Friday, June 03, 2005

ADP v. Ceridian

I’ve been pretty clear in past posts regarding my preference for ADP over Ceridian. I have also been clear that Ceridian has more robust HR services. The market seems to agree with me, and if I take a guesstimate, 25% of the U.S. Fortune 2000 outsources payroll and/or HR to ADP, and only 5% does so to Ceridian. I’d like to take some time to explain. As a note, I’m talking about ADP Enterprise HRMS and Ceridian HR/PR (formerly eSource).

Facts (really opinions of Dubs)

  1. Ceridian finances are under investigation (and a second link)
  2. Core HR/PR is roughly equal
  3. Ceridian has more/broader HR services and offerings
  4. ADP has a better payroll engine and track record
  5. ADP has better inter-product integration

Point #1 has been established and is well documented in the press. I won’t go into it further here.

Point # 2 is fairly compelling and interesting. The major point here is that if you want HR, you must have payroll and this is true for both vendors. Both bring hosted HRMS solutions to the table which are sufficiently robust for the Fortune 2000 to 5000 market.

Ceridian advantages are

  • a working and easily implemented benefits administration engine, and
  • self service for both employees and managers that can be bought piece-meal
    simpler UI configuration without a toolset.

ADP advantages are

  • better effective date handling,
  • the ability to purchase a non-hosted system
  • better learning management (not LCMS)
  • generally more robust functionality
  • more options on database engines.

Ceridian disadvantages are

  • Microsoft SQL Server as only option limits scalability
  • lack of toolset means there is no MAJOR modification to the system.

ADP disadvantages are

  • Self service is only available if the HRMS is hosted
  • robust benefit eligibility rules are not delivered (think PeopleSoft base benefits).

Point #3 is true if you don’t need integrated HR and Payroll, or if you only need HR. Ceridian offers a relatively decent talent management suite including recruiting, performance, compensation, competencies, succession, and LMS. They fully own the recruiting engine and offer it for pennies. The other functions are from SoftScape through a partnership. I recently wrote about talent management suites and did not include SoftScape in my vendor review. SoftScape is a tier 2 TM suite, so it’s good, but not up to the Fortune 1000 market. ADP can’t touch much this functionality. They do no offer ATS (applicant tracking is in the HRMS), or succession planning. For LMS, performance, compensation and competencies, ADP might be slightly less robust, but these areas are all part of the core HRMS application and do not require additional installs. As a full TM suite, the edge goes to Ceridian.

Point #4 ADP is simply more experienced and has the money to spend on development and compliance. I won’t comment on this further as it’s a gut feel and I don’t have the metrics around it.

Point #5 that ADP has better integration. As per point #3, if you can live with a slightly less robust HCM suite, it’s all in the core app for ADP. If you purchase ADP Self Service (employee and manager), you also get access to other services through their portal technology. So if you have ADP FSA administration, benefits administration, timekeeping, etc… you have a single login for all your ADP services. Ceridian also has good integration, but their SoftScape suite is not connected and self service is not as robust (not a portal based technology).