Kronos Workforce Central vs ADP Workforce Now: an objective comparison

Founded in 1949, ADP (Automatic Data Processing) is the longest-standing payroll and HR technology company showing, if nothing else, that the basic principles of HRMS software are hardly a new concept. However, Kronos is certainly a level competitor.

Founded in 1977, the first iteration of Kronos’ Workforce HR suite was launched in 2001. The following issues are worth bearing in mind when deciding which of these providers best suit your HRMS needs…

Company size and industry

With a 6% share of the global HCM market, ADP provides people services in over 100 countries to 650,000 users. The company offers products tailored to the needs of businesses of all sizes, from micro-businesses to multinational giants. The Workforce Now package is aimed at those with anywhere between 50-1000 employees.

Kronos is also a global player, employing 5,000 people in 70 offices worldwide, and serving the people process needs of some 30,000 companies (22,000 of them via the cloud). With a 5% market share, Kronos is on the same playing field and both companies regularly feature in global top ten provider lists.


Kronos is proud of its product’s customizability, stating that the product you buy will be, “purpose-built for your industry.” The standard Workforce Central package includes an HR database, payroll functionality, time and attendance, absence management, workforce scheduling, talent acquisition/recruitment, and even performance management. Additional features include a package of compliance and reporting/analytical tools that offer insight into labor demands, worker availability and organization-wide scheduling.

Compare Kronos and ADP with more HRMS products with this free online comparison tool

ADP’s product offers HR automation, “from recruitment to retirement.” The standard HR features include time and attendance, talent management, payroll, and of course, the underpinning HR database. Under the heading of benefits management, users can access a benefit plan creation wizard, configurable to the on-boarding processes of the client company. Real-time analytics can be presented via customized spreadsheets, graphs, charts, and reports.


While both companies offer their products via the cloud, Kronos can also be installed on-premises. That said, it’s the cloud deployment that is most popular, offering anytime-anywhere access, including via mobile devices. ADP’s cloud package is back by the company’s 18 years’ experience in cloud computing and offers mobile apps for both iOS and Android.

Both companies’ approach to pricing is quote-based; i.e. you contact them with your details for a tailored price based on your specific organizational needs.


Kronos offers four standard support packages with an ascending cost: the Gold, Gold Plus, Platinum, and Platinum Plus. All include office hours telephone support plus a wealth of online resources, including e-learning, quick tips, brown bag seminars, and case studies. The more advanced packages add options such as 24/7 phone support, access to specialists, and technical account managers.

The ADP Workforce Now HR Assist package is available by subscription and includes an HR helpdesk (phone or email), a library of HR forms and compliance information, and an employee handbook creation wizard. As part of their specialist advice programme, ADP customers have the option of various professional services and expertise, verging on full consultancy, in the areas of HR strategy, compliance, and even outsourced administration of payroll, time and attendance, and benefits.

Ultimately, your choice depends on your specific needs, though ADP’s wizard tools may tip the balance for companies at the smaller end of the medium-sized category. Either way, both ADP and Kronos are well-established leaders in global HR management.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall