The Era of the IT Executive: 25 CIOs Speak Their Minds
Executive Vice President
How does your vision of product development and IT support your company’s core values?
We have nine Guiding Principles that steer decision-making and culture at Paycor. Product Development and IT support these values by taking care of our clients and each other. Their role in that is listening. We encourage every software developer to observe or speak with clients and colleagues who are using tools they have created. We solicit our clients’ feedback right from within our software, as well as through live observation sessions in our usability lab. Client input drives our software development roadmap. It’s a great way to learn and live our values at the same time.
Onboarding is a great example of our client-driven how we listened to clients. Clients told us they wanted a more efficient onboarding experience. We met that need with our new onboarding software and saw success: in the first 45 days after launching, we exceeded our financial expectations for the entire year.
Our phone and electronic support is important to us as well. We are interesting in that we don’t consider ourselves a call center, but a big part of our business is customer service. Our technology systems need to support that.
Customers want a better experience for themselves and their employees. It’s not just about helping our clients be more efficient in their business. It’s about treating our clients the same way we treat our own employees.
How do you correlate business risk back to IT?
We regularly inspect technical and other environmental risks to our business. We even engage third-party auditors. In the business of handling companies’ HR and payroll matters, nothing is more important than ensuring we are “securing the borders” and protecting data. A more prominent risk to our business and our clients is compliance. The Affordable Care Act is bringing additional reporting and tracking requirements to our clients. Product and IT leadership play a role in internally evangelizing the “why” behind the programming changes needed to help clients comply with such changes.
What is the relationship like between IT and the business partners?
Paycor develops software for both our clients and our internal employees. We have a traditional IT function, but we also have a large application development organization. Overall, we have 180 people in Product Management, Product Development and IT. We must be a strategic contributor and collaborator in all of Paycor’s business objectives. We convene in cross-functional initiatives on a daily basis. For software development specifically, we use the Agile methodology. Teams are encouraged to listen to clients and internal team members while seeking the most viable and valuable solutions.
How does data collection drive productivity?
We manage a lot of data, including 75,000 or more web transactions per hour. The data we have is clean and accessed regularly. So the most important metric for us is speed. Response times need to be lightning fast to provide an optimal user experience.
For new products and services, we look to numbers as well. We build financial models with expected revenue and assumed expenses. Once a new product is launched, we hold ourselves accountable to the model, watching for variances, and tweaking along the way.
For efficiency-related IT efforts, we target an expected return. We’ve recently rolled out Cloud Coach, a project management tool that gives better insight into our client implementation process. In early 2015, we’ll roll out Salesforce.com to our client support team. Both of these third-party tools are expected to increase productivity of our teams, but more importantly, to allow us to focus on high-value, personal-touch activities.