ultimate software connections conferenceMy colleague Trish McFarlane and I are reporting in from the Ultimate Connections event in Las Vegas this week, and it has already provided an interesting look at what’s happening in the world of HCM technology. For a vendor event, it’s well-attended and certainly loved by the customers (approximately 1800 of the 2400 attendees are current clients). One of the biggest pieces of news on opening day was the new partnership between Ultimate Software and NetSuite.

What the partnership means

Traditionally NetSuite has been focused on other areas in the organization outside of human capital management. However, after NetSuite acquired TribeHR, it jumped into the HCM marketplace with both feet.

That brings about the question: so why partner with an organization like Ultimate Software if it’s already capable of offering HR software as part of its offering? The answer has to do with market focus.

The leadership teams at both companies are focused on the medium to large employers with their offerings, while TribeHR is mainly focused on companies with 200 or fewer employees. That means this should not compete with NetSuite’s small business offering and will allow Ultimate access to current NetSuite customers as well as companies looking for a broader implementation of HCM and business software with a pair of companies that work well together. Ultimate wants to focus on HCM and be a choice provider in that space, and this allows the company to serve customers seeking ERP support without losing the primary focus.

What NetSuite has to say about the relationship

Two specific comments about the new partnership were especially interesting, one of them focused on sales and one on outcomes.

One person asked how the companies plan to sell the tools. Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, mentioned that the companies have already begun integrating the sales teams in a way to make the transition seamless for prospects. Companies that talk with a NetSuite salesperson can get a preview of Ultimate Software and vice versa. They are trying to make the two sales teams communicate and interact so that it’s transparent for future customers.

When asked about what would be the best outcome from this integration, Nelson replied, “The best things are those that we haven’t thought of yet.” That’s a key part of what Ultimate Software focuses on in terms of its customers, since features are driven in part by requests from existing clients. While there are some obvious benefits to integrating the tools, I personally like that they are aware of the possibility that there are far greater opportunities that haven’t even been considered at this point.

If you’re interested in other news and information on HCM technology, check out some of these previous pieces written by Brandon Hall Group analysts, and stay tuned for our bi-monthly HCM MarketWatch, due out around the first of April.

— Ben Eubanks, Associate HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group
@beneubanks

Ben Eubanks

Ben Eubanks, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is an HR professional and industry influencer. His experience working as a leader in the human resources field has provided him with a broad range of experience encompassing smaller organizations, government contracting firms, and the nonprofit sector. He has hands-on experience with various HR disciplines, including recruiting, benefits, employee relations, and compensation.

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