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Tokyo firm enters human capital management software race in U.S.

A Japanese vendor is set to launch its human capital management suite in the U.S., while ADP and Workday plan a single interface for multinational HR and payroll.

A Japanese company is launching human capital management software as its first product to be offered in the U.S.,...

adding a competitive twist to the busy market.

Works Applications Co. Ltd., which primarily sells products in Japan to companies with more than $500 million in sales, will begin offering human capital management (HCM) cloud software in the U.S. early next year, said Vikram Kashyap, a senior adviser with the Tokyo-based company. The move will intensify competition with vendors such as ADP, Oracle, SAP and Workday, which also sell to big organizations.

The product, called AI Works, uses machine learning to eliminate a lot of manual input of data, Kashyap said. The technology also speeds up and streamlines reporting, analytics, travel and expenses, and communications among employees, he said.

Human capital management will be the first part of an ERP suite to be sold in the U.S. Other components -- financials and supply chain, for example -- will be announced later, Kashyap said.

The HCM system will include the entire gamut, such as onboarding, payroll, management of benefits, recruiting, talent management, time and attendance, travel and expense, reporting and learning.  However, the company will use partners for some modules, Kashyap said during an interview at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.

Works Applications nudges opponents on pricing

Taking aim at future rivals, Kashyap said the HCM product will stand out in the U.S. partly because of its pricing model.

The company only charges a subscription -- not any implementation, configuration or other fees, he said. Works Applications does not have any implementation partners and maintains that a user does not need to hire one, he said.

He said vendors such as Oracle, SAP and Workday use consultants to help organizations implement their systems, which can make the costs unpredictable. "We don't have that issue," he said.

Human capital management will be the first part of an ERP suite to be sold in the U.S. from Works Applications.

He said the platform is built on fundamental concepts, including speed and reducing manual input of data. It also ensures that productivity tools -- spreadsheets, email, messaging, and copying and pasting certain data from a website or email -- are provided natively for the platform, he said.

E-meetings, document sharing and scheduling are some ways the product uses machine learning to reduce manual input.

During a demonstration, he showed how AI Works uses machine learning to produce reports. Users don't have to go into a reporting application and make a complex query, he said.

In a report on the highest paid salespeople, for example, he showed that a user can type into the system's search engine, and the system can list several thousand people who meet the criteria. With clicks, the system can filter by region, pay level or amount of sales produced, for example.

With the data, a user can create a spreadsheet showing information on total pay, tenure, base salary, bonus, commissions and stock options. A click will pull in previous years.

A user can add or cut information, comment on it or share it with colleagues, he added.

"We think some of these approaches are quite radical, and, hopefully, there will be customers in the U.S. who appreciate our pricing model, as well as our focus on user productivity," Kashyap said.

Workday HCM and ADP payroll to offer single interface

In other news, Workday and ADP are expanding their partnership to allow easier access to payroll and human capital management.

The software will allow use of Workday HCM and ADP payroll in one interface, instead of two separate user interfaces, said Barbry McGann, vice president of product strategy and management for payroll, time and absence at Workday, based in Pleasanton, Calif.

With new cloud integration technology, people will be able to enter and maintain information in one place, she said.

Right now, for example, users need to enter and validate HCM information in Workday, and then swivel over to a separate system to enter and validate payroll information, according to McGann.

The expanded partnership will create a seamless experience, she said. From one interface, users can enter all HCM and payroll information inside Workday, which is immediately validated and maintained inside ADP, she said.

"We are taking integration to a higher level," she said. "It is not just data exchange."

Workday offers payroll applications for the U.S., the United Kingdom and Canada, and another one for France is due in March. It also offers certified integrations with independent payroll providers, such as ADP, in about 110 other countries.

The new integration with ADP will be available in the second half of next year.

The integration technology is being initially targeted at large, multinational companies served by ADP payroll, McGann said. It will start with ADP, but other partners and vendors will get the capabilities in the years ahead.

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