Posts Tagged ‘strategic HCM’

Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Cloud Computing – Adam Rogers, Ultimate Software

Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Cloud Computing.  The interviews  provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective.  A full list of interviewees can be found here.

Adam Rogers – Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ultimate Software


1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Cloud Computing is changing the world for your customers

Adam Rogers (AR): Ray, let’s call it like it is. Cloud isn’t really disruptive – it’s already  disrupted – and we’ve made that transition over the past 10 years.  The new frontier for enterprise software is building systems that conform and cater to the user and how they want to work.  Let’s use Amazon as an analogy. A core difference between Amazon and the dozens of other e-commerce sites that competed for mind share in the 2000′s is that they realized early on that doing great work on behalf of the PERSON was more important than the URL or the consumer product segment.

Our customers benefit from cloud computing by taking advantage of business solutions for managing their people, instead of dealing with the cost and expense of IT. Second, because we handle all upgrades, they gain access to the latest functionality and don’t get trapped in a legacy on-premise solution that is outdated. There’s no barrier to upgrading. However, you’ve heard this all before. Honestly, these are really table stakes in business software today.

What Cloud is transforming for our customers is their ability to tailor the solution to their specific needs. For example, Google wanted us to handle the administration of payroll and the system-of-record, but they wanted to maintain the user experience of their internally developed GHR system. By connecting Ultimate to GHR through the Cloud, they can deliver a familiar user experience for their people while taking advantage of our backbone.

Importantly, small businesses gain access to enterprise systems at an affordable price point because:

1. If done right, it allows smaller businesses access (via affordability) to what used to be very expensive enterprise applications.

⁃ up front through the economies of scale well-architected systems create, enterprise class software can be sold at much less expensive price points than previously.

⁃ ongoing costs are contained.. and running in world-class data centers that only fortune 1000 companies could previously afford.

2. It brings the benefits of consumer software (constantly improved, modern user interfaces and simple) to enterprise customers who demand secure, stable and reliable applications.

We moved to cloud computing and SaaS 10 years ago because we felt it was good for our customers but in the end it also opened up the market to smaller customers with much smaller IT budgets. This is obviously great for our business model but very rewarding to know we can offer a world-class solution to what used to be out of reach to many companies.

2. What makes cloud computing disruptive?

(AR): Disruption typically has two major components. The first is cost and the second is making products available to a new class of customers.

Cloud computing has not only reduced the cost of business software, it has also made sophisticated systems available to organizations that previously wouldn’t have been able to afford to purchase and maintain those products. I think that’s a fairly obvious outcome at this point as discussed already.

What is less obvious, but more important in the long term, is that Cloud computing means we can — for the first time, really — combine applications that are tailored to the person and the device (an iPad, for example) with a robust administrative system on the back end. Those applications can be really small, and highly tailored, while still connecting to the core. That means users don’t have to deal with a lot of complexity, they can just focus on the work at hand — while still participating in the company’s core system.

This is disruptive because as the end of the day, this is great for consumers and customers but to execute, it really flips all accepted thinking on it’s side.

- Now we have to update our software early and often – the consumers demand this kind of cadence to realize the value. Consumers are using consumer applications and consumer devices and demanding that same elegant experience from their Ent Apps. GenX/Y’s are taking over the executive offices and making decisions on business software.

- Think about what it takes to do that… it’s an agile/iterative development process with continuous integration and deployment. That’s a simple sentence that is a multi million dollar investment for development teams. It took us years to make this turn.

- Finally it’s disruptive because you have to be comfortable in the state of “blowing in the wind”. Typical enterprise companies built loyalty through ridiculously expensive upgrades and data that was so locked down you had to syphon your data out discretely if you were thinking about switching vendors. Now you MUST, absolutely MUST deliver a steady flow of functionality and make your data available and accessible via standard web protocols. That’s a scary situation for many established vendors. It’s disruptive because that’s what our customers want. That’s what we are giving them. But many won’t.

3. What is the next big thing in Cloud Computing?

(AR): The intersection of consumer applications (more than just social) into Enterprise data. SaaS and cloud moved your data to the [potentially] accessible cloud. Soon it will be about making sense of all that data in the cloud. So Enterprise SaaS vendors will be forced to make their data accessible. That’s uncomfortable position for many traditional enterprise software companies who always felt the “hoarding” of their data is what kept customers paying their maintenance bills. So now the data must be “freed” and accessible through standard formats. And not only that, just like Gen X/Yers started bringing iPhones and Skype into the Enterprise without “permission”, we will need to be able to mash our Enterprise data up with consumer applications (especially social). Why not allow identity management via Facebook?

For example, take Apple with iOS5 is delivering their notification center — one place for the person to direct all their important action items. It is our job to plug into that if the user wants us too. Same with social streams. People don’t want 10 different streams, they might want a couple… so how do we publish and subscribe into those places where a user already works. Instead of taking an application-centered view, it is time to take a person-centered view. Cloud lets us do that.

4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Cloud Computing?

More…

Friday’s Feature: Workday Release 10 Moves Users One Step Closer To ERP Replacement

Workday Continues To Pioneer SaaS Success In The Enterprise

Founded by Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri in March 2005, Workday has grown the company to over 135 customers with 80+ companies in production, 17 enterprise payroll companies, and over 400 employees in 50 countries worldwide.  Key industries include services, technology, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and others.  Unlike other ERP pure play True SaaS vendors (e.g. NetSuite, Intacct, and Ultimate Software), Workday uniquely serves the mid-size to very large enterprise clients.  Large production clients range from 26,000 employees at Chiquita to 200,000 employees at Flextronics.  Workday’s roots began with HR but Release 10 bolsters key financial and spend management capabilities, highlighting aspirations to be the SaaS option for Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP ERP replacements over the next 3 to 5 years.

Design Points Reflect The Principles Of Social Enterprise Apps

With the business user in mind, Workday incorporates 8 of the 10 essential elements for social enterprise apps.  These include (see Figure 1):

  1. Role-based design. Software designed around how users perform work including applicable security models.
  2. Consistent experience across channels & deployment options. Software that is agnostic to where or how that software is deployed and accessed.
  3. Contextual & relevant delivery of information. Software which understands what information to provide users at a point in time
  4. Configurable & adaptive. Software that can be modified to meet changing conditions.
  5. Outcome-focused & results-oriented. Software that tracks key metrics across an end to end process.
  6. Proactive, predictive, & actionable. Software that anticipates requests and supports decision making.
  7. Engaging for all stakeholders. Software that opens up the system to new types of users, collaborators, networks, and communities.
  8. Secure & safe. Software that meets security and disaster recovery thresholds.

Figure 1.  Workday’s Design Incorporates 8 Of The 10 Elements of Social Enterprise Apps

Software Insiders Point of View Photo Stream (click image for details)

(Source: Workday)

Release 10 Features Move Users Closer To An ERP Suite

  • HCM adds Succession Planning and expands geographic reach. HR managers gain new functionality with succession planning by candidate names and positions.  Succession profiles track potential, achievable levels, and retention risk.  Improved enhancements touch absence, benefits, compensation, performance management, and staffing.  Cuba and Guernsey are added as 2 new countries.   Global personal data already supports 297 countries and all UN member nations.   Employee contracts now support Chinese and EMEA requirements.
  • Financials expands horizontal capabilities. Key updates include improved customer contracts, scheduled billing, revenue recognition, and milestone recognition.  New financial reporting features allow cost center and regional managers to run reports.  Users receive new project billing, basic VAT, sales tax, and customer statement capability.
  • Payroll augments existing capability.  New features include new off cycle calculations, worker history enhancements, gross-up, and off cycle billing.  Payroll remains focused on primary processing.  Multiple job processing is not available yet but planned for future releases.
  • Spend management adds a supplier invoice workbench. Additional enhancements span procure to pay, contingent worker procurement, resource tracking, and purchase order review.
  • User experience focuses on role based designs. Worker and talent profiles receive new looks that build off of the design elements in the “All About Me” and “My Team” pages in Release 9.   Multi-currency display for compensation now displays local and preferred currencies.
  • Analytics and reporting simplify data creation and consumption. Simple enhancements such as default values for report inputs, report tags for categorizing and search, and data creation from any source accessible by the user improve the ability to turn data into information.  Export now supports CSV, XML, and GData formats.
  • Ecosystem integration expands to new partners. New linkages include MrTed TalentLink, 15 new providers to the Workday Benefits Network (WBN), and improved integration security in the Enterprise Interface Builder

The Bottom Line – Consider Workday In Shortlists For HCM Upgrade/Replacement And Two Tier ERP

With the bulk of most HCM solutions deployed prior to Y2K, many organizations now actively consider upgrade/replacement strategies.   Most users expect upgrades to result in expensive replacement scenarios.  Hence, organizations must determine whether or not to continue with incumbent vendors or pursue a two-tier ERP apps strategies using SaaS deployment.  For mid-sized to large enterprises, Workday provides a unique option to take a phased approach with HCM and grow into the full suite as the product matures.

Your POV

Are you considering an ERP replacement? Will Workday 10′s new features compel you to migrate from your existing apps?  If you are a Workday customer, how’s your experience been with the SaaS vendor?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity. Please let us know if you need help with your apps strategies.  Here’s how we can help:

  • SaaS/Cloud strategies
  • Crafting your next gen apps strategy
  • Short listing and vendor selection
  • Contract negotiations support
  • Market evaluation

Related resources and links

20100316 The Enterprise System Spectator – Frank Scavo “Workday pushing high-end SaaS for the enterprise”

20100324 InformationWeek – Doug Henschen “Workday 10 boosts HR capabilities”

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