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Compare Workforce Management Software Systems

This page is managed by
Erin Osterhaus, Market Research Associate
Last updated: December 10, 2014

Workforce management refers to the complex systems and processes used to schedule employees, track workforce time and attendance and manage absences. Given the complexity of scheduling, technology and volume of employees, traditional systems of punching a time card and submitting written requests can be incredibly cumbersome. HR software developers understand organizations’ needs for increased efficiency, reduction in clerical work and streamlined processes to ensure minimal chance for human error. In fact, there are well over 180 different software systems that do just that. For organizations large and small, though, finding the right tool is essential for the successful utilization of their workforce. We’ve written this buyer’s guide to help you review top workforce management systems and determine the right solution for you.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Workforce Management Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape

What Is Workforce Management Software?

Workforce management software solutions automate the full spectrum of processes required to effectively distribute workers and track time/attendance. There are integrated suites available to streamline the process, allowing managers to spend less time filing paperwork and more time ensuring their operations run smoothly and efficiently.

There are also best-of-breed solutions designed specifically to manage the timekeeping needs for a large workforce, often easily integrated with HR management system (HRMS) and payroll systems. With a total workforce management system, the time spent managing time off requests, shift trades and absence tracking is drastically reduced. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) module now offers employees and managers even greater accessibility from anywhere there is an Internet connection.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before reviewing workforce management tools, it’s important to assess what type of buyer you are. We believe that the majority of buyers fit into one of these categories:

Integrated suite buyers. These buyers work for organizations where some of their HR processes have become outdated or disjointed. These buyers therefore require a robust suite of solutions to help manage their many complex tasks, including integrated work scheduling software, payroll applications and absence tracking and management. Integrated buyers may have high turnover among employees or manage numerous shifts of employees across a large organization. Integrated HR suites are the best option to help support a fluctuating workforce with ease, working seamlessly and efficiently with multiple HR applications.

Best-of-breed buyers. These buyers are looking for straightforward ways to specifically enhance their processes. The organization may already have an HR system in place but needs more efficient ways to track time and manage employees’ schedules. These buyers want solutions that help simplify their daily workload, while integrating easily with existing HR systems.

Cost-conscious buyers. These buyers are looking solutions with high functionality to manage processes while keeping costs low. Although there are affordable best-of-breed options that can be deployed on premise, SaaS-based modules may be a good choice. That’s because these Web-based solutions are often available for a monthly fee, making it easier to control spending while enjoying access to the same high level of functionality.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Whether you are looking to update your entire HR suite with an integrated system or deploy a standalone, best-of-breed system, workforce management solutions can help you streamline your operations throughout your organization. By creating more efficient ways to schedule shifts, track time and submit requests, both managers and employees alike can make better use of their working hours. Managers can grant time off, approve shift trades and track absences at the click of a button. And clock in/out functions record time for all hourly employees automatically, and managers are able to view real-time attendance reports for quick reference. Automated systems minimize the margin for error in payroll, drastically reducing the time spent making corrections and issuing new checks. When it comes to creating efficiency and managing time, an outdated, paper-based system simply cannot keep pace given the time demands and complexities of your team.

Market Trends to Understand

Software-as-a-Service. SaaS has changed the way we do HR, providing more wide-scale accessibility to solutions once only available in an on-premise deployment. And given the fact that SaaS solutions are web based, it’s easy for organizations to establish employee self-service portals to post shifts for trade, request time off and view time cards. SaaS offers the highest usability for managers and employees, helping eliminate endless paperwork for both. Although SaaS options offer best practices and allow for configuration, it’s important to note that specific customization options can be limited.

Consolidation. Larger workforce software developers have been acquiring best-of-breed solutions as a means of expanding the breadth of their integrated suites. For buyers, this means increased functionality and integration with the rest of your HR system. Buyers are able to tap into a larger resources, fully automating their processes and maximizing efficiency. On the other hand, best-of-breeds have worked hard to offer competitive alternatives to buyers who aren’t interested in implementing an entirely new system. Be sure to weigh your options carefully to ensure you find the best solution for your needs.

The Vendor Landscape

These types of buyers... Should evaluate these systems...
Best-of-breed buyer Kronos Workforce Central, TimeForce, LaborView
Integrated suite buyer Sage Abra HRMS, Epicor HCM, Omniprise
Cost-conscious buyers OpTime, adiOffice, Ascent Workzone


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