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0404 Ultimate Software

March 30, 2004
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ccording to a book published in 2002 titled The New Nonprofit Almanac and Desk Reference, by Murray S. Weitzman, nonprofit organizations currently number more than 1 million and employ almost 11 million people, or about 7% of the entire U.S. workforce. Nonprofit agencies wield significant spending power in this country and are a serious force in the economy, but because they are accountable to donors and funding agencies, they have an even greater fiduciary obligation than public or private companies to operate as efficiently as possible by making wise spending choices.

One nonprofit group living up to that responsibility is the YMCA, one of the largest not-for-profit community service organizations in America. Totaling more than 2,500 U.S. facilities, a number of the branches are implementing a workforce management solution—Ultimate Software’s UltiPro—to increase efficiencies and lift their HR and payroll practices to more strategic levels.

The YMCA of Kansas City had been using a service bureau for both HR and payroll, but was frustrated by the fact that the data input into one system could not be merged with data in the other system, making any kind of consolidated reporting nearly nonexistent. Creating the most basic report required a one- to two-day manual manipulation of data. The YMCA desperately wanted a solution that would allow it to compare data between its 17 branch locations, but without the ability to control the information, that aspect of reporting never got done—that is, until October 2003 when the organization went live on UltiPro Workforce Management delivered through Intersourcing, Ultimate Software’s hosted model. Now the YMCA is leveraging the easy-to-use, powerful solution to fully integrate and automate its employee-related operations.

“UltiPro was technologically the most advanced product that we reviewed when we were looking for a new system, and it’s already reduced our 1,300-employee payroll processing time from a few days to a few hours,” said Paul Smith, CFO for YMCA of Kansas City. “I can use UltiPro’s technology to log on at home and access any information in the system, including business intelligence reporting that can help me pinpoint areas of excessive overtime or compare compensation by position. I can then e-mail that report to a manager in any of our 17 locations. Similarly, our managers and employees can use that technology to access information that is appropriate without phone calls to HR or e-mails to payroll. It all adds up. We expect to see significant overall savings.”

Intersourcing is an alternative for businesses like the YMCA that don’t want to purchase hardware or provide staffing to maintain their systems. With Intersourcing, companies can pay per employee per month for UltiPro’s comprehensive functionality, and Ultimate Software hosts the servers, performs system backups, and completes upgrades.

The Metro Atlanta YMCA has experienced its own substantial savings—this time, in efficiencies. The organization had been making time-consuming payroll modifications on Excel spreadsheets and doing without needed reports because the YMCA had separate HR and payroll systems for its 2,000 employees. Federal reports required hours of work, keeping the staff from accomplishing more strategic tasks.

Since implementing UltiPro in July 2001, Katie Carstens, vice president of human resources, said that the solution has helped elevate the organization’s workforce management processes. “When we switched to UltiPro, we were literally going from peanut butter to caviar,” she said. “UltiPro’s integrated reporting is phenomenal. To prepare the same federal reports that used to require hours of work, I now punch ‘Go’, and they’re done.”

The YMCA of Greater Richmond, Va., was similarly pleased with UltiPro’s ability to simplify what once were complicated processes for the agency. Due to seasonal weather changes affecting outdoor sports and summer camps, YMCA organizations like Greater Richmond are often challenged by a fluctuating workforce that is largely made up of part-time employees. These employees might work several different jobs in a single pay period, with different pay rates and at multiple branch locations, creating potential havoc for payroll, budgeting, and reporting. UltiPro manages the YMCA’s complex payroll because the solution supports multiple job codes at multiple pay rates for one person, maintaining paycheck accuracy and providing valuable information to use in labor distribution reports.

“We have many people on our staff wearing different hats – someone may spend five hours a week as a child care counselor, 12 hours a week as an aerobics instructor, and 8 hours a week teaching swimming classes,” explained Brent Williams, systems analyst for the human resource/payroll project. “We looked for a solution that would continue to give us the flexibility to manage this job/branch/pay rate matrix to pay our staff correctly and that would enable us to provide the associated labor time and cost information to our branch executives.

“As a nonprofit entity, the YMCA feels a responsibility to be a good steward of the resources at its disposal. Our staff members are our greatest resource, and UltiPro gives us the tools to maximize their effectiveness. We’ve had a dramatic improvement in our HR information storage and reporting with UltiPro. Since its implementation, the solution has reduced the amount of time our HR staff spends preparing reports, such as monthly retirement contributions, from days to hours. This has been a tremendous improvement to our operations.”

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