Ultimate Software Embraces Transparency

Vinay Bhagat
July 26, 2015

Ultimate Software Embraces Transparency

ultimate-software-svp-interview-2015-dcrtje7nju5vUltimate Software has truly embraced user reviews, scaling its presence on TrustRadius to 280 reviews for its UltiPro solution. Working with TrustRadius, Ultimate Software has invited all of its more than 2,800 customers to share reviews of UltiPro on TrustRadius. The HCM provider, which prides itself in delivering “People First” software and service, considers customer reviews a great way of measuring success. We spoke with Jody Kaminsky, Ultimate’s SVP of Marketing and Communications, about the positive impacts of embracing transparency.

What led you to embrace user reviews in such a strategic fashion?

For some time now, we’ve embraced social media as a platform. We see user reviews as an extension of social media and as a great equalizer. They hold a vendor’s feet to the fire and serve as a way to “fact check” the claims vendors make about their products and services. User reviews ensure that you’re authentic in your messaging and communications. We believe they’re good for the whole industry. They’re clearly good for buyers trying to determine which software will best fit their needs.

User reviews also create a level playing field for all companies. With reviews, you have an equal voice with a vendor, whether you’re a company with 100,000 people or with 300 people. I see that as a positive, as historically with ERP platforms, particularly on-premise solutions, larger customers would receive more responsiveness.

How are user reviews different from traditional reports and discussion forums?

Traditional software market reports tend to focus on product functionality. While that’s very important, when companies are shopping for software, they want to know what the end-user experience really is like. Is the company responsive with customer support? Do they provide good training options and easy access to this training? Responsiveness and customer support are typically the number-one and number-two reasons why people switch providers. What TrustRadius has done is move beyond pure functionality. You’ve brought visibility into other aspects of the vendor-customer relationship. It’s very helpful to hear directly from administrators and end-users.

User-review sites also facilitate an apples-to-apples comparison. With discussion boards, it’s very difficult to sift through and get a quantifiable, apples-to-apples view. Different vendors measure satisfaction in different ways. TrustRadius provides a really objective way to measure and compare vendors across all facets of the customer experience.

You’ve elected to embrace transparency and encourage all customers to review you versus just your known advocates. Why?

Our director of social media has been a strong advocate inside our organization for the value of transparency and authenticity. To us, the more users you can have expressing an opinion, the better for everyone. The more authentic the insights, the higher the level of confidence you can have. You should have no issue inviting everyone to participate. That paints a more accurate picture, and it’s positive for the marketplace and the industry.

What’s your process to triage issues and learn from reviews?

Our social media team reads every review. They create and share a summary of positive reviews, which helps to validate and build reassurance for the advancements we’re making in areas such as customer service, for example. Any concerning comments are escalated to our Services teams, who address specific issues and determine whether broader trends need to be addressed.

What impact have you experienced so far with buyers?

We’ve heard good feedback from prospective buyers who’ve researched user reviews as part of their decision-making process. We encourage the entire HR software industry to embrace transparency.

About the Author

Vinay Bhagat
Vinay Bhagat, founder and CEO of TrustRadius, is an entrepreneur passionate about tackling big problems. Vinay conceived TrustRadius after experiencing challenges when buying enterprise solutions at his last company. In 1999, Vinay founded Convio, the leading Software as a Services platform for nonprofits. In April 2010, Convio became a public company, and was acquired in May 2012 for $325 million. Prior to Convio, Vinay was at Trilogy Software and Bain & Company. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a Baker Scholar, an MS Engineering Economic Systems from Stanford University, and a MA Engineering Information Sciences from Cambridge University with First Class Honors. When he’s not working, Vinay loves spending time with his family, playing squash and racing cars.