Update on Technology: Review from Analyst Days






Tis the season — of analyst briefings:  those events in which companies strut their stuff, as it were, before the industry analyst community. Some years the messages seem “same old, same old” – and some years – like this one — there are new and exciting stories to tell.


Recent events I attended included a Ceridian analyst event in Boston, Saba@Work 2014 in Orlando, Florida, Ultimate Connections in Las Vegas, and the Infor Analyst event in New York. The four solution providers are very different in their product sets, their marketing messages and their targeted audiences.


Ceridian, with its flagship DayForce product met all the development goals the company had laid out to analysts in the previous briefing, creating an HR/payroll solution that supports both workforce management and talent management. New functionality this year included talent acquisition support.  With currently 900 customers live on Dayforce, the average employee count for customers is 1200, however installations today are supporting sites of 40-50,000 employees as well. HR/Payroll is the initial purchase for 76% of new buyers; 23% are standalone workforce management.  More than half of Dayforce HCM buyers (51%) have three or more modules. 


A key metric for any HR provider expanding into integrated talent management is the attachment rate – how many added modules of HCM functionality are sold to those initial purchasers. Ceridian reports that 51% original HR buyers add 3 or more modules; 33% add two modules, and 16% add one module. The new recruiting product is particularly compelling to previous buyers of Dayforce.


Saba delivers an integrated talent management suite: learning, performance, succession, recruiting, collaboration, workforce planning and compensation solutions that incorporate social, mobile and gamification technologies. The company demonstrated its 2013-released talent acquisition module, Recruiting@Work, which leverages the Saba Cloud platform capabilities.  What taught my eye was TIM! No, not a handsome young man — but TIM The Intelligent Mentor. TIM was introduced in 2013 and uses machine learning technologies to actually learn as “he” goes –enhancing his ability to give personalized guidance in  performance, learning, succession management and career development.


Saba’s customer base includes major global organizations and industry leaders in financial services, life sciences and healthcare, high-tech, automotive and manufacturing, retail, energy and utilities, packaged goods, and public sector organizations. Headquartered in Redwood Shores, California, Saba has offices in five continents. 


Unlike many of the talent management suites, Ultimate Software began as a core payroll and HR system and added its talent functionality into that core solution. Thus its customers do not need to address the integration of their talent technologies with a HRIS system, as that integration is native in the product. Based in Weston, Florida, the company demonstrated its Fall 2013 release of UltiPro which included a new compensation management solution, a visual platform configuration interface, additional language support, and a new user experience. Recent additions to the talent management suite include recruiting and onboarding. UltiPro’s new recruiting solution, available in the spring of 2014, includes integration with LinkedIn. With configuration at the platform level, UltiPro supports tailoring without any code customization, enabling its users to retain control over the single code set deployed.


Today, twenty percent of Ultimate Software’s customers use UltiPro to manage employees outside of North America. More than 400 customers are managing employees outside North America with non-U.S./Canada-based employee records. (The company reports a recent customer deploying global HCM for more than 50,000 employees.)


And a phoenix arises: The new world of Infor was apparent in its analyst briefing at its impressive Manhattan headquarters. Taking the technologies that the firm has acquired over the past decade and building an entire new underlying architecture, Info has built a series of ERP suites dedicated to specific verticals including automotive , distribution, healthcare, manufacturing, and public sector — with product sets including CRM, financial management, enterprise performance management, asset management, supply chain management, and HCM. The company services 70,000 customers in more than 200 countries and territories.


For Infor HR users, a re-architected Lawson product is now Infor HCM and marketed as a standalone HCM and talent management solution or in combination with the ERP packages to support HR in the specific verticals. The product set is complete in that is offers Core HR and payroll, learning, talent management, talent science (analytics), shared services, and workforce management, all on the Amazon Open Cloud platform.


Built on middleware called ION, the re-architected underlying technology for the Infor suites includes products supporting business collaboration, mobile applications, business intelligence, and an application development environment, all deployed on Infor CloudSuite.


Infor reports a 22% license growth year over year with a 57% growth in Cloud subscriptions.


The Net-Net


All these companies are “Cloud” companies; while both Infor and Ultimate have some legacy on premise users, new sales for these and for Ceridian and Saba are SaaS subscriptions. The road to new products is different however:  Ultimate and Ceridian have focused on new or revamped applications, and global reach in payroll; Infor focused on creating a solid infrastructure to support all its solutions – with keen attention to the user experience, Saba has continued to round out its suite in talent management. All attended to the needs of the user: be it through intuitive interfaces or the plethora of new mobile, social or gamified apps.


While Saba has not reported its numbers, we have seen year over year upticks for the other three discussed here—demonstrating post-recessionary interest in HCM software in general, and in the integrated suite in particular. Organizations are voting with their wallets: new technology to manage human capital is booming.

 All numbers herein are as reported by the providers to analysts at their respective events.

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Copyright © 2014 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.

Christa Degnan Manning

Vice President, Solution Provider Research Leader / Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Christa leads technology and service provider research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. In this role, she helps businesses align their workforce support strategies with appropriate third-party software developers, service partners, and governance models. A 25-year technology industry veteran, Christa’s expertise assists organizations in creating functional capabilities and employee experiences that increase productivity, engagement, and workforce efficiency. Frequently cited by business and trade media, she has presented market research on business to business trends, leading practices, and expected challenges and benefits at industry and user conferences globally throughout her career. Christa has a bachelor of arts in English from Barnard College, Columbia University, incorporating studies at University College, University of London. She also holds a master of arts degree in English from the University of Massachusetts and has completed executive coursework on business metrics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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