Ultimate Software Technology Review
Ultimate’s Ultipro solution comes with two options for data hosting: either the company hosts client data in its multi-tenant SaaS architecture (with all of the implied efficiencies and ease of upgrading), or the client can stores employee information locally. While Ultimate has made it clear that the cloud is the company’s ultimate (no pun intended) destination, unfortunately as a vendor, there are long-standing clients retaining the on-premises software license option—effectively meaning that Ultimate has to manage and run multiple instances of its software and therefore handle the potential complications that can arise from multi-product delivery.
System Integration Capabilities
When it comes to system integration, Ultimate describe their SaaS model as "open approach"; in other words the systems uses data exchange tools, such as Web Service APIs and Enterprise Application Integration tools to ensure secure integration. with 3rd-party software and legacy applications such as accounting software, ERP systems, 401(k) plans and benefit providers, etc. Ultimate also provide scheduling tools as part of UltiPro to enable customers to control inter-system data transfers while maintaining security at the point of data exchange.
Software Customization Capabilities
The options for customizing UltiPro exist mainly at the function level and might be more accurately described as system configuration or administration than customization of the actual program.
An example of this configuration capability is the option to tailor the appearance and content of the user interface, including "branding" the portal to match a specific style—a particularly useful tool in creating familiarity for the client company’s users. The content management tool allows for virtually unlimited portal content creation; including forms, documents, links to websites, corporate communications, and the ability to tailor that content according to individuals, roles, departments, etc. Further, a built-in visual editor allows content to be formatted easily and automatically translated into HTML for portal display. Personalization of the portal by and for individual users includes language preferences (English, Spanish, or French), date format, and placement/order of home-page content.
Still in the realm of “surface” customization, the conditional workflow engine is flexible, user-friendly, and designed to allow efficient and simple business process changes; including setting approval levels for change types and designation of approvers by individual and/or role. System administrators and authorized payroll staff can update business rules directly from the UltiPro portal, including rules for organizational levels, deduction/benefit plans, loan types, paid-time-off plans, and more. This role-based security protects the privacy of your workforce data by defining system access controls based on an individual's role within the organization.
However, while extremely useful, these functions don’t amount to true customization capability. A PaaS type (Platform-as-a-Service) visual software customization tool would offer more and the current options would not enable a business analyst to create new objects or new applications from scratch. Additionally, there is no indication of a whether a secure sandbox is available in which to test any alterations to functionality. Depending on your needs, such omissions may be significant. A visual toolkit would allow software customization without source code modification and permit such modifications to be uploaded as layers of abstraction between data logic and application logic. Without this option, potential customers are forced to either do without modification capabilities or opt for source code changes (which may result in impaired vendor support, increased system administration and complications with future software upgrades). Further, the lack of a PaaS type toolkit prevents business partners and ISVs (independent software vendors) from developing third party add-on products in a similar manner—a fact that may hint at why Ultimate Software does not yet offer an online ecosystem or third party programs.
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