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Takeaways from Gartner2019 Market Guide for WFM Applications

The world of workforce management is changing...and it’s an exciting place. We’re now firmly in the realm of WFM 2.0, which is the combination of ..

The world of workforce management is changing...and it’s an exciting place.

We’re now firmly in the realm of WFM 2.0, which is the combination of automating elements of the manager experience, making the employee experience a priority, and creating a flexible workforce. 

This is echoed in the Gartner 2019 Market Guide for Workforce Management Applications report which, we believe, provides an unparalleled insight into the direction the industry is heading, the vendors operating in the market and the expectations businesses have of a WFM solution.

Here’s, in our opinion, three of the key takeaways from the report which you can download in full below:

1. Nearly all WFM solutions will soon be cloud-based

“By 2023, at least 95% of new WFM application sales will leverage cloud-based deployment models.”*

Historically, many larger organizations have wanted full control over their hosting environment, security, data and updates. To this end, they either do this by having an on-premise solution or by establishing their own ‘private clouds,’ which are locally managed while still offering some of the same benefits of a ‘true’ or ‘public cloud’ solution.

The alternative is a multi-tenant environment where the SaaS supplier hosts several (preferably all) customers in one hosting instance (often in partnership with a public cloud provider such as AWS or Azure), with, of course, proper security separating data. The supplier manages all the updates and patches for all customers at once. It’s this set up we call the ‘public cloud.’

Per the report, “Gartner has observed a steady and continued shift from the sale of on-premises WFM applications to cloud-hosted WFM applications. This has given rise to the development of cloud-native WFM applications, for which one of the main characteristics is that the architecture is multitenant.” 

There are two key points to note here. Firstly, if you’re looking for a WFM solution it has to be cloud-based and, ideally, you want to find a vendor who has pioneered a cloud-based approach. Secondly, if you’re still using an on-premise solution then you need to be aware it has a shelf life and you should consider prioritizing moving to the cloud.

2. The need for automation is rising

“By 2025, 40% of large enterprises with hourly-paid workers and variable demand for labor will use automation to drive workforce scheduling decisions.”*

The best WFM solutions are built around the ability to intelligently automate schedules. The ability to create shifts based on employee skills and experience, or even around times of peak demand, with the press of a button, saves businesses time and money while improving efficiency and productivity. They also give businesses the ability to quickly measure, track and even predict absence while making it easy to find cover for shifts and to manage leave applications.

Systems which have scheduling and time reporting integrated with payroll also significantly reduces the margin for error to next to nothing as well as reducing the risk of noncompliance with automatic checks against working time directives and employee contracts, to ensure scheduling is always in line with legal requirements.

Advanced automation like this is a true game-changer and a prerequisite for a successful WFM solution. 

3. Employee experience is integral to a successful WFM strategy 

“By 2025, 75% of large enterprises with hourly-paid workers will have invested in WFM to support employee experience and/or digital workplace initiatives.”*

As said in the report: “Next-generation WFM applications have the potential to transform, augment and disrupt the market by introducing new capabilities to WFM applications.”

These new capabilities include features designed to help businesses improve the employee experience - whether that’s through increased engagement, better communication or improved recognition. You can find out more about the importance of the employee experience in WFM software here.

Thanks to cloud-based software, powerful tech, and a deeper understanding of what businesses and employees want, the best WFM tools will become indispensable to forward-thinking business - whether that’s by facilitating flexible working or developing innovative ways for managers to recognize and communicate with employees.

Download the new Gartner 2020 Market Guide for Workforce Management Applications report to help you find the best workforce management solution for your needs, plan your workforce management strategy and get a detailed insight into the future of the industry.


Access the report


*Gartner, Market Guide for Workforce Management Applications, 26 August 2020, By Sam Grinter, Ron Hanscome, Kelsie Marian, Ranadip Chandra

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally, and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved."

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