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ADP Updates on UX, Talent Management & Automation


Last week I attended ADP’s 14th annual ReThink multi-national client event in Monte Carlo, where the theme was ‘Transform the Way the World Works’. The lineup of guest speakers included journalist and media figure Tina Brown, who shared themes from Davos (including the importance of restoring trust and gender equality in the workplace), former British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafazi. Here are my reflections on the business updates provided by ADP.

User experience updates

ADP highlighted enhanced user experience features across all of the service platforms for its employee portal, global time and attendance, payroll, and benefits, complimented with business insights through its DataCloud analytics offering and benchmarking capability, which enables its ~700k clients to understand their performance within their market size, industry, country, etc.

ADP provided an update on Global Cloud Connect (GCC), which will be generally available from June 2018. GCC is ADP’s simplified global HCM integration solution, with ‘bring your own data’ and ‘drag and drop’ data mapping capability, complete with audit control, dashboards, and prebuilt connectors to enable a simpler global payroll and HR infrastructure, and considerably reducing interface volumes and set-up effort. This was illustrated by a design partner client (a multinational nuclear energy provider), with 13k employees across 18 countries, who is planning to reduce its complex payroll integration landscape from 80 interfaces down to just 3 using GCC. Also highlighted was the fact that GCC circumvents the need to involve IT in revising functional specs and updating system tables, with data mapping updates being handled within the HR/Payroll team, saving time and reducing costs to maintain.

Talent management

Last month, ADP announced the acquisition of WorkMarket, a SaaS-based platform enabling organizations to manage their talent ecosystem in a simpler, more intuitive manner. WorkMaket provides the client with a single platform to support assignments and projects through labor pools, which sources freelance workers based on skill sets and desired capability.

The platform creates a marketplace of sorts, allowing workers (contractors, freelancers, and vendors) to submit their profile in consideration for active assignments. Further, the platform supports the end-to-end process, from sourcing through integration (with applications including SalesForce, ServiceNow and Workday to name a few), through to payments for contingent workers.

With WorkMarket, clients with high volumes of contingent workers (e.g. news media, consulting, etc.) can support their critical freelance population and gain visibility into their entire workforce – something traditional HCMs lack.  WorkMarket is loaded with the next-generation capabilities of today’s cloud systems, including analytics, automation, certified integrations, and mobile capability. It also supports IoT connectivity that can accommodate automatic assignment creation and sourcing of assignees; for example, in support of client system outages or ticket backlogs, where skilled resources are needed to address the issue for the business. Client users have seen significant improvement in the freelance process: one large technology client reduced their time to payment for freelancers from eight weeks to just eight days, significantly increasing the satisfaction and retention of key talent for future projects.

Automation update

ADP further emphasized its investment in cognitive, machine learning, AI, facial and image recognition, chatbots and virtual assistants and, longer-term, blockchain for payroll. ADP is also continuing to progress its RPA development: it currently has ~140 robots in process, with the goal of doubling that by end of FY19, and achieving a payroll process that is over 50% automated. ADP also hinted at what it’s calling ‘project Lifion’, essentially a next-generation HCM platform incorporating the innovations mentioned above. I expect this time next year we will hear a lot more on its progress.  

Client focus & successes

The event also featured several strong customer success stories, some of which are in-flight but are already delivering value to these organizations. Clients I spoke to pointed to ADP’s capability, depth and scale, speed, and agility as important attributes for them, but the features of their relationship with ADP most often mentioned were flexibility and partnership. ADP’s capability and depth are well documented, and their steady investments are driving the speed and agility clients need to support growing global businesses. However, ADP was not always known for its flexibility – in fact, some might argue that its rigidity was key to its delivery model of the past. However, this has clearly evolved. An example of a long-term partnership is Honeywell, who has extended its 10+ year relationship with ADP, selecting them to provide global payroll services for two new public companies, spanning 25+ countries each, with >20k employees combined.

Looking ahead

ADP has invested heavily (~450m in FY17 alone) in innovation that is providing clients with next-generation technology to support the changing workforce and transform the way work is done. Further, with acquisitions like WorkMarket and last year’s acquisition of The Marcus Buckingham Company’s StandOut talent management solution, ADP’s comprehensive portfolio of HR solutions and services is well positioned to support continued growth. 

I expect ADP will see solid adoption for WorkMarket by its current client base, and opportunities to cross-sell ADP solutions as well. Additionally, as ADP continues to enhance Global Cloud Connect and show more use cases, its already strong global payroll offering will provide many multinational companies with a compelling case for simplifying global payroll integration.

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