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By Linda Currey Post | May 2020
The idea that a full moon shining down on the earth’s residents causes them to act crazy became popular back when people still wore togas. While the evidence connecting the phases of the moon with bad behavior on earth is today considered more anecdotal than factual, flight attendants, emergency room workers, and first responders in various locations in the United States have successfully negotiated a celestial form of hazard pay when they work under a full moon.
And that’s when WorkForce Software shines, says CEO Mike Morini. He explains that the company’s popular workforce management software suite operates with a powerful rules engine that makes possible the calculation of employee pay against endless variations of work conditions—and lunar phases, if required.
“We have the flexibility to create unique scenarios like this and help our users calculate the right pay without custom programming,” he says.
In 2019, WorkForce Software carefully evaluated the potential of moving the development, testing, disaster recovery, and production of its software out of its own data centers and into an Oracle Cloud region. After performing comprehensive tests that indicated considerable performance gains—and after calculating significant future cost savings—company execs decided to move to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
“Oracle Cloud ran the application faster than in our data center, which we had been tuning for years to be at its optimal performance. It was stunning, actually.”
As an Oracle partner, WorkForce Software will sell its suite on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to customers whose employees work complicated and changing schedules, making the calculation of their paychecks a highly data-intensive operation. The WorkForce Suite also integrates with Oracle Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM), as well as cloud and on-premise human resource systems from other vendors. So, the reliability and performance of the cloud platform plays an essential role in delivering the service level the company assures its customers.
WorkForce Software’s executive team had long been attracted to the advantages of the cloud, including the ability to deliver updates and the latest applications automatically to users around the world. The company experimented with the cloud by moving a sample workload to another vendor’s platform—but the data intensive calculation was unable to achieve the processing, storage, and network speeds required to meet its customers’ needs. “The architecture most public cloud providers offer does not account for these requirements. And those that do come at a significant price premium,” says Terry Harshfield, the company’s vice president of cloud services.
So Harshfield’s team ran another test on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, working with Oracle to set up a proof of concept. They installed an instance of WorkForce Suite in Oracle Cloud and loaded a dataset reflective of one of its large customers. Then they ran three tests to compare performance between Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, another popular cloud vendor’s platform, and one of WorkForce Software’s own data centers. The tests measured the time it took to calculate 20,000 time sheets of employees who have widely varying schedules and rates of pay.
“We were hoping Oracle Cloud would at least match the performance of our own data center. To our surprise, without any tuning or special measures, Oracle Cloud ran the application faster than in our data center, which we had been tuning for years to be at its optimal performance,” Harshfield says. How much faster? Fully 30%. “It was stunning, actually,” he says.
The dramatic performance improvement offered by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure caused WorkForce Software decision-makers to rethink their company’s larger infrastructure architecture strategy. Instead of supporting physical data centers of its own, or investing in another cloud platform, the company envisioned delivering variable compute and storage capabilities to its customers via Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The ability to add or subtract capacity through the cloud allows the company’s customers to easily calculate employee schedules without having to buy additional hardware. That’s important to keep pace with ongoing changes to labor regulations, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Scheduling Act in the United States, Morini notes.
Oracle is committed to having 36 Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Regions open around the world by the end of 2020. Each is equipped with its own power, cooling, and networks, linked together through low-latency, high-bandwidth connections. WorkForce Software leaders realized that proximity to an Oracle Cloud region will help their customers boost the raw performance of the WorkForce Software suite.
With cost calculations indicating that WorkForce Software will save 20% over maintaining its own centers and nearly 70% over its current public cloud provider, the company has begun a two-year migration to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
Beyond the cost savings, WorkForce Software leaders also liked Oracle’s flat-rate pricing by region. “It’s a huge advantage. Since we have a worldwide footprint, that pricing method offers price predictability for me, which is very important,” Harshfield says.
As WorkForce Software’s technical experts make the switch to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, they have unlimited access to Oracle’s experts. The two teams meet every day to share best practices and lessons learned.
“We’re on a first-name basis. And it’s not like ‘hey, call me when you need help.’ It’s ‘we’re going to come together every day so you can let us know what you need.’ The Oracle team is there to help us be as effective and efficient as we can be on our journey to Oracle Cloud,” Harshfield says.