A few members of the Axsium team made their way over to Las Vegas to attend the annual KronosWorks user conference. The show is a great way to gain insight into Kronos’ vision of the future of workforce management. Here are our key takeaways from yesterday:

Some thoughts from Director, Chris Flanders:

The big news today was Kronos announcing Workforce Dimensions, their new workforce management solution upgrade. This will be the new flagship product, eventually replacing Workforce Central (WFC) (although Kronos was clear that it will continue to support WFC for another 10 years). In a nutshell, Dimensions is a multi-tenant cloud WFM platform. Architecturally and design-wise, it reminds me of Salesforce.com, as it will leverage an extension store for the unique needs of clients that are not handled by the core platform.

There is a lot to like about Dimensions. It is device-independent; the user experience (UX) is fresh; the technology is more current. There are also some fundamental shifts in approach. Whereas WFC was designed to be a transactional system built for end-users to pull exception data to manage employees, Dimensions appears to be built with reporting and analytics in mind, has “proactive compliance reporting,” and employs an artificial intelligence layer to assist managers in managing their employees with recommended actions.

There are still a few points that are unclear and will be sorted out over time. References have been made to a mobile app, but it looks like mobile devices will just use a browser for access. Also, while the Kronos company line is that all WFC functionality is available in Dimensions right away, they also say some WFC module functionality won’t be available until late 2018 (e.g. forecasting).

Key Takeaways: Dimensions is a whole new modern ballgame for WFM data from an access standpoint. But I know a lot of clients still struggle with decisions like whether or not to give employees mobile access and what strict processes managers are required to follow. The question that is out there now is: Are companies culturally ready for WFM data and workflows to evolve, or will they fight for ways to restrict access and undermine the value of Dimensions? Time will tell.

— Axsuim Group (@FlandersChris) #kronosworks

More insight from Director, Jan Worosz:

While Workforce Dimensions is an exciting platform that is both modern and simplistic in look and feel the concerns around the size of the client that can migrate to Dimensions and the level of complexity it offers is a challenge for clients. Additionally, I have heard concerns from a risk and compliance perspective, especially around the employee completing functions that could be seen as working off the clock, editing a timecard or requesting time off.

The other concern expressed from clients is the level of effort to support the end user. With their ability to select how a report or graph renders, and essentially personalized their experience, troubleshooting could be more complex.

I also attended a couple of client-led sessions. The first was with Ahold, the large Netherlands-based grocery retailer that discussed their U.S. operations. Hearing the client express the like for like upgrade strategy was interesting in that they found the change in the UI significant enough to rollout and train in the first phase without adding additional functionality. Understanding the amount of data the client needs to achieve and how the cloud is allowing that to happen in one place, in real time without requiring an outage, was a huge benefit to the client’s upgrade. Ahold’s strategy for training and change management was key to their success. By training one person per store to be the champion of change and trainer to the rest of the store allowed for a smooth transition. Another key was allowing users in an environment to practice what they learned before their go-live, providing training guides and weekly updates to FAQs as support documents.

Next up was T-Mobile. Their approach focused on evaluating the internal and external customer experience and phasing in different aspects of the Kronos solution. The key was leveraging and hearing feedback from the field and addressing those concerns. The client came up with four labor principles to drive the message to field leaders: Headcount Management; Timely Punches; Schedule vs Budget; and Labor Variance metric. By focusing on these four areas they were able to guide the field leadership and measure overall adoption. They continue to improve with a planned rollout of an additional metric – schedule effectiveness.

— Axsuim Group #kronosworks