The Big Four - what Ceridian did next

Brian Sommer Profile picture for user brianssommer October 14, 2021
2022 could be a good year for Ceridian’s Dayforce customers. The company made four big announcements that address several big customer problems. Here are the details.


Ceridian, a major HR and Payroll cloud solution provider, made four product announcements to its Dayforce products, during its recent user conference in Las Vegas. Most of the new capabilities will become generally available to customers in 2022. Here’s a brief recap of these.

Global Pay

Business Problem: Multi-national employers still struggle with paying employees. Because every country has its own laws, regulations, tax filings, etc., it is functionally difficult for a payroll vendor to embed all of this very unique logic into a single payroll engine/program. The cost to create country-specific payroll systems is not insignificant either and few software vendors will undertake this cost if their customer base does not have a large number of employees in a specific country. As a result, most payroll software vendors only support a few countries with their own solution and rely on local, in-country payroll service/software firms to help them elsewhere. Note: there are approximately 204+ countries and territories globally.

Ceridian Announcement: Ceridian’s Dayforce Payroll product already serves customers in the  US, Canada and other markets. As a consequence of its recent Ascender acquisition, Ceridian will now offer an enhanced Dayforce Payroll that will process payroll in nine more countries (Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand).

It appears that Dayforce is doing a full integration of the Ascender solutions. The Ascender solutions are being overhauled to support Dayforce’s daily pay capability (see below), common integration front-end, UX and more.

With this announcement, Ceridian now supports global pay in over 160 countries. According to a Ceridian press release, the new capability allows:

employers to navigate their international workforces through one consolidated system, including country-specific details down to the employee level.

HR Service Delivery

Business Problem: HR departments are frequently swamped with questions from employees. In October in the U.S., employees want answers about their benefits when their annual enrolment period opens up. Every time there is a surge in hiring (e.g., due to seasonal hiring needs, new product rollouts, etc.), HR’s phone lines heat up with new hires needing help with insurance enrolment, tax withholding documentation, retirement plan enrolment questions and more.

All of these emails and calls require an HR professional to take time researching the issue, preparing a response and communicating the answer to the employee. Employees might like the personal touch but they don’t like the time delays involved in getting answers. We all hate getting far into an online transaction only to get stopped dead by some question. Employees want real-time answers and less friction.

Ceridian Announcement: Ceridian is making a new AI/ML toolset (i.e., Dayforce Intelligent Search) available that permits employees to get answers to questions via a search tool. This tool returns more than static data found in policy manuals. It can also provide employees with vacation time available and other personalized answers. This information will be delivered via mobile devices, email and collaboration software.

To ensure the system continues to improve and remain relevant, the AI component will monitor the kinds of queries employees are placing. This insight allows HR to see where there are response gaps, expand the system’s knowledge base and improve its usefulness to employees.

Daily Pay

Business Problem: The pandemic caused some families to lose one or more wage-earners’ income or see that income reduced. For these persons, waiting until a pay cycle completed to get access to their wages was a financial hardship. The problem was made worse by the high fees charged by payday loan makers to help these people get access to cash.

Ceridian Announcement: Ceridian announced its Daily Pay product, under the Dayforce Wallet moniker, awhile back. What’s new is that the income can be automatically streamed to an employees’ bank account, retirement accounts, tax entities, etc. every day without an employee making daily requests. This convenience does not trigger an extra cost for either the employer or employee.

According to Ceridian:

Built with compliance at its core, Dayforce Wallet leverages the Dayforce platform’s continuous calculation engine to ensure taxes and other withholdings are managed as part of an accurate and compliant payroll.

Ceridian has signed over 600 customers for Dayforce Wallet with 200+ live. Ceridian counts several large firms as Dayforce Wallet customers. Ceridian also notes that the average Dayforce Wallet user uses it 24 times per month.

Talent Intelligence

Business Problem: Many firms weren’t winning the war for talent before the pandemic and many more are struggling to get needed talent or to fill internal openings well. At the same, workers have far greater economic power and expect firms to either revise their employer/employee value proposition or the employee will seek greener pastures at another firm.

To deal with this, employers need better tools to identify net-new talent and better matching of existing talent to internal positions. To do so, talent acquisition technology needs more smarts so that it identifies or infers what skills a candidate possess regardless of what their resume or HR master file record reports.

Ceridian Announcement: Ceridian will release an AI-powered set of talent management tools. According to Ceridian, these tools, will be marketed as Talent Intelligence and will:

enable fair, equitable, and efficient talent decision making, while measuring the effectiveness of their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Ceridian adds:

Talent intelligence … uses AI in conjunction with disparate datasets to allow organizations to evaluate data more efficiently, offering targeted matching of people to opportunities for faster and more accurate talent decisions. Talent intelligence can also objectively measure workforce demographics to create actionable insights, while identifying inequity in everything from payroll to promotion opportunities, helping employers create actionable policy changes.

My take

Ceridian continues to morph. The firm, today, bears little resemblance to the payroll service provider it was a few years ago. In a few short years, the company has dramatically expanded the functionality in the Dayforce suite, acquired a number of nice tuck-in technologies (e.g., Excelity, Ideal, Ascender) and successfully converted a significant number of its legacy service bureau customers to the cloud-based Dayforce product. It has also managed to expand its global footprint and go public, too.

While many of the announced product items above won’t be out until 2022, it is still notable compared to the fluff we’ve heard from some of Ceridian’s competitors.

It’s also notable that Dave Ossip, the founder behind Dayforce is still running Ceridian. Sadly, founders have departed/been replaced at a number of Ceridian competitors. When founders get replaced by professional managers, finance types or PE-pet executives, the innovation usually wanes, prices go up, and, market-ware starts to replace real product releases. This bodes well for current Ceridian customers.

A grey colored placeholder image