Ultimate Software's Blog

Unpacking the “Global Customer”

I am often asked by colleagues, both inside and outside of Ultimate Software, about our “global” customers. The inquiries vary from understanding the nature of Ultimate’s global expansion and local capabilities to understanding more about the framework and challenges of a global organization. I generally ask a few clarifying questions—because, the truth is, all global organizations are not the same!

We simply cannot lump multinational organizations together when their talent, HR technology, and business needs can vary so dramatically. At Ultimate, we have customers who use UltiPro® as their only HR solution for all of their talent, HR, payroll, and people-reporting needs across the globe; others who use UltiPro as a single source of truth about their employees, for consolidated reporting in conjunction with local solutions; and still others who use UltiPro for global talent management worldwide and consolidated reporting. Some want their employees to use UltiPro in the variety of languages offered, and some have a global business language of English. The combinations and business drivers are myriad, yet by asking a few simple questions, we can all advance our understanding and communication of what it means to be a global organization, whether we’re headed there ourselves or not.

I like to think about global organizations in four general profiles that roughly describe their HR technology objective, knowing that, for each one, going global is a process and, at any moment, a company may be transitioning between profiles.

  1. Consolidated People Reporting Worldwide
  2. Global Talent Management Processes
  3. Engaging Local Users with a Single Global System of Record
  4. Complete Global HCM with Payroll Connector

Consolidated People Reporting Worldwide

In the case of the first profile, these organizations are usually beginning their global journey and their primary objective is to understand their workforce, people counts, labor costs, and demographic trends to support organizational planning. Generally, U.S.- or Canada-based administrators interact with global HR technology, and robust reporting and openness to import and export data are crucial for these businesses.

After gaining a general understanding of their workforce around the globe, organizations are ready to gain a deeper understanding of their people, and so roll out performance, compensation, and succession management processes that are standardized for their organization and fit profile two.

Global Talent Management Processes

In this case, organizations need some localization and local support to succeed, and local business leaders, as well as administrators, are common HCM system users. Profiles two and three often blend into each other as more local users, namely employees and managers, get system access for performance evaluations, goal updates, and compensation plans.

Engaging Local Users with a Single Global System of Record

Similar to profile two, organizations in profile three have made the decision to use a single system of record worldwide and have extensive end users, particularly employee usage that, in many parts of the world, means mobile and kiosk-ready applications. Language translations are also critical in order to engage local users and ensure technology adoption.

Complete Global HCM with Payroll Connector

Finally, an organization deploys a single HCM solution for all of their people and people management needs worldwide, including payroll (whether calculated directly or through a partner) to get a comprehensive view of employee and organizational performance, productivity, and costs. These customers have standardized their people processes while respecting local requirements, and, increasingly, their people access the HCM solution on the device and in the language of their choice. Consolidated reporting remains crucial for all profiles; however, local regulatory reporting becomes important for the latter two profiles, as does extensive configurability.

Maybe you’re preparing for your own global journey or simply expanding your global awareness. Either way, next time you think about a typical global HCM technology user, remember to consider the organization in terms of their global objectives and profile, so you know you’re all speaking the same language!