Cloud – Ultimate Software's Blog http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:00:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Ideation http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ideation/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ideation/#respond Mon, 23 Jul 2012 13:10:27 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=126 Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock? One of my favorites was the story of the U.S. bill on an arduous journey to become a law. Maybe it was the combination of music and animation or that my future political science ambitions were already present that made this specific Schoolhouse Rock episode stay in my memory. As […]

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Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock? One of my favorites was the story of the U.S. bill on an arduous journey to become a law. Maybe it was the combination of music and animation or that my future political science ambitions were already present that made this specific Schoolhouse Rock episode stay in my memory. As we create products at Ultimate, how does this process work? How does product get from an idea all the way into a release? Is it as complicated as the bill “sitting on Capitol Hill,” then to committee, and then a long wait or veto at the President’s desk?

 

Fortunately, we don’t need a song to help explain the ideation process at Ultimate. The reason is that the process  is very simple and involves actively listening to our community of customers. It is no surprise that we have a fantastic group of partners. One of the highlights of the year is getting the chance to interact and hear from our customers at Connections, our annual customer conference. Do we have to wait 12 months until the next meeting in Las Vegas to listen? Absolutely not!

One of the ways that we listen is through our Ideas Community. One of the benefits of delivering in the cloud, is also joining a larger community. This is evidenced in our Ideas Community where customers are able to share ideas with each other, comment on those ideas, and voice their preference by voting an idea up or down. Here’s the great thing: Ultimate’s product team knows right away what things our collective partners want to see in our solution. In a sense we are crowdsourcing by tapping into the collective wisdom of our “crowd” of customers.

And our product managers are listening and pulling in ideas. In fact our community is so active that we’re working very hard to keep up with the ideas that they are creating. In many meetings with our product managers and development teams, I hear comments, “this is our customer’s #1 idea in this area.” I know that is music to the ears of our customers, who are looking forward to their suggestions coming to life in the product. Their ideas will not have to follow the same path of that bill waiting on a committee and then a President to sign.

 

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Integration Time http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/integration-time/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/integration-time/#respond Mon, 30 Apr 2012 12:50:58 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=116 The arrival of SaaS and Cloud computing has brought one of the most challenging issues in business software – integration – back to the forefront. For on-premise software deployments, the connection between systems has always been a gigantic hassle for IT. An upgrade to any part of the software stack could take out a major […]

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The arrival of SaaS and Cloud computing has brought one of the most challenging issues in business software – integration – back to the forefront. For on-premise software deployments, the connection between systems has always been a gigantic hassle for IT. An upgrade to any part of the software stack could take out a major system, like payroll, and send technicians on a frantic chase to track down the cause and the solution.

Ultimate started SaaS delivery of payroll and human capital management (HCM) in 2002. We had a lot of experience in integration and applied it to the new delivery model. It wasn’t easy, and there wasn’t a blueprint for how to deliver integrations as a service.

Fast forward to 2012, and we now support more than 8000 unique connections to Ultimate products for our more than 2300 customers. These include everything from health insurance carriers to on-premise systems in our customers’ datacenters.

And at this year’s Connections, Ultimate’s user conference, we talked about some important next steps in that effort.  Working in partnership with Informatica, the world leader in technology for systems connectivity, we’re building a next-generation carrier network. Our goal is to make it easier for organizations to connect with their service providers, manage and monitor those connections, and change them whenever they need to. Integration should be a business decision, not a technology decision.

Another great example of seamless connectivity is our new integration with Yammer. We’ve made it almost as simple as signing into a game on Facebook, but with appropriate controls for a business system. No IT work, no calls to a consultant, just a few clicks to authenticate and configure. Because connecting your work systems to your people systems should be just that simple, right?

I think so! Much more on tap too.

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Sharing At Its Best http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/sharing-at-its-best/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/sharing-at-its-best/#respond Mon, 12 Mar 2012 13:23:25 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=92 Ever since my kids were old enough to understand the concept of sharing, my wife and I have been encouraging them to do it often. With three kids that are very close in age, that is easier said than done, but I am always proud of them when they manage to pull it off.  We […]

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Ever since my kids were old enough to understand the concept of sharing, my wife and I have been encouraging them to do it often. With three kids that are very close in age, that is easier said than done, but I am always proud of them when they manage to pull it off.  We nearly fell out of our chairs the other day when witnessing our ten-year old son actually offer the last couple of cookies to his older sister. Of course, he’s recently been trying to win us over to buy him some new technology, so we’re wondering just how genuine that “share” really was.

Though sharing may not always come easily for kids, sharing between adults has never been easier. The rise of the social web has made it really simple to share everything from advice on how to fix a leaky faucet to the latest videos of your cat doing something weird. It still amazes me how quickly the technology has gotten us to this point.

As a SaaS provider, sharing is in Ultimate’s DNA. When we made the decision to move to the cloud over ten years ago, we knew that by sharing common infrastructure, we’d lower costs and ease the administrative burden for our customers. What we couldn’t foresee was just how much sharing would eventually take place within our user community because of this shift. There are dozens of UltiPro User Communities on LinkedIn, thousands of participants in our Ideas community, and the content and thoughts that are being shared in these forums are both practical and engaging.

I’m responsible for the Business Intelligence & Analytics products at Ultimate, so I want to highlight some of the sharing taking place between the BI users within our customer community. The author of a recent ZDNet article urges business people to be “BI savvy,” and I couldn’t agree more.  However, our users are wearing multiple hats and have limited time to develop their expertise. They know that UltiPro Business Intelligence allows them to tap the vast amounts of information living with their employee records, so they are turning to the communities to help them. At nearly 900 members as of this writing, the Business Intelligence forum on LinkedIn is one of the largest and most active. Collaborating with other users to share tips, tricks, ideas, and even reports is a great example of how the cloud proves its value. Users are sharing reports on a wide range of topics including total compensation, bonus distribution by performance rating, and benefit election comparisons. This is something that we’ve coined “Consume/Author/Share” within UltiPro.

Across the enterprise applications market, there is so much room to innovate and expand upon making data and analytics accessible, understandable, and pervasive throughout solutions, and we’re totally focused on this at Ultimate. The good news is that with the help of collaboration and the cloud, people, i.e., our customers, can work together and benefit from one another today. Because of this, hundreds of report templates have been downloaded thousands of times. This is sharing at its best. And though I may not have quite the same sense of pride as when my son offered my daughter the last cookie, I’m still awfully proud to be a part of this community. Keep on sharing!

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