WorkForce Software CEO: Selecting Oracle Cloud Was A “No-Brainer”

By Joe Tsidulko, OracleMarch 18, 2021
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After a decade delivering its popular labor management solution from colocation facilities, WorkForce Software decided last year to go all-in on public cloud.

The Software-as-a-Service vendor had spent five years laying the foundation for a migration out of its data centers, and already deployed some workloads serving Asia-Pacific customers on Azure. But Microsoft’s cloud “just wasn’t delivering the performance for us,” WorkForce Software CEO, Mike Morini told Oracle Senior Vice President, Dave Profozich in an Oracle Customer Spotlight Series discussion.

The Michigan-based company evaluated the alternatives, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Then WorkForce Software looked at Oracle, a company it had a long-standing relationship with as the provider of its core database platform.

The cloud infrastructure decision became clear, Morini said.

Unlike those other cloud platforms, Oracle promised simplicity and consistency in billing across geographies—essential to a company providing tools to customers managing hourly staff around the globe.

“A lot of folks have played games with regional pricing,” Morini told Profozich. “You guys were clean out of the gate on that.”

A proof of concept later validated the decision by showing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) was capable of delivering an immediate 30 to 35 percent spend reduction—about 20 percent savings over colocation centers, and 50 to 70 percent over its other public cloud provider.

The predictability of Oracle’s billing structure, combined with savings and technology that delivered the performance, reliability and scalability needed to power its data-intensive applications, “just made too much sense,” he said.

The lift-and-shift migration began as WorkForce Software, in business more than 20 years, saw its market exploding; deals were getting bigger and more global, like one managing workers at more than 100 Procter & Gamble manufacturing facilities in multiple countries. Even with companies sending employees home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the labor management vendor saw a 135 percent year-over-year surge in bookings.

WorkForce Software’s CEO, a former NFL free agent who took the helm of the company five years ago, said people would be surprised by the complexity at play when scheduling and paying employees—and that was before the pandemic added another layer of regulations that differ for every municipality.

Some unexpected provisions include increased pay for working during a full moon, or above a certain altitude (80 feet for some trades). There are even pay disparities for what kinds of mushrooms agricultural laborers pick.

Clauses like those can result in a simple timesheet involving 140 steps to calculate a wage, Morini said. And they change with every new collective bargaining negotiation.

WorkForce sees a cloud migration as essential to delivering the cutting-edge technologies that can continually meet those evolving needs, he said.

The company has turned to machine learning to develop new capabilities like a Universal Scheduling component it will release in the coming months for automating scheduling of the right employee at the right location.

Another ML-powered feature, labor forecasting, can predict staffing needs based on historic trends.

And to help tackle the most-pressing challenge for many companies at the moment, WorkForce has integrated intelligent chatbots into the suite to help them operate safely during the pandemic. The “health check” function pings employees on their phones to ensure they don’t have Covid-19 symptoms before reporting to their jobs.

When WorkForce Software did its proof of concept in Oracle Cloud, running time sheets and payroll for a single customer with more than 20,000 employees, the company expected an uptick in performance.

What it got was so much more, Morini said.

Without any fine-tuning, WorkForce Software saw a 30 percent performance spike. And adding to the “super-charged platform performance,” Morini said, WorkForce Software benefitted from superior security, availability and scalability.

And the cloud migration allowed the company to finally reduce capital expenditures. With the variable compute and storage capabilities of Oracle’s cloud, WorkForce Software no longer had to add hardware every time a customer increased demand.

With the global push in accelerating digital transformation, “we needed that capacity from you guys,” Morini said.

“We saw technology and we saw predictability in the numbers and that kind of made it a no brainer.”

By the first quarter of 2022, he said, WorkForce Software hopes to be entirely out of its colocations and serving all its customers from OCI.

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