Ceridian: A Lesson in Discipline

I had the opportunity to attend the Ceridian Insights conference in Las Vegas last week, and I was struck by one theme over and over again from the Ceridian executives, leaders and employees I met. That theme was discipline. From the disciplined approach of their Agile development environment, to the disciplined research CEO David Ossip puts into deciding his product priorities, down to the athletic discipline exemplified by employees and customers in attending early-morning workouts in the Las Vegas heat during the conference.

This discipline is helping Ceridian stay focused on its single platform approach. One of their mantras is “no interfaces” – everything is written from the same database so changes are reflected throughout the system in real time. This is true of their payroll and time and labor solutions, as well as the new modules they are rolling out in talent management, such as recruiting, performance management and succession.

This level of integration is appreciated by many of their clients because it makes real-time views of labor spend possible, eliminates much manual data re-entry, and helps reduce errors. It also allows them a single source of truth for data to power analytics. And speaking of analytics, Ceridian also has impressive dashboarding solutions and plaintext query capabilities that enables better decision-making. And its approach allows them to move quickly. Ossip acknowledges that when he took over, Ceridian had to earn back its credibility in delivering products on time. Under his leadership they have maintained an aggressive release schedule that has brought many customer-driven changes to the products, as well as new modules, in a relatively short period of time.

Now Ceridian is tackling the challenge of taking on best-of-breed solutions in the talent management space. And it remains to be seen if organizations will choose the advantages of an integrated platform over the more detailed functionality of those single-focus competitors. For example, the current release of the recruiting product, which I was able to see at the conference, has strong basic functionality, and seamlessly integrates candidate information into the employee record by simply changing the individual’s employee type. But it is obvious the product still needs to mature into some of the more specialized functionalities that organizations who spent years devoted to recruiting have implemented – such as integrating assessments and providing interview guidance for hiring managers. And some important functionalities, such as importing candidate profiles from existing ATS solutions, is still lacking.

But Ceridian’s disciplined approach is heavily influenced by its user base, and the organization product declares that the vast majority of their product enhancements come from their users’ requests. So if clients demand it, they will build it. This level of responsiveness is impressive, but may keep the organization from leading and innovating within the talent management space if it stays too focused on being responsive.

One thing there is no doubt of is Ceridian’s passion for its products and customers. From the CEO to the product managers through the account reps, deep knowledge of the product and the organization were evident, and passion for the success of the organization and its customers was in great supply. As the solution continues to evolve, and its talent management capabilities mature, Ceridian’s position as a true integrated provider will continue to be enhanced and serve as a foundation for its planned growth.

Mollie Lombardi, Vice President of Workforce Management Practice
and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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