By Matt Cicciari, Product Marketing Manager, Progress Software
To survive in today’s competitive business landscape, companies must find cost-effective ways to manage and optimize business processes and employee management. Several new IT trends have infiltrated the Human Resources (HR) industry in an effort to help businesses leverage technology to grow, but it often can be difficult to decipher which technology best fits the unique needs of your organization, as well as your most valued resource—your employees.
No one understands this better than integrated benefits, payroll, and Human Resources solutions provider Unicorn HRO. Today, Unicorn supports the HR needs of more than 800 domestic and international companies representing more than 3 million employees, but the company wasn’t always as technologically savvy as it is today.
In the 1980s, Unicorn maintained an on-premises solution that only addressed about 50 percent of its target market. The company needed to reach a broader audience by offering HR solutions that could be deployed more quickly and affordably while reducing the IT burden compared to a typical on-premises solution.
Unicorn turned to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) development platforms to build a comprehensive solution that could streamline performance and improve efficiency at an affordable rate to the company’s customers. Unicorn needed to build a single, unified solution for applicant tracking and recruitment process management, a Human Resource Information System (HRIS), performance management, and learning and compliance management. Moreover, Unicorn needed to develop a mutually beneficial application that best served the needs of its customers, as well as its internal needs.
A Win-Win Situation
Today, Unicorn leverages Progress Software’s OpenEdge SaaS-based application development platform to help both Unicorn and its customers do business with greater efficiency. The power of SaaS allows Unicorn to leverage a third party’s in-depth knowledge of software infrastructure so it can focus on developing robust business applications for its customers. In turn, these solution offerings allow Unicorn’s customers to focus on their core competencies, rather than maintaining business applications.
The scalability and flexibility of a SaaS application development platform accelerates time to market for Unicorn’s software upgrades. In fact, Unicorn migrated 42 clients from one product to another over a single weekend without a hitch. These quick and easy updates benefit both Unicorn and the company’s customers.
For example, Unicorn maintains the software and releases new software upgrades twice a year with updated federal, state, and local tax rates. SaaS helps Unicorn keep everything up to date by automatically upgrading all customers to the newest software version, ensuring every customer abides by the new tax rates. This, in turn, increases productivity in the IT department of Unicorn’s customers because IT staff no longer need to post information updates or back up the data each night.
One of the most significant benefits of using a SaaS application is the ability for your business to perform as normal even in the event of a disaster. Case in point: Unicorn has a large customer located in Mississippi whose five different locations within the city housing approximately 1,000 employees were wiped out during Hurricane Katrina. In any other situation, this customer could have lost everything, including all of its critical business information. Despite the circumstances, Unicorn’s service team kept that customer up and running. Unicorn was able to rerun its payroll so employees were not left without a paycheck during a stressful time. As a result, Unicorn’s customers have come to trust that the company offers dependable business continuity and disaster recovery options within its applications and services.
A Solid Investment
Leveraging a SaaS environment has allowed Unicorn to experience double-digit growth for the last five years without adding any significant cost of capital investment for its services. The cost to add clients in a SaaS environment is minimal and incremental. In fact, a SaaS client for Unicorn is worth three times as much as an on-premises client.
Unicorn isn’t the only one seeing the power of SaaS to allow products and services to be delivered via the Web. Some of Unicorn’s more traditional payroll customers typically incur costs for printing payroll information on a regular basis. However, by allowing these customers to deliver employee information electronically, they can all but eliminate the printing costs from their budgets, helping to increase profitability. SaaS software also reduces the total cost of ownership, because users do not have to purchase or upgrade hardware to use the product.
In short, SaaS-based technologies are a driving force behind improving efficiency, performance, and profitability of the most competitive HR departments. With benefits like these, it’s hard to deny that SaaS will continue to reduce risk and improve the way business gets done.
Matt Cicciari currently works for Progress Software (www.Progress.com), where he is the Product Marketing manager with worldwide responsibility for OpenEdge and SaaS and Cloud strategy. Progress Softwareis a global software company that enables enterprises to be operationally responsive to changing conditions and customer interactions as they occur—to capitalize on opportunities, drive efficiencies, and reduce risk. Cicciari brings more than 15 years of experience working for companies ranging in size from start-ups to global enterprises where he has worked extensively with customers to deliver SaaS and other solutions targeting the small to mid-size business market. Cicciari holds an MBA from Babson College and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from RPI. He can be reached via email at email@example.com