HRTech Conference ‘19: Vendor Highlights and Seminar Sound Bites

In keeping with tradition, the annual HR Technology Conference (#HRTechConf) did not disappoint. Four full days is barely enough time to cover the Expo Hall, Keynote Speakers, Breakout Seminars, Networking Events and 1:1 Vendor/Advisor Meetings. We especially look forward to attending each year so that we can bring you the highlights and recap below. As always, we look forward to hearing from you and helping your clients navigate this endless maze of technology vendors. Enjoy!


BambooHR – We have long been a fan of this standalone HRIS vendor that is focused on SMB space and they had some pretty interesting information to share.  Most notably, they recently acquired Trax Payroll, which moves them more into the HCM category. We met with Todd Grierson, Director of Demand Generation who said that they are still working through the process to fully integrate the two systems. However, over the past several years, he noted that they’ve supported roughly 1,000 mutual clients. In other words, the two companies/systems are no strangers to each other. BambooHR is a much larger organization than Trax and so the focus in the immediate future is to build out the foundation of Trax to scale and support a larger number of clients. Until this is well underway, BambooHR is showing restraint in pushing hard on selling the full HCM suite. We see this as a good marriage as the two systems will complement each other and enable clients to have more of an “all-in-one” solution. BambooHR still partners with vendors on the benefits administration side.

Jellyvision – Jellyvision is a robust, interactive decision support platform which we have been monitoring for several years.  While we have always appreciated their engaging approach to decision support, there has always been a cost hurdle to clear for many of our clients.  We met with Chad Schneider, Director of Channel Sales and he shared some exciting news with us – that Jellyvision has created a DIY model which brings the price point down a good bit, making it more affordable for the SMB prospects and clients on your radar.

VibeHCM – VibeHCM is a full suite, HCM/payroll provider with a UI that is unlike any other (in a good way!). They acquired payroll company ECI about 18 months ago, so when we met with Susanne Bowen (CEO) and Darrell MacMillan (Sales Exec Midwest) we had a chance to catch up on the progress they’ve made to merge the two platforms/client-base. For the most part the transition is complete, but even more exciting than that is the fact that are now accepting clients under 500 lives and will allow clients to choose modules a la carte to a certain degree. It was great speaking with Susanne and we look forward to reconnecting with Vibe in the near future for an updated demo, etc.

Empyrean – Empyrean is a complete/standalone Benefits Administration platform that has historically serviced the larger end of the market with full outsourcing services (call center, COBRA admin, bill reconciliation, etc). We met with Jennifer Barr and Chris Knight (both Directors of Business Development) and they gave us an overview of their Pilot Plus decision support tool which enables employees to make decisions based off their own personal claims data (for an add-on fee). They’ve integrated with a third party organization to import this data, securely of course. We will continue to monitor the roll-out and progress of this feature. Empyrean’s target market starts at 300 lives and base pepm includes a video library, 5 EDI feeds, a payroll integration and basic decision support. ACA, COBRA and Call Center are add on fees. 2 year minimum term preferred.

Ascentis – Ascentis is a full suite, HCM/Payroll provider and they shared some interesting news in that they can offer their HCM solution with our without payroll, which is a differentiator and something that often allows them to get a foot in the door for clients who aren’t able to change payroll vendors at the get go. When we met with James Edwards, Partner Development Manager, he updated us on their 2018 acquisition of Nova Time about a year ago and also shared some news on the marketing front in that they have rebranded several aspects of their platform to freshen some things up.

Alight/HodgesMace – Alight has traditionally been focused on the Enterprise side of the market, offering a Complete/Standalone Benefits Administration platform. We were excited to hear that they recently acquired HodgesMace/SmartBen which is focused more down market (e.g. 500+). We spoke with Josh Welch, Health Strategy & Solutions Leader, about the recent acquisition and he shared that there are still resellers that exist who have clients much further down market. We look forward to continuing the dialogue and monitoring how the newly formed organization is doing.

Saba – Saba is a Standalone Talent Management solution which historically focused on the enterprise space.  In order to service smaller clients, they acquired Halogen Software back in the spring of 2017, and at this year’s HRTech we learned that they have expanded their global reach through the acquisition of a UK/Europe based talent acquisition/talent management and learning experience platform. In speaking with Karen Williams (EVP Product Strategy, previously Chief Product Officer at Halogen Software), she said that this rounds out their product offering since Halogen was/is focused on the SMB space and Lumesse now gives them more of a global presence. We have historically been impressed with their solution for clients who have a payroll/HRIS in place and are looking for a more robust talent management solution to plug in (they’ve partnered with Jobvite to offer a full ATS solution as well).

iSolved – The “Mojo” user-interface (UI) of iSolved continues to make a big splash to enhance the employee experience. This user-interface, from what we know sits on top of the core HCM system and the data integration is limited to some degree, which iSolved is aware of and constantly evolving. Currently, they announced that Mojo has integrated with their learning module so we look forward to seeing future developments.

Trusaic (formerly known as FCCI, First Capitol Consulting) is the newly branded name and face of FCCI. They are a standalone ACA provider and have been on our “shortlist” for years. They continue to offer the same team/technology, but they felt a name change was necessary  because “FCCI” limited them to being just a “consulting” company when they offer much more. For example, they offer additional auditing services and technology to track data for compliance. Gregg Kasubuchi, VP of Sales has been our go-to guy!

Paycor – Paycor offers a full payroll/HCM system that takes a best in class approach to their offering. Paycor is rolling out a new workforce insights / analytics reporting system.  The new UI will be more intuitive and interactive, and the search functionality will have predictive capabilities.  Ultimately, they want to be able to report on any field that is in the system and a new data warehouse is being built to accommodate this.  They’re expecting this to be ready for late Q1. In our opinion, predictive analytics continues to be a hot topic across the industry!

OncoreHCM – OncoreHCM partnered with technology platform Teemwurk several years back to offer a full suite HCM solution geared towards the SMB market.  The UI was simple and intuitive and the price was right.  They could also offer standalone HRIS/ben admin which is a differentiator.  Shortly after returning home from HRTech, Oncore announced that as of 12/1/2019 they will be moving the servicing of all accounts directly to the folks at Teemwurk (the original company who built the platform). We are staying closely aligned with them on the latest developments and how the change will impact sales/operations going forward.

Start Up Companies – The “Start Up Pavilion” hosted about 60 vendors, many of which were AI-focused, particularly around engagement or recruitment, we’ve highlighted a couple below:

People Element: They have focused on end of week surveys, which are anonymous, and get two questions answered: How was your week? How does next week look? This offers a simplified way of engaging EE satisfaction. The admin has a Reporting dashboard available for departments to gauge outlook, attitude, and overall EE satisfaction the workplace. It is a little pricey at $4 PEPM

Perfect Coaches: Offers a different approach to mentorship, career development, and employee engagement. It supports methods for internal or external coaching through AI and real people chat options. It mixes immediate feedback needs with modern technology and/or one on one consultation. Additionally, learning tips are delivered which focus on different areas of development chosen by the employer and/or employee.


Opening Keynote by Barbara Corcoran – From the hit TV show Shark Tank, Barbara gave helpful tips for how employers (your clients) can attract and retain talent in a tight labor market.

Re-Imagining HR in the Age of AI – This session illustrates how HR think of creative ways to leverage in to attract and retain talent.

Emerging HR Trends from Gartner’s Hype CycleThis session gives an overview of the technology “hype cycle” and where current trends (AI e.g.) fall within that cycle.

Using the Vendor Demo to Help You Make the Right Software Decision Learn helpful tips in this session overview for making the most of the unavoidable demo.

Ideas and Innovators in HR Panelists go round-robin style and spend just 10 minutes each talking about their latest innovative ideas in HRTech.

The Future of Talent Management These panelists talk about what the future looks like for managing talent, very interesting perspective!

Closing Keynote: Reinventing Jobs: Automation and the Future of Work This session explains the buzz around the “Future of work” and what that entails.

Stay tuned for future blog articles where we’ll dive deeper into the content of the breakout sessions we attended, as well as roll out a new blog series on the “6 Questions You Should be Asking When Updating Your HR/Payroll Technology”!



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