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Sony Music finds HR Solution with Ultimate Software

Monday, March 23, 2009
Sony Music finds HR Solution with Ultimate Software
When Sony Music Entertainment Inc., the recording company that numbers Billy Joel, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake among its glittering roster of musical artist clients, formed a joint venture with another music entity--it made for some major HR challenges.
Specifically, the two organizations had different enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems at work, each with vastly different HR systems.
After initially trying to roll Sony Music Entertainment's HR data into the other company's existing ERP,  HR leaders ultimately decided it would be more efficient to "go out on our own," says Irene Hasiotis, HRMS manager at Sony Music Entertainment(sonymusic.com), headquartered in New York City.
"To be honest, we wanted to be masters of our own data," Hasiotis explains. Sony Music wanted something much less complicated and easier to manage than the ERP system they were using, so the HR team set out to find a single, integrated human capital management (HCM)solution delivered through a hosted, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. In September 2006, after reducing the list to three vendors, the team chose UltiPro® from Ultimate Software (ultimatesoftware.com) as the company's new HCM platform. With Ultimate Software's SaaS model, Sony MusicEntertainment doesn't require any internal IT support - a major plus, Hasiotis says.
According to Greg Swick, Ultimate Software's chief sales officer, Sony Music Entertainment's organizational goals included improved efficiencies with employee and manager self-service, more robust reporting, global reporting capabilities, and broader functionality inthe areas of compensation, benefits, and strategic employee management tools.
"Sony Music wanted to deploy rapidly, while it was also very important to them that the change be transparent to employees," Swick says. The deployment began in November 2006, and by May 1, 2007, the UltiPro application was up and running.
"Senior management was surprised we could do it that quickly," Hasiotis says, adding they fully supported the move to UltiPro. "It was seamless to them when employees got their first paychecks with the new system. A casual observer wouldn't even know we had made theswitch."
While other companies have required a year or longer to implement an HCM platform, Sony Music was able to adopt it more quickly, needing just six months for implementation. Hasiotis notes that the internal Sony team working on the project received accolades fromexecutives, who were impressed by how smooth and efficient the rollout was.
"Ultimate's resources were great, and their staff is very dedicated," she says.
Sony Music Entertainment is using UltiPro's self-service for managers and employees, as well as benefits open enrollment functionality over the Web. Hasiotis says the company is happy with the Web feature set, including giving employees access to their own information,the ability to print their W2 forms, and more.

In fact, using UltiPro, Sony Music offers employees a 24/7 self-service portal where they can not just view personal information, but also can update contact information, beneficiaries, life events, and enroll in benefits online (including the annual open enrollment process). Hasiotissays that employees find UltiPro's self-service interface intuitive, logical, and easy to navigate - which means a very minimal learning curve for all end users.
"For us, it's definitely a better, faster and cost-efficient way to manage our HR data," Hasiotis concludes. "It is exactly what we wanted in an HCM system."
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