Workday adds time-tracking module to cloud HCM software

The functionality is part of Workday's 17th release

Workday is expanding its cloud-based human resources and financial applications' footprint with a new employee time-tracking module, the company announced Tuesday.

The new capabilities come as part of the SaaS (software as a service) vendor's 17th release. Dubbed Workday Time Tracking, the module gives enterprises the ability to use "a single application to collect, process, and manage time and labor for their global workforce," Workday said in a statement.

It incorporates a calendar-style interface through which employees can submit information about their hours, as well as a "real-time calculation engine" that targets "critical data," such as overtime hours, Workday said.

Workday listed a number of customers that are already using the module, including Thomson Reuters, which has about 60,000 employees.

It wasn't immediately clear what the new feature means for Workday's existing partnerships with the likes of Kronos, which had already integrated its time-tracking software with Workday's core applications.

Workday "has a lot of partnerships in place," said HR software analyst Naomi Bloom, managing partner of the consulting firm Bloom & Wallace. "I think it's fair to assume that over time, there will be a pattern of buildout from Workday that goes up against and overlaps with what some of those partners do."

In any event, a vendor such as Kronos has capabilities that go deeper into various areas of workforce scheduling, Bloom said. "Workday may choose to never go that far."

There will also always be room for industry-specific workforce scheduling applications from third parties, Bloom said.

That said, Workday's initial time-tracking software release "is powerful, and very much responding to customer need," Bloom said. "It certainly is not intended to completely replace what people do with a Kronos, but there will be situations where were what would have been a Kronos deal will be a Workday time and attendance deal."

Workday customers who choose to use the vendor's time-tracking software over a third party will gain a key advantage, Bloom said. "Now you have, all under one object model, the time data to be used for analytics. [You] can start doing an awful lot more financial planning and workforce planning in the larger sense. Not 'what am I doing on Tuesday,' but 'how many engineers are am I going to need next month?'"

While Workday's time-tracking module may provide tighter integration with its other applications than a third-party product can, Workday customers will have to buy it separately. Pricing information wasn't immediately available on Monday.

It makes sense for Workday to offer time-tracking separately, given that customers may already be using a third-party product, or are "heavily white-collar" with predominantly salaried employees, and therefore don't need such an application, Bloom said.

Other new features in Workday 17 include a refreshed user interface for iOS devices, along with an HTML5 version for cross-platform mobile access.

Workers can now look at data about their compensation on iPhone or iPads with a new "mobile payslips" service, while a new "employee timeline" feature gives iPad users a representation of changes and milestones in their career at their company.

The HCM (human capital management) module's interface has also gotten a makeover aimed at improving usability. Financials, payroll and expenses have also received various improvements.

Workday, which was co-founded by PeopleSoft CEO and founder Dave Duffield, has been raising its profile steadily in recent years, landing big deals, adding features that help it compete for enterprise business with the likes of SAP, and reportedly filing for an IPO last month.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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