The 800-pound gorilla.  Goliath.  The big boy.  There are countless idioms to describe Kronos’ position in the workforce management market.  Regardless of how you describe Kronos, it was on display at KronosWorks 2013 in Orlando, Florida this past week.  And some of the numbers that support Kronos’ claim as the WFM market leader are impressive:

  • Kronos reached $975M in revenue for their fiscal 2013.  This is up 10 percent from $880M the year before.  Kronos will likely be the first $1B workforce management vendor this year.

  • More than 9,000 customers are using the Kronos Cloud, up 51 percent in the last 12 months.  In other words, Kronos has more clients using a SaaS or off-premise solution than any other WFM vendor. 

  • Kronos will spend more than $100M on research and development this year.  This is more than any other WFM vendor, according to Kronos CEO Aron Ain.

So, Kronos is big.  KronosWorks is big, too.  Thousands of customers from around the world attended the conference having hundreds of sessions to choose from.  It is easy to be overwhelmed but Kronos does a good job making it digestible. Tracks and events were organized by industry, making it easy for like-minded users to connect.  Kronos representatives arranged for one-on-one and small group sessions, encouraging users to talk and share experiences.  A mobile app allowed users to navigate the conference in real-time from their phones.  And, attendees used social media throughout the conference to share their experiences and make connections on their own.

Speaking of social, Kronos announced several new features that will be released over the next several months.  One new feature is a new social widget that encourages users across the organization to collaborate and share information.  Kronos also announced new self-service analytics and better data visualization for Workforce Analytics customers. Both new features will be available with 7.0.2, planned for release before the end of the year.

Kronos has also released new versions of its mobile and tablet applications.  These new releases include integration with the alerting engine that was delivered in Workforce Central 7 earlier this year and an offline mode that allows data to be collected when no network connection is available. 

If you’ve been to a technology conference in the last few years, you cannot escape talking about “the cloud” and its impact on how we consumer and support technology.  KronosWorks was no exception.  The Kronos Cloud represents two applications.  Workforce Ready and Workforce Central. Workforce Ready is an HR/payroll/WFM solution for small and mid-sized businesses. It is also branded as SaaShr.

Workforce Central is Kronos’ enterprise-class WFM platform that can be either on premise or hosted. Kronos has more than 600 customers on Workforce Central in the Kronos Cloud.  According to the staff that I spoke with, more than 40 customers have more than 10,000 employees with many having more than 50,000 employees.  Marriott International (75,000 employees), Wyndham Worldwide (16,000 employees) and Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (6,500 employees) participated in a panel sharing their experiences

Kronos admits that it has learned a lot about hosting and managing their Workforce Central in the Kronos Cloud.  It learned very quickly that upgrades were time-consuming.  This drove the development of Express Upgrade, an automated utility to upgrade that is said to reduce upgrade time by 80 percent.  The first version of the utility will be released in December 2013 and upgrades Workforce Central 6.3 to 7.0.  Kronos is enhancing it to support Workforce Central 6.1 and higher next year.

As I wrap-up this blog post, I was struck by one thing this year that was not promoted by Kronos but came through as I talked with the Kronites (that’s what they call their team members) whether it was on the show floor, in meetings or just running into people in the hallway.  People like working at Kronos.  Working in workforce management, we know how much value engaged and happy employees can provide, we know the cost of turnover and the negative impact it can have on the products and services we provide, Kronos should be commended for the culture that they have created and retained.

I will see you at KronosWorks 2014 in Las Vegas next year.  In the meantime, check out our Healthcare Practice Director Chris Flanders’ take on KronosWorks 2013 and watch Axsium Group’s wrap-up video with yours truly, Chris and Retail Strategist Bliss Gordon.