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Solving the innovators dilemma…

March 28, 2012

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Clayton Christensen speak about the title theory of his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. The innovator’s dilemma describes the phenomenon where existing technology that’s evolved to meet the needs of high-end, sophisticated customers is undermined by new technology that starts out simply cheaper and less full-featured, but meets the needs of many in the market and then eventually grabs a solid share of the market. Here’s a quick UPS whiteboard explanation:

When I joined Kronos in Y2K, Timekeeper Central (TKC) was our Windows based Time & Attendance solution for the small to medium (SMB) market, and we had thousands of customers very loyal to it. Prior to that, we offered DOS based products from the beginning of the PC era. As the web paradigm grew into a true business platform, the web native Workforce Central became our flagship product and thousands of our TKC customers migrated to it to leverage the web and our growing “workforce management suite” offerings in scheduling, HR, payroll, shopfloor activities management, absence management, and analytics. Many of our customers, especially larger ones, needed more than core Time & Attendance, and we provided it. Still, many SMB customers remained on good old Windows TKC…

As cloud computing and “software as a service” (SaaS) are fast becoming the technology paradigm (along with mobile and “big data”) for software consumption today, we’ve developed cloud services to host and manage Kronos Workforce Central for our customers. The growth of that business has been way up and to the right. Customers just want to use the software and don’t want to mess with servers, databases and application management.  Still, many SMB customers remain on good old Windows TKC…

Over the past few months, we’ve been out shopping for a true SaaS solution for our small to mid-sized customers, and today we’re announcing it with the acquisition of to provide a robust HR, Payroll and Time & Attendance multi-tenant SaaS solution for the SMB market. This is so cool. It’s a game changer for us. Our CEO, Aron Ain said, “Together we have a fantastic opportunity to revolutionize how small and midsize businesses manage their workforce.” It is that and more. As the narrator in the video above noted:

“Out-innovating yourself always beats being out-innovated by someone else.”

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