements, as referenced in our previous section on Manager Self-Service functionality, Dayforce permits customers to identify triggering events where the system itself initiates user-defined workflow automation processes. This robust tool (called the Workflow Manager) allows clients to document, enforce, and automate their business processes (while capturing all notifications, forms, and approvals involved); with each workflow representing a single process such as updating employee contact information. Further, Dayforce's Workflow Editor allows for the creation of an unlimited number of workflows that can be created and tied to various forms and submission processes in the application.

Ceridian Data Center Hosting & Service Level Agreement

Data Center Hosting

When it comes to looking after client information, Ceridian takes security (both virtual and physical) quite seriously. Balancing the data workload and acting as a backup for one another, Ceridian's two hosting centers are in Atlanta, GA and Louisville, KY. Both data centers are hardened facilities with fully redundant power, multiple uninterruptible power supply (UPS), backup 1650 KVA diesel generators. They also employ the usual server safeguards such as raised floors, redundant HVAC temperature control systems, separate cooling zones, separately zoned smoke and heat detection, and non-water first response fire suppression systems.

For redundancy and disaster recovery, the data center hardware infrastructure is protected on a number of levels. Database clusters with external storage arrays and web servers configured in a traditional farm environment enable Ceridian to distribute processing, as well as obtain a high level of web server utilization. This federated approach achieves real-time fail-over and improves processing performance for customers. The same features also enable server maintenance without interruption to online services. The network is further protected with an intrusion detection system to ensure any attempt at bringing the system down via a Denial of Service, X-Site Scripting, or SQL Injection attack is thwarted and blocked before any damage is done.

Of course, what most prospective customers are interested in with regards to hosting and security are the industry attestations that a provider possesses; of which ISO 27001 tends to be the most globally-accepted. Unfortunately, per statements made by company representatives, Dayforce is not audited nor certified using that industry standard. Instead, Ceridian engages Cenzic for third-party validation—testing specifically for items such as authentication, authorization, and accounting functions. While obviously not as comprehensive as ISO, it should be noted that full extensive testing is conducted twice per year with incremental remedy and resetting with each QA release. Additionally, KPMG has issued a SOC 1Type 2 audit report with no exceptions for Ceridian. For those unfamiliar with this type of auditing, basically what an SOC 1 Type 2 report ensures is compliance on the suitability of design and operating effectiveness of the controls within a given system. In the case of Ceridian's Dayforce, the KPMG audit report covers controls related to the development, support and hosting of Dayforce HCM; making sure that the company: collaborates with clients, product management, development and QA teams; implements functionality in priority order; has Just-in-Time and Flexible Requirements Specifications; analyzes and designs the Dayforce system to ensure code quality; regularly delivers working software; and continuously conducts automated and manual testing.

Ceridian Dayforce Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Ceridian's standard software service level agreement (SLA) includes agreed standards for:

  • Network availability, including the database, network, and Payroll web or Latitude, self-service, and time modules.
  • Payroll processing and reruns.
  • Payroll accuracy (percentage of paychecks produced accurately).
  • Ceridian offers a 99.5% uptime guarantee as part of their standard SLA for Dayforce HCM. All service requests are routed to the Dayforce Support team—available for contact via telephone, email, or an online support portal. Support for critical requests off hours is handled by Dayforce's on-call program. Ceridian offers first response guidelines based on the severity of application usability. While we were unable to secure information related to how this SLA is measured (i.e. monthly, quarterly, etc.), in the event of this target not being met, the client may receive a 3% monthly credit for each month following breach until the agreed level of service is regained.

    Ceridian Dayforce Software Pricing

    Ceridian's Dayforce application is multi-tenant SaaS, and as such is subscription-based. Determining the exact cost however is much more difficult to assess. Sources we talked to indicated that ultimately pricing is dependent on the size and needs of the business; however the range is wide (from a low of $2 per user/per month to $9). As such, in the vein of many payroll software vendors, the specifics of how prices are calculated and/or negotiated are unclear. That said, especially within the workforce management space that Dayforce plays so well to, generally defining cost parameters is a rather fruitless exercise simply sue to the enumerable factors that have to be taken into account for any given business's unique requirements. For instance, while Dayforce does follow the SaaS deployment model, hosting options are still up to the customer—a choice that could substantially affect pricing as well as overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

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