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UKG Betting Big on AI and Global Reach


I recently attended the 2024 UKG Spring Analyst Day, the theme of which was helping organizations become a great place to work through human-centered technology. The event provided clear demonstrations of what the company has delivered as well as a preview of what’s to come. UKG also demonstrated an innovative approach to ensuring client value is at the heart of its product roadmap. Its focus on client value was greatly enhanced by the launch of its client community in 2023.  

UKG shared its global perspective on how it designs and services its client base. With annual revenues of $4.31bn in FY2023, representing ~11% growth y/y, and supporting 80k customers across 160 countries, UKG is clearly a major player in the HR technology and services market. However, its size doesn’t detract from its focus on servicing SME, mid, and large market players, with a significant focus on listening to its customers to help design and shape a future-fit roadmap.

It measures customer ideas through its newly launched UKG community. Over the last year, it delivered 40% of the top 10 ideas voted for by customers on its UKG Pro platform, and 60% were delivered via the UKG Ready platform (see next section). Product manager time spent engaging directly with customers is clearly measured and reported to ensure all parts of the business are close to customer needs.

Investment in technology is happening at a fast pace. In 2023, UKG invested ~17% of its revenue in R&D. Over the last year, it reported that 370 new capabilities were delivered through its products. Further, as an early partner using Google Cloud's enterprise-grade GenAI and large language models (LLMs) through Vertex AI, it is progressing at speed, building new GenAI capabilities through its product suites with their UKG Bryte AI capability. UKG has ~100 data scientists, product managers, and engineers supporting AI solution development.

IP Investments & Platform Developments

UKG focuses its IP investments on two go-to-market HCM platforms:

  • UKG Ready: for the SME market with less than 500 client employees, with Canadian payroll just added
  • UKG Pro: for mid and large market organizations with more than 500 employees, also offered as a WFM/payroll standalone bundle with connectors to other HCM platforms where the large enterprise client might have another preferred HCM.

Within these platforms, WFM (UKG Pro WFM) and Global Payroll (UKG OneView) are offered as standalone products.

Key platform developments over the last 12 months include:

  • OneView Global Payroll: through recently acquired Immedis (which has added 13 new wins), UKG can offer global payroll delivered using three models:
    • Direct delivery, leveraging an existing client payroll partner where the client manages the process on the platform
    • Managed payroll
    • Connected, a single view with no services attached, where the management of the payroll process remains outside the platform.
  • Bryte GenAI Experience: built as a suite of connected agents to remove friction and increase insights and guidance. UKG now has ~2.5k active AI models delivered across its suites, interacting with ~10m customer employees per month. Recent use cases include the UKG Talk Weekly Digest feature and configuration suggestions to simplify onboarding new customers
  • UKG Flex: introduced UKG webhooks for real-time integrations (launched in April 2024) and its marketplace added 65 new solutions over 2023
  • Benefits Hub: enabling new hires and open enrollment via mobile
  • Great Place to Work (GPTW) Hub: leveraging data from UKG’s GPTW is core to delivering client value and actionable data insights. GPTW offers industry as well as client KPI trends, correlations, and recommendations
  • UKG Pro Skill: the UKG Skills Recency Index supported by its new partnership with Lightcast offering detailed, actionable skills data that goes beyond proficiency and adds in a recency measure.

The key benefits clients derive from investments in the UKG platforms are the ability to:

  • Bring modern, simple, and efficient experiences to their organizations, such as the manager hub and mobile life events
  • Reduce manual data entry, such as integrating the onboarding experiences to share people's data
  • Support global requests such as visibility and management of global payroll processes.

What’s Next?

UKG’s significant roadmap developments for 2024-2025 include:

  • UKG Ready will soon be launched into the German market for SMEs. Expect additional European payrolls to be added in 2024
  • GPTW light version coming to UKG Ready
  • Contingent worker management features and functionality
  • OneView payroll and ESS to be available through the UKG mobile app later in 2024
  • Expanding the use of its Bryte AI framework and Flex platform across the UKG Pro platform
  • Enabling workforce planning and strategic planning reviews that leverage skills capabilities and skill gaps, having recently announced its partnership with Lightcast in March 2024.

NelsonHall Perspective

UKG prides itself on making the “hard stuff simple”. It addresses some of the most challenging areas in HR, such as time and payroll for hourly workers, and it now offers this on a global scale. Uniquely, UKG is able to draw upon insights from its GPTW research globally. With these insights, its investments in AI through its product suite offer great potential to SMEs and mid- and large-sized organizations.

UKG’s products also offer significant potential for marketplace providers to “surface” where it counts. The UKG Bryte AI will increasingly be used to drive hyper-personalized experiences, enabling point solutions in its marketplace to be recommended based on individual needs.

Over the next few years, it will be interesting to follow how the AI insights offered in UKG Ready compare to that in UKG Pro. It is clear that UKG has the capability to deliver substantial insights to help clients develop future-proof workforce strategies as they grow from start-ups to mature organizations. The start of GPTW on the Ready platform will be the first step in this much anticipated journey.

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