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May 16, 2008

Berkshire Hathaway Company Uses UltiPro SaaS

CORT Business Services, a Berkshire Hathaway Company and a provider of business and residential rental furniture, apartment locating and relocation services, announced today that it’s enhanced efficiencies with Ultimate Software’s software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) model, “UltiPro.”
UltiPro has enabled CORT Business Services to leave its earlier multi-application approach of using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor for HR, a service bureau for outsourcing payroll, and an in-house manual process for time and attendance, company officials say.
The 2,500-employee, nationwide company has deployed UltiPro to benefit from one comprehensive system that can handle its core HR processes, including payroll, benefits administration, online benefits enrollment, and time and labor management, company officials say. CORT Business Services went “live” on UltiPro in July 2006. Since the deployment, CORT’s IT team has been able to redirect its time and resources to key business projects as Ultimate Software has the responsibility for hardware, system software, and ongoing system maintenance, company officials say.
Debbie Lansford, chief financial officer for CORT said that to accommodate their industry’s specific needs, company officials developed some of their own software for activities critical to running their business, such as inventory management. When CORT was considering potential HR solution providers, they wanted to ensure that their IT team would not have to support their new human resource management system (HRMS) and could focus on their core business applications, Lansford said.

She said that with her financial background and understanding of the rental industry, she sees the value in leasing software. Selecting UltiPro as SaaS, CORT did not have to make a large capital investment in a software license. Lansford said it really makes good business sense to let Ultimate Software handle the upgrades, maintenance, and the hardware.

Time management tools were another UltiPro feature that encouraged CORT to choose the solution, company officials say. Earlier, this Berkshire Hathaway Company manually collected the employee hours through their managers, which were then forwarded to their supervisors, company officials say. Once necessary approvals were obtained, the hours and rates were entered onto spreadsheets and funneled to a half-dozen offices, where they were compiled for payroll, company officials say. The process was time consuming, confusing, and prone to error because information was passed from person to person, company officials say.
Eileen Buckley, payroll manager for CORT, said that the most important benefit of UltiPro Time and Attendance is how it has made processes easier on their field managers, who spend much less effort managing employee time records compared with before.
Field managers can now log in and see their team’s year-at-a-glance attendance, or a manager can drill down to study a specific individual’s data. Sick and vacation time can now be submitted conveniently online, and thus managers give approvals in seconds and can cross-reference requests against paid-time-off balances.
Buckley said that prior to UltiPro, the company had 12 people working on the payroll process. Thanks to core UltiPro for human resource management and payroll processing and UltiPro Time and Attendance, as well as a restructuring of their internal processes, CORT has been able to cut that number in half because everything is automated, centralized, and better reporting is available, company officials say.
UltiPro has also enabled CORT’s human resources team to streamline benefits open enrollment, company officials say. Buckley added that employees can now log in and can update their benefits choices, if needed, on their own, and because they are responsible for entering their personal selections through self-service, there are fewer opportunities for error.
Greg Swick, chief sales officer for Ultimate Software, said that CORT has done an excellent job transforming labor management with UltiPro. The solution’s suite of features can help executives handle the entire gamut of employee-centric processes with a single software-as-a-service provider, Swick says.

Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
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