This is the fun part

Andrew McCarthy
Vice President, Market Strategy

1400 people in a HUGE room at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, presentations and demonstrations ready, flaky hotel Internet connections double-checked, and all the work of the development team dialed and tuned up.

As a software company with 2300 customers and more than 7 million people records in the cloud, we have a lot of work waiting for us every day. There are enhancements to build, tests to be done, configurations to configure…. To put it in perspective, the team delivered more than 400 enhancements to UltiPro in 2011 alone.  Not to mention keeping a complex product available and performing 24x7x365.

The Connections conference this year had hundreds of sessions devoted to the capabilities that run organizations, from recruitment and payroll to workforce management and performance. But the fun stuff, the really fun stuff, is when we get to try something completely different.

And on Wednesday, we had the pleasure of announcing two things I’m personally really excited about. The first has been written about quite extensively, but suffice it to say we’re just getting started in our partnership with Yammer and the connection of the HR system of record with the new social fabric that is taking hold in companies around the world. The way we work is changing, and the opportunities to build business applications that are more like Amazon and Facebook, and less like big calculators, is huge.

People First
Just as important was the demonstration of our new tablet and mobile applications.  A lot of great thinking has gone into their design, and it all goes back to our focus on People First.  Building apps for an entirely new device gave us the chance to start with new ideas: how can we help people at work AND still get all the administrative work done…. Not a simple challenge. But the idea, once you get into it, is captivating.

You see employees don’t think in terms like requisitions and performance reviews, so giving them applications like that, well, is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. But people do think about things like goals, feedback, and opportunities.  And most of all, as everything social has shown, they like to collaborate with each other.

So our tablet applications are designed around that simple idea. That by helping people in organizations do what they most want to do—their work—we can do a much better job of administering the business AND understanding individual and organizational performance. As a result, managers have visibility into how the team is doing today, and people can find answers to questions and solutions to problems.

Like I said, this is the fun part.

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