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IronRoad: Using HR Cloud Software to Deliver Outsourced Services

Humble Beginnings

IronRoad is an HR outsourcing company that uses HR cloud software to deliver services to businesses. It began by providing HR and payroll services in 1997. According to CEO Billy Southerland, the company started with an idea and has grown through the years, working with mostly small to medium size businesses. IronRoad competes with the likes of ADP, Paychex, TriNet and a host of other firms catering to mid-sized and small business.

Southerland bought IronRoad from some folks who started the company and had other successful businesses but didn’t have time to manage the company. He paid $8,000 and he got a little bit of software that the company had acquired to be able to do the payroll.

We spoke with Southerland on theCUBE at Inforum 2018 – our third year doing this conference –  and he explained that he started with Infor on the payroll side and grew from there. IronRoad focuses on managing the lifecycle from beginning to the end of an employee’s tenure. “You name it and we do it for them so that they can go and focus on what they do,” said Southerland.  

HR for SMB

So let’s say you have an HR issue with an employee. Maybe they’re a little older and you’re concerned that I am going through the right steps giving that employee the right guidance and not exposing the firm to lawsuits. The client can call IronRoad and get some hands on advice from their experts on how to handle the situation and ensure that everything is documented and managed properly according to local governance and legal guidelines.  

This is increasingly important for small and mid-sized businesses with initiatives like the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) and other sticky items like personal time off (PTO) policies. Southerland told us, “I don’t know any employee, employer regardless of the size who’s not dealing with that, right? So the whole ACA compliance with Obamacare has been a tremendous boom for our business because people are looking left and right, how do we deal with this? What do we do? It’s so complex for them, they’re looking for experts to manage it.”

According to Southerland, healthcare is the number two line item right after payroll.

Why Infor HR Cloud Software? Q&A with IronRoad’s CEO

We asked Southerland about Infor’s software, how he uses it and why Infor? Here’s what he said about their early expriences:

“Most of the PEO software out there is fairly limited in what they can offer the employers…And so our CIO vetted five different systems a couple years ago. And in the midst of vetting those five different systems, we were introduced to Infor. As we began to see what this software could do, we started getting really excited. You talk about a differentiator in the workplace, nobody else has it. And so we started learning more and more the human capital management system for us, we started thinking, man if we could take this to employers, that have anywhere between 500 and 5,000 employees, this is a real differentiator for us. Nobody else in the PEO space has this software and it’s been a tremendous opportunity for us to take to the marketplace.”

Here are some of the other questions we asked Southerland with his responses:

Q. Tell us your impressions about Infor and it’s HR cloud software products. If I understand it correctly, you’re both a consumer and essentially a reseller of the services, which means you’re running on the Amazon Cloud so talk about your relationship there, why Infor, why the product, how does it compare?  

A. You know, for us, like I said, we vetted five different companies that we were looking at. And when we had a chance to look at the Infor proposal, the differentiator for us not only was the software, from our perspective, far and above better than anything else that we were looking at. They provided us with an opportunity since we were purchasing the software to be able to provide an in-tenant solution for current clients that Infor has. So an Infor client that looks at the software and says, hey, I want this, and yet they’re still outsourcing their payroll, now has the ability to buy the software and outsource the payroll to IronRoad. And so you’re taking the best in class cloud suite services from a human capital management system to the marketplace. And partnering with a company like Infor that really is a dream come true for us.

Q. So what makes you say Infor’s HR cloud software is best in class? I mean, Oracle has good software. You got SAP out there, Workday’s the hot company. Why is Infor better?

A. Yeah, I think for us, just the ease of the employer being able to utilize the system. You can have the best thing in the world and people are people are people are people, right? They got to be able to get on there and use the stuff. And so I think the ease of being able to just the user-friendly side of what Infor does. They certainly have every option you can imagine. The capability, the software is as good, if not better, than any. But the ability for people to pick it up quickly and be able to use and make it real for their small business, to me that’s the key, right?

Q. Is there an aha moment when you’re out there when you are pitching HR cloud software and services? And when you look up people and the processes they go through and they been doing it the same way for decades? So when you break through, how do you know you’ve broken through? What is it that you use to break through?

A. Yeah and for them, once we’re able to articulate what this system actually does, there is an aha moment. And it’s almost disbelief. It’s because there’s so many years of doing it the old way, right? And then they look and see it’s kind of like me looking at the software that your company’s created that was phenomenal, right? They’re looking at it and go, come on, really? It really does that? And it’s, yeah, it really does that. And we can do this different and you can go sell more widgets, right?

HR cloud software is becoming increasingly functional and easy to use. Here’s a series of snippets we pulled from our interview with IronRoad:

Keep in Touch

Thanks to Alex Myerson and Ken Shifman on production, podcasts and media workflows for Breaking Analysis. Special thanks to Kristen Martin and Cheryl Knight who help us keep our community informed and get the word out. And to Rob Hof, our EiC at SiliconANGLE.

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