Software companies don\u2019t survive \u2013 thrive, in fact \u2013 for nearly 40 years without a strong aptitude for change. Kronos launched in the late 1970s with the first microprocessor-based time clock. In the decades since, the Chelmsford, Mass.-based company has become the leader in workforce management applications, navigating a rapidly changing technology landscape and the transition from startup to public company back to a private entity now generating more than a billion dollars in revenue annually.\nToday, Kronos is successfully evolving to the cloud \u2013 an adaptation that has tripped up other packaged software firms. In this installment of the IDG CEO Interview Series, Kronos\u2019s Aron Ain talked with Chief Content Officer John Gallant about the keys to navigating that cloud migration, including the decision to transition from owing and running cloud data centers to hosting Kronos products with third-parties. Ain discussed how the collective intelligence gleaned by operating in the cloud is helping Kronos customers run their businesses better, and how new analytics capabilities are improving profits and productivity, and making lives better for employees.\n[ Related: Tech Titans Talk: The IDG Enterprise Interview Series ]\nCIO.com: I want to talk about Kronos\u2019s transition to the cloud. When did it begin, what prompted that and where do you stand today?\nKronos CEO Aron Ain: It started seven or eight years ago, and got active four or five years ago. What drove it was our customers. Our customers basically started saying \u2018we want you to manage your application for us. We want you to take responsibility for application management, upgrades, general monitoring to make sure the application is tuned to its highest level.\u2019 At first that came in the form of hosting the application for them and then it turned into being a pure SaaS play. If you break software-as-a-service into its logical components, it\u2019s how you pay for it -- license or subscription -- how you deploy it -- on-premises or hosted -- and how you manage it -- by the company or the vendor. So it transitioned across that continuum in those different dimensions.\n[ Related: Expect big investments as Kronos crosses the $1 billion mark, CEO says ]\nCIO.com: Was it driven largely by the small businesses or your larger customers?\nAin: At that point we were really more of a mid-market company than an SMB company so it was coming from more of the enterprise companies. I would describe it as more of the leading edge CIOs who were driving it. They were under tremendous pressure to do more with less.\nCIO.com: What percentage of the business is cloud-based today?\nAin: For new customers, it\u2019s at 90 percent so people are voting with their purchase orders. As far as our total revenue, it\u2019s a lower percentage because we have lots of existing customers who are still paying us maintenance for an on-premises instance. But when people are buying new products from us -- and new customers in particular -- it\u2019s over 90 percent today.\nThe people who are existing customers who continue to do on-prem, what holds them back from the cloud?\nAin: I don\u2019t think anything holds them back other than what they have is installed and working and they have other priorities. However, what\u2019s happening with increased urgency is as they do an upgrade or as they add new components, new modules, they say, as part of that, let\u2019s switch over to the cloud. [Case in point]: Family Dollar with 75,000 employees, 7,000 stores, long-time Kronos customer. When they wanted to upgrade, they said: \u2018You\u2019ve been talking to us about the cloud. Let\u2019s go do it now. You bring it into your data center.\u2019 Wyndham Hotels, same idea. If they\u2019re not ready to do something new or they\u2019re not looking to buy something new, they\u2019re typically staying where they are.\nCIO.com: You\u2019ve made a transition that a lot of big companies in enterprise software are either just undertaking or struggling with today. What did you learn as someone running a software company making that transition from the license-based, periodic upgrade world to a world of subscription revenue? What were the pain points, what were the lessons learned?\nAin: The thing I learned early on is don\u2019t be too evangelical about saying everyone has to have on-premises license or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Treat your customers the way we would want to be treated and give them a choice and travel this journey with them. That means we offer it both ways. If people still want to buy licenses and pay maintenance we\u2019ll do that. If people want SaaS, we\u2019ll do that. If they want to do something in between, we\u2019ll do that as well. What I\u2019ve learned is if we can be good partners to our customers it will pay big dividends for us. I think what we learned is to use the energy of the decisions that our customers make and follow their lead, follow their path. Tell them the advantages of both ways. We think we can be a better vendor to them if they\u2019re running in the Kronos Cloud because we\u2019re the experts with our product but it doesn\u2019t mean that they can\u2019t do it themselves.\nCIO.com: But it is a challenge to offer all of those options in terms of maintaining them, growing them.\nAin: It\u2019s the same product, though, so [while] it has some challenges it\u2019s not as hard as it seems.\nCIO.com: I guess where I was going with that, Aron, is do you ever envision a point where you would say to customers it\u2019s going to be all cloud from here forward?\nAin: I do. Where it adds additional overhead, which prevents us from maybe investing as much as we want to in our products, is when you also offer an on-premise version for customers who have a particular technology orientation or a technology stack that\u2019s important to them. So there\u2019s the Oracle, the IBM, the Microsoft shops and when you\u2019re running on-premises they want you to support the way they do it, where if we run it in the cloud they don\u2019t ask us what we run. They just want to know that it\u2019s available. I think at some point we\u2019ll only offer it one way. I think that\u2019s accurate, true and that makes sense.\nCIO.com: I want to shift gears a little away from that cloud transition. How is the workforce management market evolving today? What are you seeing in changing customer needs and how is the competitive landscape changing?\nIn the past it really used to be a feature-centric buying decision. What\u2019s changed in the past several years is that things really focused around technology have taken more of a dominant role. Organizations want products that are easy to use, that are self-evident, that minimize the number of clicks to use the product, known by some as user experience (UX), which is translated into exciting user interface. That\u2019s a big change. That whole UX\/UI world has changed significantly.\n[ Related: Workday Adds Time-tracking Module to Cloud HCM Software ]\nSecond, there are new technologies out there in terms of how people interact with the system, mobile being the biggest one. Today, organizations want their employees, they want their managers to be able to access the system not just from a desktop but through their smartphones and their tablets. That\u2019s a big shift. People are managing in the moment, they\u2019re looking for the answers right away. It\u2019s very interactive. Then the whole world of data has led to a whole birthing of new opportunities around analytics, informed decision-making. What we\u2019re able to do today, and what our customers are demanding, is not just give them information but also give them recommendations on what they might do to solve a particular problem.\nThe last thing I\u2019ll say is that we used to sell our products country by country. If we tried to go to a Fortune 50 organization and say we could solve their problems around the world they really weren\u2019t interested in talking to us. They said: \u2018I\u2019m just talking to you about the U.S. or maybe the U.S. and Canada.\u2019 Today, more often than not, they\u2019re coming to us and saying: \u2018We want to talk to you about your product used around the globe.\u2019\nCIO.com: What changes are you seeing in the competitive landscape?\nAin: We no longer have our toughest competitors in the form of cross-vertical ERP companies. Today our most challenging competitors are industry-specific software companies focused on solutions just for healthcare, manufacturing, retail and hospitality or public sector. Oftentimes that\u2019s not about the product. What\u2019s changed is we now are completely vertical. We shifted to this model in the late 2000s and were completely vertical by 2009. That means our sales people, our pre-sales people, our service people, our marketing people, are organized around specific vertical markets, in many cases using a common product.\nCIO.com: Who are your key competitors? Do you consider those to be the full-suite human capital management (HCM) providers?\nAin: It\u2019s different in SMB than enterprise and then it\u2019s different domestic vs. global. In the SMB space, which we define as companies up to 1,000-2,500 employees, it\u2019s a full HCM Suite. [We have] payroll, HR, talent [management], as well as workforce management in its full glory.\nThat\u2019s different from the enterprise. In the enterprise our customers might buy payroll from ADP and HR from Workday and workforce management from Kronos. They tend not to look for a single vendor. They tend to look for the best within the workforce management world, best within the HR world, best within the talent world, etc. So there\u2019s a whole group of competitors in the SMB world, maybe a Paychex or Ultimate Software or an ADP and then a whole series of smaller companies. In the enterprise it might be more an Oracle or an SAP or those kinds of companies.\nCIO.com: When you look at that enterprise side, do you consider the ADPs and the Oracles and companies like that competitors or are they more often partners because people use the two products together?\nAin: Both. We cooperate and partner with them and we compete with them and that\u2019s fine. The majority of the Fortune 1000 uses Kronos today. In many cases those other organizations are trying to go in and sell an enterprise HR, talent or payroll solution and our customers are not going to take Kronos out to use their system. So they have to work with Kronos. But in other cases they\u2019re trying to sell a whole suite and they might say they also do workforce management. The good news for us, because we focus in the enterprise just on workforce management, our product is better. We\u2019re not trying to be a full suite HCM provider to the big enterprise. We\u2019re trying to do just a fantastic job in the workforce management area.\nCIO.com: Long term, do you stay focused on the best in workforce management or play in that bigger HCM suite marketplace for the enterprise?\nAin: Decisions change. Right now in the SMB, [we have] the full suite. I want to be crystal clear about that. We have great suite products across the whole HCM spectrum. In the enterprise, we\u2019re going to go deeper and deeper in the workforce management space. It\u2019s not to say that we won\u2019t offer some basic HCM offerings there but our main focus will be time and attendance, absence management, scheduling and analytics to support that, data collection devices to support that, to be the very best we can be in those areas.\nCIO.com: Kronos is a privately held company, yet you release your financials. Why?\nAin: Because, No. 1, our numbers are great. No. 2, we want to be very open with our customers. We think they should know how we\u2019re doing. We think it\u2019s a strategic advantage for us that we share that information. We tell them we have nothing to hide. Private or not, we want to share this with you. Customers tell us all the time: \u2018Gosh, I\u2019m surprised you release this.\u2019 We tell them: \u2018We think you have a right to know how someone you\u2019re deciding to do business with for the next 10 years is doing.\u2019 People don\u2019t buy a product like ours for two or three years. Once someone picks a vendor in this space, you\u2019re their partner indefinitely.\nBeing a private company has made us a better partner to our employees and a better partner to our customers. We don\u2019t worry about things quarter-to-quarter. We think about the long term in everything we do and we\u2019re able to do that as a private company. How do I know that? Because I was CEO of Kronos as a public company and it\u2019s not that I didn\u2019t enjoy being a public company CEO. I just like being a private company CEO a whole bunch more. It just gives us more flexibility, more options in so many dimensions.\nCIO.com: You reached over a billion in revenue early last year. What\u2019s driving that growth?\nAin: The good news is it\u2019s happening across all of our verticals. They\u2019re all growing nicely. In particular, right now the healthcare business is growing very quickly. I\u2019m talking about hospitals, long-term care and other non-acute care areas. The retail and hospitality space and the public sector is growing well. That\u2019s defined as K-12. It\u2019s also defined as higher education. Federal government as well as city, county, state areas, financial services and then lots of parts of manufacturing. We can tell the automotive industry in America is doing well by how we\u2019re engaging with them these days and in the past couple of years. Consumer products, life sciences, those areas are doing well.\nCIO.com: I guess the better way to ask that was where aren\u2019t you doing well?\nAin: We don\u2019t do as much in the enterprise with organizations where almost all of their employees are white-collar because there\u2019s less need. There\u2019s less of a big problem to track, although that\u2019s changing as well. You don\u2019t tend to schedule them as much, although some might argue that nurses in a hospital are white collar, but they have to be scheduled in a very active way. The other part of the business that\u2019s growing is our global business. That used to be a very small part of our business, but it\u2019s gotten bigger.\nCIO.com: When you look to the future, say the next two to five years, what are your biggest opportunities for growth?\nAin: We have an opportunity to go deeper with our current install base. While just about everyone has our time and attendance product, everyone doesn\u2019t necessarily have our scheduling product, our analytics product or our mobile product. The other thing is to expand into new areas, new customer segments that we haven\u2019t been before. Historically, we didn\u2019t have a big logistics group so now we\u2019re selling a lot to logistics. We didn\u2019t do as much with the technology world but today Amazon, Google, Dell and HP and others like that use forms of Kronos. It wasn\u2019t a big area for us. Then there\u2019s the whole global piece.\nCIO.com: How difficult is it to maintain and develop that kind of vertical industry knowledge?\nAin: Actually it\u2019s not that hard once we got started because we have people who are all experts in that area. All of our go-to-market people just do that.\nCIO.com: Is that through reseller channels or is that all knowledge that\u2019s in-house?\nAin: It matters what part of the world, but in the U.S. and Canada generally through knowledge in-house. I\u2019ll pick a vertical, hospitals. We have a team of about 30 salespeople who just sell to hospitals in the U.S. They\u2019re experts on how to sell to those 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. Today, approximately 3,500 of those hospitals use Kronos. Those people who are deeply tenured, they are the ones who are responsible for those opportunities. They really understand that industry. A dedicated team just to federal, a dedicated team just to higher Ed, a dedicated team just to hospitality or life sciences or other things like that.\nCIO.com: A recent press release said that in fiscal 2016, Kronos will make \u201cunprecedented investments in its products, infrastructure and delivery models to further accelerate its transition to SaaS and expedite customer migrations to the Kronos Cloud.\u201d Can you talk about what those unprecedented investments will entail?\nAin: First of all, it\u2019s money, just pure investment. We\u2019ll spend about $135 million in fiscal \u201816, up from about $114 million, up from about $100 million.\nCIO.com: That\u2019s $135 million in R&D.\nAin: R&D on an annual basis. It\u2019s more than we\u2019ve ever spent so that\u2019s unprecedented for us. That\u2019s having spent about $500 million over the past five years. The other is five years ago we had virtually no people supporting the Kronos Cloud. Today we have hundreds of people supporting the Kronos Cloud. We\u2019re hiring more people to support the Kronos Cloud than any other group within the company.\nWhen you accept the responsibility to manage the application on behalf of your customers, you have to do the work. We\u2019re hiring around the world because it\u2019s a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week relationship. By the way, we have a general strategy that we don\u2019t have people work at night so when we\u2019re supporting people in this part of the world, in say the U.S. night, the people in India during the day are supporting those customers. When the people in Asia need help during the night, the people in the U.S. during the day are supporting them. Because we\u2019ve grown our product bookings so much, we need more service people. Because we install what we sell we have more professional service people, more cloud people, more R&D people than we\u2019ve ever before had as a company. That\u2019s what we mean by unprecedented investments.\nCIO.com: How many employees at Kronos today?\nAin: We just did an acquisition that added a couple hundred more, so I think it was more than 4,500 at the end of December.\nCIO.com: You have pretty significant hiring plans for this coming year.\nAin: We hired 800 people in 2014, we hired just over 1,000 people in 2015 and we\u2019ll hire more than 1,000 people again this year.\nCIO.com: What kinds of roles?\nAin: Everything. There\u2019s an out-of-balance in the cloud because we\u2019re growing there, but we need service people, accounting people, marketing. It\u2019s getting tougher to [hire] because who we compete with today, even in the technology positions, aren\u2019t just technology companies. The big banks, the insurance companies, the manufacturing companies, they\u2019re all steeped in technology also today. So we\u2019re competing with everybody for all these people.\nCIO.com: Do you run your own cloud data centers around the world?\nAin: Yes and no. It\u2019s a Kronos private cloud and it\u2019s a colo with two or three different third parties who we run in their data centers but it\u2019s our equipment, it\u2019s our people. So we\u2019re just paying them for the ping, pipe, power.\nI interviewed Charles Phillips, the CEO of Infor, and he talked about moving their cloud offerings to Amazon, saying basically there\u2019s no advantage to being in the business of running your own cloud. Is that something you would ever consider?\nAin: We\u2019re going to do that.\nCIO.com: Is that longer-term strategy or something you would do over the next couple of years?\nAin: We will over the next couple of years. We just signed the agreement last week with the vendor who we\u2019re going to do that with in our enterprise business and then we\u2019re also talking to one of the other vendors to do it in parts of our SMB business. There are really four main companies who you deal with: Amazon AWS, Google, Microsoft with Azure or IBM. We just signed an agreement with one of them last week to be our enterprise platform of the future, into the public cloud through them. Why did we do that? No. 1, we did it because of availability and cost but as importantly, we did it for global reasons.\nCIO.com: That\u2019s exactly what Charles said.\nAin: We can\u2019t go open up data centers all over the world because of privacy concerns. Some of the data centers have to be in-country and [the cloud providers] have made the investment to do that. But it\u2019s not just about that. It\u2019s also about availability, cost. If we need to go put another pod in, it might take us two or three weeks. If we need more computing capacity we just turn it on with the providers and it\u2019s a matter of minutes. We want to ride the curve and competition between those four giants.\nCIO.com: You\u2019re going to benefit from price competition amongst those four.\nAin: Right. Today everything, generally speaking, is in a Kronos private cloud. But within a year, we\u2019re going to start running our applications in a public cloud with one of those vendors.\nI wanted to ask you a couple questions about analytics and big data. Can you explain what the Kronos Big Data for Workforce Management practice group is and what it does for customers?\nAin: Imagine you\u2019re a manufacturer, a retailer or any sort of organization that has multiple locations that are, generally speaking, doing a similar type of work. Some [employees] perform more effectively from a productivity perspective than others. Imagine we have all the information about how organizations are performing side-by-side and we can present it in a consolidated way and say: \u2018Look at this store in Burlington [MA] compared to this store in Waltham [MA]. Look how they\u2019re running from a productivity point of view.\u2019 Now roll it all up together and you can start with the bottom performers and say: \u2018I just want you to drive towards the average.\u2019 This might be around absence, attendance, parts created or success with customer engagements, patient care, all of these things, because everyone is tracking their workforce in these different dimensions.\nWith our analytics tool we can collect all this information and we can compare and contrast, we can slice and dice so you manage that group more effectively. Frontline managers are trying to do these things every day but it\u2019s difficult without that data. Another example is around this whole idea about recommendations. Based on what people have done in the past, if someone calls in sick, who do I call to fill their shift? That used to be a completely manual process. Let me just dial for people. Then our tools came out and said here are the choices of maybe the best five people. Imagine, based on what\u2019s happened in the past, if we could say that this is the person who you would have called and go and do that for you. That\u2019s an example of using analytics to drive current outcomes and current needs.\nCIO.com: Aron, what\u2019s the name of the analytics tool\nAin: We use our own analytics tool that we developed called Workforce Analytics.\nCIO.com: And the Big Data for Workforce Management practice is a group that helps you articulate what kinds of questions or what you can do with that information?\nAin: These are experts who have business optimization conversations with our customers and the Workforce Analytics tool comes up with the answers to those questions.\nCIO.com: One of the criticisms of workforce management vendors is that their tools throw off a lot of data but they aren\u2019t helping companies actually do anything with that data, to get value from it.\nAin: I agree with that. We only created this group in the past 12-18 months. Before we would sell our analytics tool to the customer and say: Okay, you have the information, you have the tools, we\u2019ll show you how to go generate some of the information. Good luck.\u2019 We realized that organizations didn\u2019t either have the skill, time, or resources to develop the expertise to do that so we decided to create our own team to go in and do that for them. The technology was there to do it, but I don\u2019t think we made it as easy as we could to mine all that rich information.\nCIO.com: Where do you see analytics going overall? Where do you want to take that strategy and help customers do beyond what\u2019s currently on the table?\nAin: I think it\u2019s in its infancy in the world of workforce management. If we can just do some of the things we\u2019re talking about today we\u2019ll hit a home run. Traditionally analytics have focused on taking information and looking back, but today it\u2019s about taking information to change what you\u2019re going to do going forward. For example, retailers today are coming to us saying: \u2018We\u2019ve determined that how we staff a particular store has a direct impact on our trade volume in that location and, believe it or not, more people results in higher revenue that more than covers the cost of those additional people.\u2019 You could only see that through using analytics tools to judge how you staff the organization, what the outcome of that staffing was, who did what within the organization, how skill had an impact there, etc.\nThink about healthcare. With healthcare, 80-90 percent of what happens in a hospital is scheduled. So you kind of have a view of what\u2019s going to happen in the future. Imagine if you could use a tool to say this is what volumes are going to look like so this is how I need to staff the organization to deal with that volume? Before, an organization didn\u2019t have the tools, really focused more on a just-in-case approach. Today they have tools to do a just-right approach to it. [That\u2019s vital] with all the competitive pressure within every industry, whether it\u2019s healthcare or manufacturing or retail. In the past we looked back and said how did we do? Now we\u2019re saying let\u2019s look forward to decide what we should do. That\u2019s different.\nCIO.com: Does the human piece come in there? Does any of this make the experience better for the employee as opposed to just the employer?\nAin: Of course it does. Imagine if an employee tells you I can\u2019t work on these particular days or I have to leave on this particular day because I have child-care issues. If you can put all that information in, the system will make sure that we optimize not just for the company but for the employee.\nIt also optimizes it for the customer. Think about what a retailer like Apple does. If you want to have your Apple device looked at, you might go online and schedule a trip to the mall. We have someone available at 9:10 tomorrow morning. That\u2019s good for you because you know now you\u2019ll get who\u2019s skilled on what you want to do available. You don\u2019t have to wait a half hour or 45 minutes. There\u2019s an example of not only doing what\u2019s right for the employee but also changing the relationship with the customer.\nCIO.com: Can you explain what Paragon is?\nAin: This is actually a direct byproduct of being in the cloud. Let\u2019s paint the picture. In prior periods, our customers would deploy the Kronos instance in their own data center. We might help them set it up but all that information sat, customer by customer, in their data centers. Now, all the information is sitting in the cloud. How they set up [the application]. How do they pay overtime, what are their dimensions around apps and tools? What are their dimensions that are different in the State of California, Georgia or Massachusetts? How is it different than the UK, from China, from Australia, from Brazil? Now, because we have thousands of customers in the Kronos Cloud, we have a consolidation of all that information.\nLet\u2019s say you\u2019re a manufacturer. Where do you have locations? In California, Colorado and Texas. How many employees do you have? Are you unionized? Kronos Paragon pulls information about the customers who are in the cloud who share those characteristics and it comes back and it says: Here\u2019s how 80 percent of those customers have set up their rules. In the past we\u2019d ask you how you want to set up your workforce management system and we\u2019d get a blank stare back sometimes. \u2018I don\u2019t know what you\u2019re asking me.\u2019 Or if they knew they said they might want to change that. Do you have a recommendation, Kronos, you\u2019re the expert? How do other people do it? Now we\u2019re able to take this [collected] information and present it and we believe it will reduce the time it takes to do a Kronos implementation by up to 50 percent.\nCIO.com: You have made, as I understand it, close to 70 acquisitions over time?\nAin: Yeah, we just completed our 68th.\nCIO.com: What are a couple of the most important ones that have really helped shape the company?\nAin: Right now the one that has the most momentum and energy is our SaaS-based Workforce Ready business. We recognized in the 2010-2011 timeframe that while we were successful in the SMB space, there was a large addressable market out there and we were not taking full advantage of the opportunity. We took inventory of our own products that were designed for the enterprise to see if we could make them more applicable for the SMB space and the decision we came to was that there might be other options. We don\u2019t live in a world of \u2018not invented here,\u2019 that\u2019s why we\u2019ve done 68 acquisitions.\nWe found a company called SaaShr and acquired that in May 2011. At the time, they were a $5 million company that had been in business about 10 years but had a full-suite HCM offering for SMB. Last year it grew to $45 or $50 million in revenue and it\u2019s one of the fastest growing parts of our business. It really gave us the platform to go with confidence into the SMB world. Along with that, when we went fully vertical in 2009, one of the places we got very active was the public sector, specifically cities and towns, states and counties, things like scheduling there, particularly for sworn officers, policemen and firemen. That was really different and a challenge. While we had scheduling solutions for healthcare, retail and hospitality, we recognized that issues around fatigue, bidding and collective bargaining agreements around scheduling sworn officers were different. We determined it would take us too long to write on our own so we partnered and merged with a company called PDSI with a product called TeleStaff [now Workforce TeleStaff] and today that\u2019s one of the fastest growing parts of our business. It\u2019s our scheduling platform for the whole public sector.\nCIO.com: How do you see the acquisition strategy evolving? Are there specific gaps you\u2019re focused on right now?\nAin: We focus acquisitions in four key strategic areas. The first is we look for new technology that will enhance our set of offerings. I just described two of those. We also do it to help drive market expansion. Maybe we want to open up in a new country. It\u2019s easier to open up in a new country if we can acquire sometimes the product, sometimes the people, sometimes the customers, best case all three of those. The third dimension is around market share. Some organizations come to us and say they\u2019re ready to get out of the business or want to sell a division. They have customers and we have a higher form of life that we can sell them. The fourth might be around some vertical technology, some cross-vertical technology. It might be around an analytics platform or a mobile platform that\u2019s not specific to either SMB or not specific to public sector. We have active engagements and conversations going on in all four.\nCIO.com: When you look at the market today with so many players and with the cloud reshaping everything, do you expect to see a wave of consolidation, whether it\u2019s in workforce management alone or in the larger human capital management market?\nAin: I don\u2019t expect to see it any more active than it\u2019s been. But I expect it to continue to be active. We did two acquisitions last year. We did another one in mid-January, have another three or four we\u2019re working on. We tend to do two to three a year. Some we do opportunistically, some we do strategically, but we\u2019ll continue to do that. We\u2019re generally pretty conservative in how we think about it.\nMost organizations say that their acquisition outcomes, maybe half of them are successful. We\u2019re 90+ percent successful because we pick carefully and we evaluate carefully. You know what we do differently? We\u2019re not afraid to say we\u2019re not interested. Probably fully half of the times we sign a letter of intent but through the diligence process we discover things that weren\u2019t evident either to the seller or to us. We make a decision to say this isn\u2019t right for us from that point of view. We\u2019re not trying to win a gold award for the most acquisitions, we\u2019re trying to win a gold award for the most successful acquisitions. Having the courage to say no, I think, drives our outcome.\nCIO.com: What do you see as the challenges for the future for Kronos? What keeps you up at night?\nAin: I worry about how fast technology is changing. It\u2019s changing faster than we can predict and so we have to be nimble to adjust to that. Five, six years ago when we created our new framework for our UI, Flex and Flash was the rage. Now everybody wants to be HTML5 so we have to rewrite everything. It used to be everything was Java and the world has moved to a new dimension. Those are just little examples. Private clouds go to public clouds, things like that.\nNow it\u2019s more open source vs. proprietary platforms that you might use in your products. All of that worries me. The ability to recruit and retain great people worries me all the time. It\u2019s why we\u2019re so focused on employee engagement. I\u2019m proud we were voted one of the best places to work in 2015 and 2014 and that\u2019s a strategic imperative for us. That does not happen by accident. We do it because we know it helps us recruit great people. We know it helps us retain great people and we are a people business. If we don\u2019t have great people we\u2019re not going to get to the Promised Land. By the way, for the knowledge workers we\u2019re trying to pursue, unemployment is really, really, really low. It may be five percent nationally but it\u2019s not five percent with the people we\u2019re trying to hire. It\u2019s hard and across all dimensions.\nCIO.com: What would you tell customers to expect from Kronos in 2016?\nAin: More of the same. We\u2019re a dependable company. You can count on us. We\u2019re going to keep producing and delivering great new products. You should expect that and demand that from us. You should expect us to continue to be deeply focused on their success, to understand their specific needs and how we can help them. That\u2019s [behind] the whole vertical approach to what we do.\nYou should expect us to understand that the SMB is different than the enterprise and we\u2019re not trying to force-fit one set of offerings or one set of services or one method or one practice. You should expect us to continue to work hard to drive the costs down, the total cost of using a Kronos system, to manage a Kronos system, whether it\u2019s using Paragon or doing things in the cloud on behalf of our customers.\nAnd you should expect us to continue to stay focused on our employees. Why is that important to our customers? Because if we can recruit great people and retain great people, we\u2019re going to produce better products, deliver better service, which is going to directly benefit our customers. We try to also be the kind of company that makes our employees proud. We spend resources, time and focus being good parts of the communities where we do business, whether it\u2019s in India, where we sponsor a school, or Indianapolis, where we focus on hiring people almost exclusively right out of college.