Faster implementation and upgrades. Reduction in capital expenditures. Less ongoing maintenance for IT. Kronos is publicly touting many of the same benefits for moving to the cloud that every other application out there seems to be.
So, how closely does that glossy picture represent reality?
Our most recent survey, conducted in May of 2016 (2017 survey coming soon!), showed that out of 200+ participants, 34% had made the move to the cloud — and of those, roughly 60% were satisfied with the experience so far.
This is admittedly much higher than satisfaction rates for ERP platforms (we also survey JD Edwards users and Lawson users), but with almost 20% of users either unsatisfied or reserving judgement, it’s far from the rosy picture Kronos has painted.
Kronos on the Cloud: Your Mileage May Vary
In general, the benefits touted most commonly for Kronos in the cloud are that clients will no longer have to worry about security, upgrades, maintenance, service pack installs, or legislative updates.
As a hybrid consulting firm, we often get called in when things go wrong or when a client needs a more heavily customized implementation — but many of our clients are saying they have yet to realize most of those benefits. Specifically, they cite 4 key areas where Kronos has failed to meet their expectations.
- Kronos failed to reduce costs
- They suffer drastic loss of control, and can’t get access to make changes
- Significant and inconvenient downtime has been a problem
- They suffer a number of unexpected costs once they’ve implemented cloud services
Failure to Reduce Costs
Rather than reducing man hours for the in-house team, clients have found they’re simply focusing on different issues. Cases where IT team members were focused exclusively on hardware seem to be the exception, since they no longer have hardware for Kronos to maintain.
One Kronos user in the online Yahoo Group said, “[Cloud has allowed] the I.T. Support team who had supported the hardware side of it to concentrate on other applications. However, I am the application support and it has made my life more difficult.”
Many processes actually take longer, because rather than simply making changes in WIM and deploying them, changes to WIM special look up tables now need to be made in the application itself. Otherwise, the interface needs to be downloaded from the server, moved to the DEV server with a FTP application, worked on and tested, and then moved back to production and deployed to the servers.
Loss of Control
Rather than the cloud making it easier to stay up to date, support teams instead find themselves at the mercy of Kronos to make changes happen. While they have access to the application config and setup screen, they need to reach out to Kronos to change anything that needs a server reboot.
Occasionally, they’ve brought in a new employee or a consultant and been unable to get them access to the system — in one instance, it took four months before a consultant was able to get the necessary permissions.
There have also been some glaring issues with maintenance downtimes. Scheduled maintenance is supposed to be every other month on a certain weekend from Midnight to 6:00am, either Saturday or Sunday morning, and restored before business hours on Monday.
A different member of the Yahoo group than the one quoted above shared, “When we have a system issue, there is no sense of urgency by KGS. We have had the system down on a payroll Monday and it took hours before it was even assigned to anyone. We have had issues with the load balancer, individual servers, and it takes many hours for them to diagnose an issue.”
She went so far as to end her comments with, “Yes, they do upgrades and patches, but everything else considered, I would prefer NOT be on the cloud.”
Unexpected Costs with Kronos Cloud
Unexpected costs are another area of concern. Often, clients find they don’t know what they don’t know until they’re on the SaaS platform; then they find out there are additional fees for things like connectivity to other apps or that change orders quickly balloon overall costs associated with Kronos.
For example, if you run reports from Kronos using Crystal or other apps, there is a monthly fee for the ODBC connection.
Deciding If Kronos Cloud Is A Good Fit For You
Whether or not Kronos on the cloud is a good fit for your organization will likely depend on how you use the system now — how customized it is, how often you have to make updates, how many employees you have in the system, and how many other tools need to integrate with the system.
For a net new implementation where you plan to use the tool mostly as it’s built out of the box, Kronos on the cloud may be a quick and easy way to get up and running. But for more complex uses, it may be worth giving Kronos a little longer to iron out the kinks before making the switch.