Having brought in $40M in funding over the past 18 months, Dayforce is a very well positioned company that will undoubtedly see much prosperity in the coming years. Since 2009, Dayforce has been providing workforce management technology for large and small companies globally, and it now has over 50 employees in Toronto and Atlanta. The company’s founder, President and CEO, David Ossip, is a veteran entrepreneur who has been recognized for his work with numerous awards.
The Dayforce Solution
It has been almost a decade since the last generation of workforce management solutions hit the market. Dayforce was founded by industry veterans who recognized the need for a next-generation technology solution to help organizations plan, deploy and track the workforce in a single application. In 2009, bringing together decades of technology and workforce management leadership, the team launched a current-generation workforce management solution to solve some of the most complex attendance, scheduling and budgeting challenges organizations were facing.
The Dayforce solution is now used by small and large organizations across multiple industries to connect their workforce performance to enterprise performance, enabling them to plan, deploy and track their workforce to achieve corporate goals and become more profitable. Dayforce Workforce Management software addresses many needs, including time and attendance monitoring, labour budgeting, forecasting and scheduling, employee self-service, task management, human resource capabilities, and analytics.
The Entrepreneur: David Ossip
An MBA Harvard Business School graduate, David Ossip is the founder and CEO of Dayforce, winner of numerous accolades including the Microsoft® BlueSky Award for Innovation Excellence, Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ Companies-to-Watch, Human Resource Executive® Top HR Product and Red Herring 100 North America Award.
David has nearly two decades of experience delivering innovative workforce management solutions to clients around the world. Before creating Dayforce, David founded and was the President and CEO of Workbrain, the most widely-deployed workforce management solution for large enterprises and one of North America’s fastest growing companies. Workbrain was acquired for $227 million in 2007. David is also the recipient of many awards for his leadership, including the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Deloitte’s 50 Best Managed Companies Award, and the Kroeger College Award for Management.
View entrepreneurship as a profession, not as a way to get successful quickly.
What was it that caused you to start your business?
I was approached by John Orr, who ran the retail business at Workbrain, where we had a 50% market share of the top retailers across North America. After Workbrain was acquired, John had started a business with Bob Brooks, the founder of TimeCorp (sold to Verifone, sold to HP, sold to Radiant, spun out to Blue Cube, and finally acquired by Red Prairie). In 2006, Workbrain had made a bid to acquire Blue Cube and so I was familiar with Bob’s capabilities and industry knowledge.
John approached me for funding for his business and showed me the prototype product that they were about to take to market. The product was fantastic. It was the wish-list solution that our clients had wanted in our Workbrain years. They had designed the product for the end-users. It was much quicker and simpler to use than anything I had seen in the industry. So instead of investing a few hundred thousand dollars in John’s company, I did a quick raise of $15,000,000 and then did an equity transaction to purchase the assets of John and Bob’s company. I then reached out and on-boarded the top developers, services, support and sales people in the workforce management industry.
Tell us about Dayforce’s solution?
Our mission is to make organizations more profitable. Our workforce management solution allows companies to define the key metrics that drive performance of their workers, depending on their area of specialization. A retailer might choose to focus on sales and wage percent while a manufacturer might select production-volume and man-hours. We then make those metrics central to the planning, scheduling, and tracking of the employees. The solution makes it easy for managers to understand the impact of their decisions on the business. For example, based on the forecasted production volumes or sales levels, the software will suggest how many hours should be scheduled on a particular day, and when in the day the hours should be scheduled.
The solution is easy to use, quick to deploy and cost-effective to scale. We have designed it to be a single, coherent application – not a suite like the competition. Our design makes it easier for organizations to look at all aspects of the business cycle while planning. We offer two options for deployment: organizations can buy our application as a subscription, allowing us to do upgrades through our server, or on-premise, allowing them to host the application on their own.
What makes your solution unique?
When we built the application we had one overriding objective: to reduce the amount of time it takes a manager to build schedules and approve time records by at least 50%. We succeeded in this objective and the savings to our clients are tremendous. Take for example, a 1,000 location retailer. In this is example, we can reduce the amount of time it takes the manager to do their workforce management tasks each week by 2 hours. This means that the manager does not have to schedule another associate to handle client traffic while she is scheduling or approving employee time. If we assume $20/hour, the savings to the client is $40,000 per week or $2,000,000 per year.
How did you build your management team?
Workbrain employed almost 700 people, so I knew a lot of people in Toronto and Atlanta. As I was forming Dayforce, I reached out to Paul Sandusky. Paul was a superstar at Workbrain. He had run services and development. The two of us were laser focused in attracting and building the right team for Dayforce. We did this by personally reaching out to top people in the industry. Each person in our management team has a thorough understanding of workforce management, has at least 10 years of experience, and was hired for a specific functional role. We have the best research and development, services, support and sales team in the industry.
What insights do you have from building and attracting your workforce?
FIT is very important. We look for Fun people – individuals that you want to spend time with. The “I” stands for Intelligence – people that have the willingness and capacity to learn. Lastly the “T” is for team work, players that are prepared to do that task that needs to be done. This is very important because you can’t scale a company with mavericks.
Each person in our management team has a thorough understanding of workforce management, has at least 10 years of experience, and was hired for a specific functional role.
How did you brand your business and market it?
We have two distribution paths: Direct and Channels. We sell directly to the larger organizations and we have a reseller agreement with Ceridian for the small and midsized business market. Ceridian is a top human resource and payroll provider with over a billion dollars in annual revenue and more than 130,000 clients worldwide.
Could you give a brief description of your biggest success so far?
Our goal is to make our clients more profitable. We are most proud of how quickly we have been able to deploy our solution and generate returns for our clients. In the last year, we implemented more than 100,000 user subscriptions.
Other major milestones reached recently
We recently announced the equity/reseller agreement with Ceridian. In the first few weeks of the partnership, we started implementing the solution with more than 20 of their clients. We expect to implement over a hundred solutions with them in the next months.
Do you have plans to expand to new products?
We have a 5 year product road map that will bring additional functionality and product choices to our clients.
What are your goals as an entrepreneur?
To build a great company and have fun doing it.
What is your exit strategy?
We are very well financed and very focused on building the leading workforce management company.
Do you have any other ventures you are working on?
Building a company takes a tremendous amount of effort, so I am 100% focused on Dayforce.
What advice would you give leaders seeking to progress their organization to the next level of growth?
- I would suggest people research their idea. I look at 20-30 opportunities before selecting one. I typically would spend two to three weeks researching the particular opportunity before making a choice.
- You can reduce operational risk with people or money, but never overcome market factors. The market either needs something or doesn’t.
- If you can’t build something that market needs, you can’t succeed. You need to validate that the time and energy spent on the venture will lead somewhere.
- View entrepreneurship as a profession, not as a way to get successful quickly. Learn from a young company, immerse yourself in the early growth stages, and get to know and understand the processes behind it.
What movie or book would you recommend to a young entrepreneur?
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore is especially relevant to an entrepreneur.
You can reduce operational risk with people or money, but never overcome market factors. The market either needs something or doesn’t.
Insights of a Seasoned Entrepreneur: Do Your Research!
By noticing the shortcomings of previous workforce management products, David Ossip found an opportunity to create software that would fulfill a specific market need. By understanding the market thoroughly and putting forth the right resources at the right places, David Ossip fully exploited the market need and has built himself yet another great business. But it is truly his dedication to treating entrepreneurism as a proper profession in of itself that sets him apart.
Visit their website to learn more about Dayforce and their solutions.