Insights from Ceridian Insights 2017

The timing of Ceridian Insights 2017 was interesting. I had recently been interviewed by Canada’s The Globe & Mail re: Ceridian.  The focus of that interview followed the history of Ceridian. The reporter and I discussed the transformation that Ceridian has undergone since David Ossip took the helm several years ago.

Ossip replayed much of that history to the conference attendees. The main themes in this narrative were that Ceridian:

  • Acquired Dayforce, a new multi-tenant cloud HR solution, as a way to modernize the technology used by Ceridian customers
  • Sold off several product lines to avoid R&D dilution, to lighten their debt service load and to focus on products with a long market runway
  • Created a new culture that focused heavily on customer satisfaction
  • Would rapidly transition existing customers from service bureau offerings to new Dayforce and PowerPay cloud offerings while also taking away customers from other payroll service bureau and HRMS software providers

Most software companies are “one and done” phenomena.  They create some interesting product(s), enjoy some market success and then are finished. Sure, they may get bought and sold a time or two and the management might get switched out with increasing frequency but it’s rare for these firms to ever surpass their prior glory days. It’s precisely this phenomenon that makes Ceridian interesting as it’s breaking the pattern. The new Ceridian is not only dissimilar from the old Ceridian/Control Data, it may become bigger and more successful than its prior incarnation.

But, let’s temper that thought for now.  ADP, a Ceridian competitor, is trying to match some of Ceridian’s new product and service developments. Workday, SAP and Oracle all offer more than just HCM solutions with major product line extensions in Finance, Supply Chain, etc. to cross-sell. It’s a competitive HCM space, for sure, and Ceridian will have to earn its way into deals, one prospect at a time.

Prospects? What were they thinking?

I love shows where the vendor allows industry analysts a free rein. I learn a lot by speaking to customers and prospects. Ceridian makes it easy to do this by ecolor-coding the name badges for us.

I shamelessly buttonholed about two dozen or so customers and prospects. I asked them questions like:

  • How they liked Ceridian
  • What products they were running away from
  • What other products they were considering

Not one customer or prospect really had anything negative to report.

Five years ago, Dayforce was missing a lot of critical functionality. Today, the product line holes are considerably smaller in nature. One customer is still waiting for Dayforce software to produce a (U.S.) EEO-4 report and another indicated that their Dayforce implementation took a bit longer than Ceridian estimated but that was, according to the customer, the customer’s own organization and political fault.  Otherwise, I just couldn’t get anyone to really dish out some big dirt.

Many prospects included firms that had outgrown their current solutions. Some were looking for an all-in-one HCM/Payroll suite.  I sensed many of these wanted solutions that were always current technically and from a compliance/regulatory perspective.

What apparently sold/sells these prospects is Ceridian XOXOX program and related implementation/ support activities. Software buyers like vendors that don’t start billing the subscription service until AFTER the customer goes live. This is something most Ceridian competitors don’t offer.

Prospects also like dealing with ONE firm for both the software and implementation. Customers have been burned too many times by vendors that turn over implementation activities to third parties whose interests may not necessarily be aligned with those of the customer or the vendor. Ossip also referenced an analyst report showing that Dayforce implementations averaged a return on investment in 8 months with competitor products taking something closer to 27 months.

Ceridian Insights 2017
Ceridian implementation – designed to achieve fast time to value

The prospects I met this year included a lot more net-new potential customers than firms considering a move from the legacy service bureau solutions to Dayforce.  Ossip pointed out that the majority of the company’s revenues are now cloud based with 2,700+ customers live on Dayforce.  This shift in prospective customers may be indicative of just how many older customers have already made the transition to Dayforce.

Integration & configuration

HR systems in larger firms can have 100 or so integration points. They must connect to financial systems, benefits providers, 401K plans, insurance firms, operational systems, time tracking technology, one-off HR software products and many, many more solutions.

The creation and maintenance of these integrations is time-consuming and expensive for HR and IT departments. Worse, these integrations frequently change and require a lot of maintenance.

Dayforce Link got some conference love. It’s a tool that’s designed to take a lot of integration headaches away especially for more common integrations.

Another headache cure Ceridian touted was it Validation Dashboard. Dayforce customers see the results of over 400 automatic configuration audits. These audits detect configuration errors during implementations.

Microsoft at a Ceridian event

A Microsoft executive was on-hand to take the big stage with Ossip to announce Ceridian’s global payroll alliance with Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 product line. This deal enables Microsoft Dynamics partners an opportunity to use a single payroll interface for their customers. Dynamics 365 users (or channel partners) don’t need to know all of the country-specific fields needed to calculate payroll in many of the most populous countries globally. Ceridian will take the interface outputs that it needs for a specific country and either complete the payroll calculations itself or utilize its network of payroll providers.  Readers should note that the UK Payroll sub-name with Global Payroll refers to Ceridian’s new native UK payroll capability.

Microsoft Azure will also play a role in this international expansion.

Other product news

Ceridian announced several new product launches and related events. In the learning area, Ceridian is partnering with LMS vendor Docebo. I’ve covered Docebo previously and their approach to learning is intriguing. This relationship should be beneficial to both parties and quickly accretive to users.

A Compensation Management module was also launched. Given the variety of compensation planning methods in-use today by corporations, I’d expect to see this tool continue to morph over time to accommodate more and more nuances. Compensation management is always tough as HR is trying to control costs while retaining best talent. These tools need to consider the compensation that competitors are offering in all of the labor markets and geographies where they have staff. Oh, and let’s make it even tougher by expecting a tool will be able to handle:

  • all of those nuances where your job descriptions are different than competitors
  • situations where some people need their payrate to catch up to missed raises in down years
  • relocation/ cost of living adjustments and other factors.

Predictive analytics and AI were also showcased.

In my opinion, Ceridian, like most of its competitors, is still a ways from being a provider of killer predictive analytics. The enterprise software industry is choking on over-promised but under-delivered predictive analytic capabilities. Most software firms are lucky to field a dozen analytic applications/applets as they’ve learned these take time to develop, often take a lot of personalization for the customer and don’t scale well.  So, I’d put Ceridian right there with its competitors in being in the early stage of this capability.

Likewise, when Ceridian offered up their (obligatory) Alexa demo, it was all question/response mode. While I’ll give Ceridian credit for offering up a teaser demo that was lengthy, entertaining and far-ranging in the kinds of content served up, it wasn’t all that anticipatory in its answers and guidance like I’ve seen from firms like Aera Technology.  This will likely take years for them (and all of their competitors) to develop fully (see the Alexa commentary in this piece I penned for HR Technology Conference this month).

My take

Growing up, we had a dog that always knew when our car or pickup turned off the highway and got on the gravel road to the ranch. Like that dog, I can always spot when a vendor or a product line hits a major maturation point.

Ceridian’s approaching one of these now. The Dayforce product line is a very mature and complete HCM suite with more goodies coming. The company’s customers are converting over to the cloud-based Dayforce solution in volumes that many old-school ERP vendors will envy. Ceridian management has been executing on a strict timetable to remake the company, its solution set, its culture, its development team and more. And, just as important, Ceridian’s owners, a private equity firm are seeing a realistic opportunity for a liquidity event.

When I spoke with The Globe and Mail reporter weeks ago, I said that I expected some kind of material change of control to occur in 2018 for Ceridian.  It’s the highway to gravel road sensation I’m sensing.

Think about it. After all of this change, what would be the next chapter for Ceridian? Another firm would consider building out other back office applications. Or, will they build out more local in-country payroll solutions for other parts of the world? That makes sense if they intend to dramatically grow their non-U.S./non-Canada sales efforts. Whatever the answer, the company will need to pivot to a new long-term vision. What that vision is, I don’t know. Management is either keeping this close to the vest or isn’t thinking that far out. I know if I were Ossip, I’d be thinking about monetizing my success with this turnaround and taking a nice long vacation.

While all that’s interesting to ponder, it takes away from the following reality: Ceridian has moved heaven and earth to make Dayforce a successful, robust solution and has done so in record time.

One final thought: Ceridian’s Insight conference occurred immediately after the worst mass-shooting in American history. Being in Las Vegas was surreal and somber. It’s not the mood one associates with a user conference where parties, after-parties and bombastic showmanship are the usual order of the day.  When I arrived at the conference hotel, you could hear birds, the wind blowing, etc. outside. The Vegas Strip was eerily quiet, almost respectful.

The Ceridian Insights 2017 user conference opened, interestingly enough, with the CEO of MGM Resorts. He thanked everyone for attending and not cancelling. And, he was correct. To have done otherwise would have been to submit to the terror caused by that shooter. Only 23 of the several thousand attendees cancelled.  Since that shooting, Las Vegas tourism has changed – my heart still goes out for the dozens killed and hundreds wounded there.

[“Source-diginomica”]

Elon Musk’s New Plan: Travel from New Delhi to Tokyo in 30 Minutes

Elon Musk’s New Plan: Travel from New Delhi to Tokyo in 30 Minutes

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Elon Musk unveiled ambitious plans Friday to send cargo ships to Mars
  • He showed to use rockets to carry people between Earth’s major cities
  • A trip from Tokyo to Delhi would take just 30 minutes

Elon Musk on Friday unveiled his ambitious plan to send cargo ships to Mars in five years, as part of SpaceX’s efforts to make sure its rockets are financially feasible. The futurist said the company’s planned interplanetary transport system, codenamed BFR (Big Fucking Rocket), would be shrunk in size so that it can carry out a host of tasks that would help pay for future Mars mission. But Elon Musk isn’t stopping there, as he also plans to use rockets to transport people between major cities on Earth in less than half an hour.

“The most important thing… is that I think we have figured out how to pay for (BFR),” Musk told a packed auditorium at a global gathering of space experts in Adelaide. “Which is to have a smaller vehicle, it’s still pretty big, but one that can… do everything that’s needed in the greater Earth orbit activity.”

 

Elon Musk Mars mission

Elon Musk said SpaceX had starting building the system, with the construction of the first ship to start in six to nine months. “I feel fairly confident that we can complete the ship and launch in about five years,” he added.

At least two cargo ships would land on the Red Planet in 2022, with the key mission of finding the best source of water — currently mooted as a way to power rockets, he said. The rockets would place power, mining and life-support infrastructure on Mars to support future missions, with four ships set to take people, equipment and supplies to the planet in 2024. The trips would be funded by a range of activities, including launching satellites, servicing the space station and lunar missions, he said.

Elon Musk’s plan to reduce travel time between major cities

Elon Musk added that the rockets should also cater to Earth inhabitants by reducing the travel between major cities to less than half-an-hour. A trip from Bangkok to Dubai would take 27 minutes, and from Tokyo to Delhi in 30 minutes, according to his calculations.

“Once you are out of the atmosphere, it would be as smooth as silk, no turbulence, nothing,” he said. “There’s no weather… and you can get to most long-distance places in less than half-an-hour. If we are building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on Earth as well.”

The week-long annual International Astronautical Congress, which concluded Friday, has seen government space agencies and private firms outline their plans to send humans to the Moon and Mars in the next few decades.

This included an agreement between Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA to work on the first lunar space station as part of a programme called the Deep Space Gateway.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Infected apps are secretly stealing money from millions of people

android

A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016 / REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

‘All of this illicit activity takes place without the victim’s knowledge’

Malware that secretly charges users for fake services has been downloaded by millions of people, a new report says.

“ExpensiveWall”, software designed to cheat users out of their money without them realising, was hidden in at least 50 apps in the Google Play store. A list of apps can be found further down this page.

According to the Check Point researchers who discovered it, ExpensiveWall has been downloaded between one million and 4.2 million times.

“The malware registers victims to premium services without their knowledge and sends fraudulent premium SMS messages, charging their accounts for fake services,” the researchers said.

“In some cases, the SMS activity takes place without giving the user any notice. In other cases, the malware presents the user with a button called ‘Continue’, and once the user clicks the button, the malware sends a premium SMS on [their] behalf.”

A number of people who installed ExpensiveWall-infected apps tried to warn other users off downloading them by leaving negative reviews on Google Play. Some of these read:

“The comments indicate that the app is promoted on several social networks including Instagram, which might explain how it came to be downloaded so many times,” said Check Point.

The ExpensiveWall apps were reported to Google on 7 August and removed from the Play store.

However, Check Point says more infected apps were made available to download on Google Play “within days”. These were taken down four days later.

The ExpensiveWall apps requested a number of permissions from users after being downloaded, including internet and SMS access.

These are fairly common permissions that most users wouldn’t think twice about granting, but allowed ExpensiveWall to operate.

However, Check Point says it could have caused a lot more damage.

“While ExpensiveWall is currently designed only to generate profit from its victims, a similar malware could be easily modified to use the same infrastructure in order to capture pictures, record audio, and even steal sensitive data and send the data to a command and control (C&C) server,” it said.

“Since the malware is capable of operating silently, all of this illicit activity takes place without the victim’s knowledge, turning it into the ultimate spying tool.”

Check Point says ExpensiveWall is a new variant of a malware found on Google Play earlier this year by McAfee, and says “the entire malware family” has been downloaded between 5.9 million and 21.1 million times.

If you downloaded an ExpensiveWall-infected app, you should delete it immediately. Check Point has listed the following apps online:

  • I Love Fliter
  • Tool Box Pro
  • X WALLPAPER
  • Horoscope
  • X Wallpaper Pro
  • Beautiful Camera
  • Color Camera
  • Love Photo
  • Tide Camera
  • Charming Camera
  • Horoscope
  • DIY Your Screen
  • Ringtone
  • ดวง 12 ราศี Lite
  • Safe locker
  • Wifi Booster
  • Cool Desktop
  • useful cube
  • Tool Box Pro
  • Useful Desktop
  • ดวง 12 ราศี Lite
  • Horoscope2.0
  • Yes Star
  • Shiny Camera
  • Simple Camera
  • Smiling Camera
  • Universal Camera
  • Amazing Toolbox
  • Easy capture
  • Memory Doctor
  • Tool Box Pro
  • Reborn Beauty
  • Joy Photo
  • Fancy Camera
  • Amazing Photo
  • Amazing Camera
  • Super Wallpaper
  • DD Player
  • Fascinating Camera
  • Universal Camera
  • Cream Camera
  • Looking Camera
  • DD Weather
  • Global Weather
  • Love Fitness
  • Pretty Pictures
  • Cool Wallpapers
  • Beauty Camera
  • Love locker
  • Real Star
  • Magic Camera
  • Wonder Camera
  • Funny Camera
  • Easy Camera
  • Smart Keyboard
  • Travel Camera
  • Photo Warp
  • Lovely Wallpaper
  • Lattice Camera
  • Quick Charger
  • Up Camera
  • Photo Power
  • HDwallpaper
  • Wonderful Games
  • BI File Manager
  • Wallpapers HD
  • Beautiful Video-Edit your Memory
  • Wonderful Cam
  • useful cube
  • Ringtone
  • Exciting Games
  • Replica Adventure
  • GG Player
  • Love Camera
  • Oneshot Beautify
  • Pretty Camera
  • CuteCamera
  • Cartoon Camera-stylish, clean
  • Art Camera
  • Amazing Video
  • Fine Photo
  • Infinity safe
  • Magical Horoscope
  • Toolbox
  • Cute Belle
  • CartoonWallpaper
  • Ringtone
  • Best Camera
  • Colorful Locker
  • Light Keyboard
  • Safe Privacy
  • Enjoy Wallpaper
  • File Manager
  • Fancy locker
  • Cute Puzzle
  • Smile Keyboard
  • Vitality Camera
  • Lock Now
  • Fancy Camera
  • Useful Camera
  • Vitality Camera
  • Sec Transfer
  • Lock Now
  • Magic Filter
  • Funny Video
  • Amazing Gamebox
  • Super locker
  • Music Player

[“Source-independent”]

Getting Better Analytics And Insights From Your Collected Customer Data

Data collection and analytics are tightly coupled. The mistake we see made over and over again is that companies tend to focus their customer data collection efforts with a single objective (or a single program) in mind. This treats the data collected as a short-term objective, not as a long-term asset. Over time, this results in data islands that eventually “go dark” given that no one is managing customer data as part of an explicit long-term effort.

Have A Long-Term Data Strategy

When it comes to customer data, a long-term data collection strategy almost always proves critical for any advanced analytical work that leads to meaningful business outcomes that can optimize (i.e., simulation management, condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance and digital twins). Trending analysis, predicting behavior and customer profiling all benefit from long-term data collection strategies. Companies that understand customers’ buying patterns over longer time frames stand to win key insights versus their competitors.

Customer data deserves a data-access-centric strategy to ensure that the data is treated as a reusable asset. This implies that the data should be available to the right people in the company when they need to repurpose it or mine it months or years later. If the data is not findable, threadable (tied to other data sets) or readily accessible, then it’s effectively dark, and its chances of being repurposed are low.

If you are storing your customer data like you store everything else, chances are much of the data you’ve collected from customers has already gone dark. The tendency is to focus on analytical outcomes without preparing the precondition required for the analytics to occur over a longer period of time. If a data strategy for customer information isn’t well-executed, then customer data will reflect the problem you already have in your data center — lots and lots of data sets that represent difficult-to-access data islands.

Thread Your Data

Sophisticated analytical efforts require advanced techniques such as data threading. Threading data across many silos of data is a challenging undertaking. Techniques deployed to achieve threading include (re)ingestion of data, aggregation, parsing, meta data enrichment and indexing. Data is often so extremely siloed that the most efficient first step is simply discovering data islands and recollecting them into an architecture that allows for advanced analytics. The good news is that data capture and storage technologies are relatively cheap, but finding data and then curating it properly does require significant investment.

Customer data needs to be curated and managed as an asset. As more data is collected, it needs to be aggregated with customer data collected during the previous year (or the last campaign, the last payables cycle, etc.).

For example, if a financial institution wants to understand if a customer is approaching a life-changing event such as marriage, having children or purchasing a home, then threading becomes important because it lets you piece together various customer data collection efforts into a single threaded digital dossier. The threaded customer digital dossier allows for different customer data (collected at different points in time) to be accessed for future analytics. It treats customer data as valuable, evergreen and interconnected. A data architecture that allows you to thread and incrementally expand the customer data set is an essential component to making more with your customer data. Advanced analytics, in turn, will allow you make better use of customer data that is properly curated through threading or other data access techniques.

Teamwork

Separating the customer data collection process from the data curation process from data analytics is not a recipe for success. Unfortunately, most companies treat these three activities independent of each other. As a result, customer data is underutilized, undervalued and is not curated as a long-term asset.

The best customer analytics happen when you intersect people who understand the customer data being collected with people who understand how to use and access the data over time. This means that customer data collection efforts need to be discussed in one room with data architecture folks, analytical/data science teams and traditional marketing/customer success teams, ensuring that all have an active voice at the table.

[“Source-forbes”]