About three years ago, I remember sitting in Kronos CEO Aron Ain’s office when he mentioned a group of people they had hired to go think about how to disrupt the workforce management space. It was a good idea, and one that you would hear from CEOs from time to time – and then never hear much about again. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, sitting in Kronos’ new offices in Lowell, MA, where 15 or so analysts were invited to learn about something called Project Falcon. Over those three years, the team had grown to hundreds of people, all focused on building the next big thing. Now the result of that work is here, as Project Falcon was officially announced to the world this morning as Workforce Dimensions.
Workforce Dimensions is a complete rethink of how Kronos delivers workforce management capability. It’s not just a new skin, or the old product scaled to fit a phone screen. It’s a set of tools built to help managers achieve their “right person, right place, right time, right cost” goals through real-time data, embedded analytics, and proactive compliance management. The user experience is designed around a tile concept, with the intent of each piece delivering insight that managers can take action on right from the same screen. It also delivers full functionality to all devices, but instead of miniaturizing the same UX, the experience is reconceptualized to take advantage of each device’s unique capabilities.
This rethink is enabled by Kronos’ new PaaS, or platform as a service, which runs in the Google Cloud. The core pillars of the platform include:
- Openness, with extensive API integration
- Using AI to improve predictions and forecasting
- In memory processing to increase speed
- Domain modeling and an information architecture designed to enable flexibility
This platform is about the shifting focus from reporting workforce data, to turning workforce data into insight and action. This means both enabling users to take action, but also using machine learning capabilities to automate routine approvals and requests. Not only does this give managers more time for higher value-added activities, it also improves the employee experience by letting people have real-time visibility into schedules, time off requests and approvals, and all of their other personal information like accrued vacation time.
Workforce Dimensions also takes on the concept of workforce management for the salaried workforce. In yet another example of rethinking, this is not just the same hourly timecard served up to a new audience. It’s a unique experience focused on tracking time against projects and tracking and managing absence.
I’ve been talking quite a bit recently about the war for the platform, being fought on two fronts. One which I call the “little p” Platform, meaning the IT infrastructure on which a solution runs, and the “Big P” platform, which is often used interchangeably with the user experience layer. Workforce Dimensions is clearly a play for the little p platform, bringing new capabilities to workforce management, not just a “lift and shift” of current process (though it should be noted that there is 90%+ feature parity between the current release of Workforce Ready and Workforce Dimensions – which will likely aid in user adoption, but will likely be a long transition period for current customers who just upgraded to the latest release). It is also built to connect, with APIs that support customers building their own apps, or integration to third parties.
There are many more features and characteristics that I’m sure will be well covered by press and my fellow analysts, and by me in future blogs. But the one I think is most critical, and is the biggest departure from business as usual, is the focus on openness. In my blog after HR Tech, I wondered if changing how the HCM ecosystem worked together was the next big thing, as opposed to a new product or feature. This may be one of the opening moves and that revolutionary evolution of our industry.