KronosWorks 2014, held recently at the Aria casino in Las Vegas.

User conferences are a great captive audience, but they can go either way. Customers either leave feeling like their vendor understands their needs or like the event was a way to deliver the bad news mixed with a few free drinks. The crowd is always a stew of existing, happy customers and those that made the trip because they have concerns about something. Let’s face it there is always something, big or small, that irks people about every software program.

The reality is if you make your customers feel like you have heard their concerns and are working diligently on the issues, they will leave the conference with a good feeling.

Kronos did just that.

Here are some observations from this year’s conference:

Java Free

It’s amazing how quickly a savior turns into a persona non grata. Java had not even seen its 20th birthday. [The Java 1.0 Compiler was released in ‘95]

By popular demand, Java will be retired for HTML 5. We heard some comments from the stage during the keynote on timing of a java free release, but look to Kronos for an official announcement. (Why is this good and what does Kronos have to do with it? What did they do?)

They listened and responded.

Sability Team: Alan Segal, Scott Brown, Rob Leonard and Eric Hoffmann

Sability Team: Alan Segal, Scott Brown, Rob Leonard and Eric Hoffmann


Verticals, Verticals, Verticals…

Of all the vendors we work with, Kronos is the most committed to their vertical industry strategy. At Kronos, the entire company is verticalized. This helps explain their success in some of the most challenging verticals such as healthcare, retail, police & fire departments, etc. These industries have very unique needs that they have taken time to understand.

They’ve acquired vertical solutions, too, like TeleStaff . We’ve seen it time and time again – a company gets acquired and the industry-specific vertical solution is killed, and customers are “encouraged” to prematurely adopt the parent company’s generic solution.

Kudus to Kronos for keeping TeleStaff solution. It’s just another indication of Kronos’s desire to provide the best WFM solutions for their customers,even if that means a specialized solution.


Running on Premise Not the Cloud

KW2014_Sability Booth Action

Alan Segal, VP Client Services, mans the buzzing Sability booth at KronosWorks.

[Sung to Running on Empty, Jackson Browne]
with apologies to the Fowler Brothers

Running on-running on [premise]
Running on-running blind
Running on-running into the sun
But I’m running behind

If your WFM system is singing this song – read on.

One of the most surprising things we noted at the conference was the number of customers still running their systems on premises. Across all industries, with few exceptions, all companies should at a minimum become educated on SaaS-based systems or cloud offerings. Many companies do not understand the enormous advantages (e.g., simplification of infrastructure, scalability, NO MORE UPGRADES).

From our discussion with customers, most do not understand the ease of migrating to the cloud. It’s often less challenging than an upgrade, because no infrastructure, multiple databases/web servers and management of the same are required. Potentially you will be able to hand your vendor the data, and they will perform the upgrade for you. New version. Little effort. Win/win.

So why does Kronos want me to upgrade so badly? Sure it’s good for them, but it’s good for you too. It’s one of the somewhat rare circumstances when customers’ and vendors’ interests align so strongly.


Go at Your Leisure…

To their credit, Kronos is letting customers decide when it’s best for them to move their infrastructure to the cloud. Other HCM vendors do not give you this luxury. Although we have heard nothing form Kronos that would indicate this, it is logical to assume they will at some point in the future cease support for infrastructure deployments. So, it’s a good idea to get a plan in place for this inevitability. Sability can help you with this.

What were some of your observations of KronosWorks 2014? We’d like to hear from you.


Scott Brown, Sability CEO and Founder

For more than 20 years, Scott Brown has been a well-known consultant, executive, and innovator in optimizing the deployment of Human Capital Management (HCM) and Workforce Management (WFM) systems. Early in his career, he became focused on finding a better way to create links between employees and management and between employees and technology; all while providing managers with tools and information which they can manage.

He founded Sability as an HCM consultant delivering end-to-end support — from planning to cutover — to insure maximum capture of ROI. This results-oriented approach has helped Sability grow substantially since it was initially launched. His firm has been providing tactical and strategic human capital consulting services to enterprise and mid-market firms across the US and Canada for the past 21 years.