We had the opportunity to attend ADP’s yearly user conference ‘Meeting of the Minds’ in Fort Washington, at the beautiful Gaylord National. The conference was equally well attended as last year in Nashville with over 1000 attendees.


Always tough to pick the top 3 at an event – but here you go – take a look at the video:


No time to watch – read on:

New UI for Enterprise and Vantage – Last year at MOTM ADP promised to bring both Enterprise and Vantage products to the new UI the vendor had already used for a number of new applications. Especially the talent management product UI, Vantage looked like ‘vintage’ (pun intended). ADP had to move to a declarative way to build its UIs, encapsulate functionality in APIs and revisit workflows and information model, so taking a year is not a bad timeline for the effort. Attendees were looking forward to use the new versions when talking to them around the conference. Almost all is done, except for the practitioner UI in Enterprise and the recruiter role in Vantage. All should be done later this year. This moves the needle from product development to sales and services, with the question how fast customers can be in a position to use the new UI. It also removes the well reported ‘frown effect’ when demoing ‘vintage Vantage’ – which shortchanged a serious look at a pretty functional rich Talent Management product due to UI concerns.

Data Cloud powers Benchmarking – One of the more exciting products that ADP has created in the last years is the ADP Data Cloud, which is the platform not only to new reporting and visualization, but also the base for its predictive analytics and benchmarking products. And Benchmarking was the new capability showed at MOTM. As ADP pays over 30 Million people in North America it has a better data exposure to salary and more information than probably any vendor. ADP’s labor forecasts routinely beats the government’s labor forecasts. Now – as one of the first benchmarks – users can see salary and more information for a job role across the USA. Participation is very high, well in the 90ies of the customer base, as even the reluctant customers see immediate value. This puts ADP in a very good position to tap into future DaaS (Data as a Service) revenues. On the predictive analytics side things have slowed down a bit (like with other vendors), as HR practitioners remain skeptical towards analytics. All vendors (not only ADP) have to work hard to overcome this, and the path to predictive analytics success in HCM does not lead through the HR department but the business user, who needs any level of automation that works, and can right away see if a prediction / automation ‘works’ (or not).

Market Place – Since its launch a few quarters back the ADP marketplace has been growing fast to almost 100 signed up partners and close to half of them being live. ADP’s approach of allowing competitors on the market place (e.g. Cornerstone) and to compete on merit is a healthy approach that enterprises value. The cloud allows for ‘zapping’ the sales cycle to an afternoon, the provision of free (or cheap) sand boxes to enable ‘try & buy’ sales mechanisms and a fast way of implementation. The future of enterprise software consumption and it is good to see that ADP has enabled the platform and marketplace early.


Analyst Tidbits

  • New Onboarding – ADP has also released new Onboarding capability, a solution the vendor had the courage to onboard analysts with at the last analyst meeting in fall. The product has been delivered in a pretty functional version 1 that will be highly welcome (and is anticipated highly) be ADP customers.

  • Global Offerings – ADP keeps offering global solutions and related services like BPO. The offering has also been moved to the new UI starting with the portal, that most (international) employees see first. Partnerships are progressing, the most recent prominent one being the one with Workday (see below for News Analysis). We see ADP and NGA HR as the ‘last men standing’ to offer comprehensive BPO, whenever that market will find its prince, wakening it from now almost 10 years hibernation.
  • ACA keeps giving and giving – With new regulation and compliance burdens hitting enterprises and ADP’s record on compliance it is no surprise this is a well working offering for ADP. Enterprises need help with ACA, as every formal and informal poll shows, and ADP is ready to help, at a staggering scale, e.g. the vendor shared that it is providing more than an 8 digit number of 1095s this month. 

  • Development best practices – ADP has transformed the way it builds product, how it goes to market and large parts of is culture. I think this is the first time a keynote speaker wore jeans (!) on stage, ok it was a developer, but still a milestone. It is good to see ADP is not resting on its laurels and looking at more innovative ways of building products. The session was under NDA, but it was exciting to learn about very short review and product deliver cycles. Some of the products can already be found on the ADP marketplace – I encourage you to find and try them. 


    A very good MOTM for ADP, the vendor has delivered what it promised a year ago and now has a competitive product, for the first time I can think of. Good to see ADP is not resting on its product laurels and has more interesting offerings and products coming. Naturally, focus now turns to sales and services, customers need to understand and adopt the new offerings. Too early to tell how well ADP will do here.

    On the concern side ADP now needs to show its sales and services muscle. With over 800 sales reps in North America that’s not a question of presence but of mentality. It’s a different sales cycle to ‘grab land’ with an aging product but market leader position vs. winning and converting customers towards newly competitive products. E.g. the ADP sales force will have to show it can sell / upsell Talent Management now. And customers will have to be converted / upgraded to the new user interface (and platform in the case of e.g. Data Cloud) – a new challenge for the services organization. ADP customers need to understand well what it takes to move to the new offerings and chart the course to the upgrade / updated. But at the end of the day a good problem to have.

    Overall good progress as ADP morphs into more of an overall global HCM software player from a North American payroll giant, a good trend for customers. We will be watching, stay tuned.

    More on ADP
    • News Analysis - Workday and ADP partner to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience for Global Payroll - read here
    • Progress Report - ADP Analyst Day - ADP executes, kills (most) ghosts from the past - read here
    • Event Report - ADP Meeting of the Minds - It’s all coming together for ADP in 2015 - product wise - read here
    • First Take - ADP Meeting of the Minds - Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Progress Report - ADP shows great vision, delivers product innovation - now it needs adoption - read here
    • Site Visit - ADP's new innovation lab in Chelsea - read here
    • News Analysis - ADP announces Spin-Off plans for Dealer Services, sharpens ADP's focus on HCM - read here.
    • Event Report - ADP's Meeting of the Minds - ADP has made up its mind (almost) - customers not yet - read here.
    • First take - 3 Key Takeaways from ADP's Meeting of the Minds Conference Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • ADP innovates with with verve and good timing – read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

    And here are my notes - on Twitter - of ADP MOTM 2016: