In October 2022, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) notified their customers of end of life (EOL) dates for two of their workforce management solutions: Kronos Cloud (KPC) will be retired on 31st December 2025; On-Premise Workforce Central (WFC) will be retired on 31st March 2027. For Kronos's existing users, this means a necessary choice between moving onto another UKG offering, such as Workforce Dimensions, or to begin the search for a replacement in the wider market.
As with similar cases in the past, any major software solution reaching end of life status could represent a period of significant upheaval for the end users who rely heavily on the solution. This is particularly true of time and attendance solutions which are so naturally woven into the fabric of day to day business functionality.
When major technologies reach the end of their lifespan, it actually puts a great deal of power in the hands of the customer. It is human nature to stick with what we are most comfortable with and this is particularly true of the systems and technology which we use. Projects of digital transformation can often be slow moving and the instinct for many businesses is to play it safe and stick with an outdated solution at the cost of increasing operational efficiency and driving business innovation.
If your existing solution finds itself being phased out, it has a way of forcing your hand, necessitating the need to assess different options. While this undoubtedly may seem daunting, as an end user, the power is very firmly in your hands to dictate the terms of what you require from a solution, to take your requirements to the wider market and find a solution which works for you.
We wanted to take this opportunity to look at the impact on an organisation and its people when a solution reaches an end of life stage. Our guide walks you through some of the key considerations you should keep in mind when assessing a new workforce management solution.
How might end of life products impact you?
Software solutions reaching the end of their lifespan, like this, is more common than you might think. As technology providers expand their portfolios and develop new products, it’s often the case that their most practical avenue is to focus on newer solutions and to retire older software. Maintaining older technologies can be a costly and time-consuming process and suppliers may ultimately feel that resources are better utilised in developing their next generation solutions.
Standard practice is to migrate existing users to a new platform, either free of charge or for an upgrade fee. Whilst this offers some sense of continuity to the customer, software reaching end of life represents a significant change for users and even if an alternative is made immediately available, there’s no guarantee that it will meet the needs of customers.
Whether you are preparing to make a shift to a new solution with an existing provider or preparing to take that first big step into the wider market, it’s important to understand your needs. Be it efficiency, ease of use, integration or security, whatever you and your team put first will determine whether a solution will be suitable moving forward.
What to look for in a Time and Attendance solution
- On premise or cloud - It is important to understand which hosting solution is most appropriate for your organisation. Cloud based services reduce pressure on bandwidth and do away with the need for hefty servers, whereas some organisations may prefer on premise due to specific security requirements. Ultimately, the choice should be yours, rather than one which is dictated by the capabilities of your provider.
- Integration with other systems - Time and attendance solutions exist to make your life easier and one of the best ways they can achieve this is by working seamlessly alongside your existing systems. When sourcing a solution, assess your current setup, what systems does T&A need to work alongside? Are you looking for an individual product or a comprehensive suite? Would you in fact benefit from a time and attendance system which is able to integrate with your HR and Payroll software? If the answer is yes, shop around for a solution which will truly improve your efficiency and will lower your admin burden.
- Easily accessible - How are your employees accessing the system? How are they clocking in? Ensure the way your people are using the system is aligned to the way in which your business works. Depending on your specific requirements, contactless, biometrics, remote clocking or keycards and fobs may be the best solution. The needs of your business take precedence over perceived functionality- for example, in hands on, practical driven work, facial recognition will be preferable over fingerprint scanners, due to built up dirt on worker’s hands. Select a solution that is capable of integrating with any of these, you may not need them all now, but recent times have demonstrated just how quickly requirements can change.
- Reliable hardware - Time & attendance software often work hand in hand with clocking or access control devices. When looking for a new solution, assess if the supplier is offering sturdy and quality hardware that won’t break in or would need to be replaced too often.
- Self Service - What is the end goal of time and attendance for your business? Who will take charge of managing the overall system? Give your people the freedom to take charge of their own working schedules and absence requests but also ensure that your HR team have the power to tackle head on, specific challenges they are facing. A self service portal and the ability for employees to clock in remotely, frees your HR team from the burden of repetitive admin requests.
- How will it support your future growth? - Systems aren’t designed to be used in isolation. The metrics you can gather from your time and attendance solution can greatly assist you in developing your ongoing strategy. When looking for a new system, consider a few key points: Is the solution capable of expanding as your organisation does? Will it have the scalability you need or from day one? Will you be limited in the number of sites or employees that you can onboard onto the system? A system without this capacity for growth will only lead to future headaches once you hit those limitations and ultimately, will necessitate you going out to market once more.
- Ease of use - When looking at handing over control of aspects of scheduling to your people, it’s important to ensure that any system you have in place is easy to use and clearly understandable across your organisation. Don’t mistake complexity for superiority and instead, look for a solution that offers an intuitive user experience and a hassle free journey for your people, you need to get a system in place that actively helps your people and drives productivity, rather than a system that requires an inordinate amount of time to deliver staff training to get to grips with the functionality.
- Proactive alerts -The more comprehensive solutions can offer instantaneous push notifications for anomalies around clocking as well as pushing through updates around sicknesses or planned absences. This allows businesses to be agile when accounting for absences as they need not fear being caught off guard. Ultimately, you should be asking for a system that can provide this extra level of control.
- Is it secure? - An important aspect of any software to consider, regardless of its function, is security. This is never more true when talking about your time and attendance solutions. Any one part of your people management function deals with sensitive data and the integrity of the solutions which you rely upon must be foremost in your mind when going to market. Ask tough questions of potential suppliers regarding the robustness of their security: are they pushing out regular security updates? What is the reputation of the hosting environment?
- Support - When assessing different providers, don’t forget to ask questions about the level of support offered should you need assistance. Can you easily and timely access the support team? Where are they based and what is their level of expertise?
If your existing workforce management solution is reaching its end of life, we suggest you look at all of your options and reassess your current and future needs. This could be the opportunity to undertake a beneficial digital transformation.
If you would like to assess our Advanced Time and Attendance Software and our Workforce Management Solutions, please get in touch to start a conversation or request a demo. We hope to speak with you soon.