We had the opportunity to attend Ultimate Software’s first analyst summit, held at the vendor’s headquarters in Weston, Florida, November 16th. Always good to be at an inaugural analyst meeting, good attendance by the usual HCM analysts. 

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Deeper Insights into the Ultimate People Culture – We had the chance to get another glimpse into the Ultimate Software culture – with Chief People Officer Maza joining us for dinner. A truly remarkable story, in which more aspects get uncovered each time… this time what stood out that founder Scherr preferred to go in debt over laying off employees. And certainly, a vendor’s culture is strong when …. The waiter at the restaurant knows all about it. On the analyst day we had CEO Scherr share more on this, including the trust card and objective coin. All good principles of people leadership, built on the conviction that happy employees work better, resulting in happier and more satisfied customers. 
Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
Scott Scherr takes us through Ultimate Software History

Workforce Management on Track – One of the bigger functionality items that Ultimate announced at Ultimate Connections this spring was Workforce Management. The vendor confirmed that the new capability is on track for a January 2018 general availability. It will be interesting to monitor adoption and further roadmap – and what it means for Ultimate’s partnership with Infor. And overall the yardstick in workforce management has been moved with Kronos’ recent launch of Workforce Dimensions (see here). It certainly is a key area in HCM going forward – payroll relevance, gig economy potential and compliance aspects all make workforce management a must have capability for HCM vendors. 
Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
Software & Services happy together (Dodd & Rogers)

(New) Mobile Application Adoption Good – Ultimate has had an uneven mobile user experience in the past and announced to rectify this at Ultimate Connections. The mobile application (both for iOS and Android) has shipped and has seen good adoption. Mobile remains the preferred access for most HCM interactions. So, it is important for Ultimate customers that the vendor is getting this right and it certainly looks like that. Now Ultimate has to keep it that way. 
Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
2 confident sales leaders - Swick & Phenicie

Marketplace Progress Good – Marketplaces are key for modern enterprise software sales, as the days of ‘minibus load visits’ are coming to an end. HCM buyers want to see, try and buy software fast, and that means they have to look at Marketplaces. The Ultimate Marketplace, just launched recently, has made good progress in both partner adoption and market impact. And it is early days and differentiation in the field is getting hard. But a must have area for all vendors, including Ultimate so key and good to see the progress.
Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
Hartshorne plays a game


After announcing its most ambitious product roadmap agenda at Ultimate Connections in Las Vegas this spring, Ultimate has been making good on the delivery of the roadmap. And that matters, as the vendor was slowly but steadily falling behind… not so anymore if the current development speed and output can be maintained and met with customer adoption and revenue in the next quarters and years. Ultimate has made progress with its AI platform and assistant Xander and now needs to keep the momentum, to build on the leadership of being the first HCM vendor with a working assistant.

On the concern side, Ultimate must increase the speed of its UX renovation / innovation. There are too many at best mediocre UX quality screens left in the system, especially at the manager and HR professional level. Maybe Ultimate is banking on replacing a large part of that with a chat / voice based assistant – trying to leap frog this UI innovation cycle… Ultimate Connections 2018 will give us the answer into this question.

But overall a new and re-energized Ultimate Software. Committed to people, customers and R&D. On track for 1B US$ in revenue for 2018. Stay tuned.


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