Introducing the New Workforce Ready-Kronos’ Cloud Offering for SMBs

Kronos is one of the most important players in the human resources (HR) software market, with a global presence (serving 100+ countries), $820 million (USD) in annual revenue, more than 3,500 employees, and 30+ million users worldwide.

Until recently, the vendor had mostly focused on large enterprises, with its flagship product, the Kronos Workforce Central suite. This changed with the recent acquisition of SaaShr, a software-as-a-service provider specializing in workforce management for small to medium businesses (SMBs).

The solution has been rebranded as Kronos Workforce Ready, and I had the opportunity to learn more about it from Bob DelPonte, product line director for Workforce Ready. Here’s what I found out, along with my commentary on the new solution.

Why Workforce Ready?

Kronos has been traditionally targeting companies with at least 1,000 employees, but it recently started looking for ways to address the workforce management needs of SMBs. With an acquisition being the likely option, the vendor was pleasantly surprised to discover SaaShr, a pure SaaS provider with only 60 employees but with a robust product and more than 4,800 unique customers. Though SaaShr was so successful, it was relatively unknown in the market because the company sold the solution exclusively through partners and most of these white labeled the product. Most of SaaShr‘s 150+ active partners target companies with up to 100 employees, while Kronos targets those with more than 100 employees with its Workforce Ready offering.

What Does Workforce Ready Bring to SMBs?

First of all, the modules of Workforce Ready address all the workforce management needs of an SMB: time and attendance, payroll management, HR, and self-service for employees and managers. Depending on the needs of the customer, any combination of these modules can be delivered.

The solution is pure SaaS, with a single database and application server, making deployment and upgrades easier, the latter of which will be provided automatically every 3 or 4 months. Pricing is also flexible, depending on the modules used by the customer, with no long-term commitment required—customers are charged a relatively low configuration fee.

Here are some features that differentiate Workforce Ready from other workforce management solutions:

  • A single database for reduced complexity in managing data integration and user training

  • Real-time transactions—as opposed to traditional payroll systems, where batch processing doesn’t allow users to use the information right away

  • Payroll functionality is compliant with rules and regulations of all US states (not yet available for Canada though)

  • Flexible ad-hoc reporting capability, which users can use to drag and drop, group and sort, etc.

A mobile version of the solution (see image below) is also available for no additional fee. It is compatible with iOs and Android operating systems and can be used on smartphones and tablets.


Kronos intends to bring enhancements to features for salary planning, performance management, scheduling (either job or skill based), etc. The vendor will also launch a marketplace for applications that will bring additional functionality, which will be created by Kronos, its partners, or third parties.

Analyst Commentary

SMBs have traditionally been used to either buying HR solutions that offered more functionality than they actually needed, which also made these solutions more expensive and not easy to use and maintain, or using several tools for various needs (e.g., payroll, attendance, etc), which made integration and data transfer a big issue. This is compounded by the fact that these solutions are sometimes delivered in the cloud, and oftentimes on premises.

According to the CarrerBuilder 2012 US Job Forecast, 20% of SMBs with 50 to 250 employees intend to add full-time employees in 2012, and 21% of the companies with 250 to 500 employees have similar plans. As SMBs intend to go on hiring spree but don’t always have the right tools to manage existing or new employees, they would be well served by a solution that provides not only robust functionality but also flexibility in deployment and pricing.
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