Introduction

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UKG Versus the Competition

As a merger of two leading companies in HR solutions, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) builds on 70 years of experience in People tech with their UKG Pro HR solution. The latter is their Core HR offering people analytics and benefits administration.

If you're ready to get a UKG demo, we suggest getting in touch for a look at the product and quote. Otherwise, read on!

Ratings

4.1

Ease of Use

Best For

Key Differentiator

Price

Custom Pricing

Free Trial

No

PROS

  • Super robust product, packing years of experience with HCM and Workforce Management technology 
  • Since they offer UKG Pro for HRMS and UKG Ready for workforce management, you could arrive at a combination of products that suits many of your HR needs from the same set of tools.

CONS

  • Compared to newer tools, UKG Pro and UKG Ready tend to miss a unique selling point or a specific focus on a certain type of business. While they work great for bigger companies in all sorts of industries, very niche operations might have a hard time adapting to the tool. 
  • Similarly, ​​UKG offers many solutions under one umbrella, so it's not the best fit if you're looking for only a handful of specific use cases.
Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

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UKG Review

Ultimate Software was mainly known for its core HR tech product, UltiPro. Now that they’ve merged with Kronos, UltiPro has been rebranded as UKG Pro. The new company behind it, the Ultimate Kronos Group, aims to combine HCM capabilities with robust people data and analytics. Further, thanks in part to the merger, the word is that the service delivery of the HR teams that use UKG has improved considerably. 

This combination of features and tools is what makes UKG a noteworthy mention in so many HR tech categories. Arguably, UKG Pro can be an HRIS, HCM suite, and HRMS. It has a payroll tool, which also relates nicely to its workforce management offering, UKG Ready. 

The UKG Ready solution, for instance, allows teams to effectively manage the entire time and attendance process. With UKG Ready, it’s easy to punch in and out, manually edit timestamps or change billing coding for different departments. This is a great solution for full comprehensive workforce management.

It’s also worth mentioning that the platform has an ACA compliance tool within the UKG Pro offering. UKG's ACA manager can help with filing compliance documents on your behalf, like 1095-C forms. This part of their tool includes features like a healthcare eligibility dashboard, automatic generation of forms, and pre-delivered reports for identifying ACA compliance.

UKG also offers payroll services for their Workforce Ready users. Aside from the software tools, you can get expert assistance with tax filing, garnishment processing, and distribution of checks and payroll documentation. 

UKG’s products and expertise have been tested throughout the years and built out to the point where they have modules for just about everything you could imagine: payroll, benefits management, onboarding, time-tracking, and countless other HR functions.

Who shouldn't buy UKG

UKG offers many solutions and modules within its platform. Hence it's not the best fit for companies in need of only a handful of specific use cases. For example, it has no standalone ACA module. Therefore, it is best for large or enterprise companies looking for an entire HR suite plus many other perks.

UKG Customers

Through the years, UKG has been trusted by organizations like Tesla, Marriott, Yamaha, Aramark, Puma, Sony Music, Samsung, Mammoth, Temple University, MGM Grand, The YMCA, The Salvation Army, and Feeding America.

UKG: HRIS with Abundant Features
visit UKG

UKG Key Features

  • People analytics: Gather intel on everything workforce-related and use it to make strategic, AI-supported decisions. 
  • Compensation management: UKG Ready can automate and streamline the entire compensation management process. This add-on supports annual, nonannual, cycle-based, and off-cycle merit and promotion-based salary increases.
  • People center: With UKG Pro, you get a complete picture of your entire employee population. This instant access to business intelligence can drive decision-making.
  • Benefits administration: Employees can learn about, compare, and enroll in the compensation plans of their choosing. This part of the platform also provides educational tools and personalized recommendations.

UKG has capabilities for:

  • Payroll
  • Benefits administration
  • Open enrollment and life events
  • Tax management
  • Talent management
  • Document manager
  • Onboarding
  • Compensation management
  • Succession planning
  • Mobile app (Android & iOS)

UKG Key Integrations

While their integrations are limited, UKG does have API capabilities. UKG’s products can integrate with tools like LinkedIn, Branch, Workday, Jostle, and many more. There are more integrations for other HR, payroll, ERP, patient information systems, and other back-office applications. If once you look into it you realize that they don’t integrate with a particular part of your tech stack, you should know that they sometimes provide custom solutions on a case-by-case basis.

UKG Pricing

Pricing for UKG is not available on their website. However, it is usually on a per-employee-per-month basis, either billed annually or monthly. You’d need to contact a sales representative for an accurate quote. However, our research has shown that licenses tend to start at $600.00 per year for every 5 users.

UKG is Best For

UKG Pro is mainly marketed toward companies with 75-500 employees, while UKG Ready supports companies with more than 500 employees. That being said, their software is used in all kinds of industries. Smaller teams looking for an HCM-based approach to workforce management can also do a lot with the software.

How has UKG Changed Over Time?

UKG Implementation

Implementing UKG Pro or Ready can take up to a few months for large organizations. They also have numerous third-party services out there to assist with the implementation of its software.

Now, although it can vary depending on if you’re implementing UKG Ready or UKG Pro, a typical implementation process can follow these six steps: 

  • Planning: Webinars, learning modules, timeline creation, introduction to the project manager.
  • Assess: Goal setting, provide necessary data, approve solution design, review best practices.
  • Solution Build: Build the system, integrate it with other systems, and administrator training.
  • Test & Clarify: Solution overview, internal training, workshops.
  • Deploy & Support: "Go live" additional training, transition to support team.
  • Additional Modules & Functionality: Implementation of additional solutions, for instance, the ACA module.

UKG Customer Success

Aside from having customer success managers for their clients, UKG has many resources in place for their users. They’ve got a resources & insights page, for instance, where you can browse ROI tools and ebooks or guides for each of their features. They also have a support community page where customers can get their questions answered by experts as well as community members.

About UKG

UKG stands for the Ultimate Kronos Group. As we’ve said, it’s the result of a merger that happened in April 2020 between Ultimate Software and Kronos. UKG is an American company and now they have dual headquarters in Lowell, Massachusetts, and Weston, Florida. Since the merger, the company is effective both in the workforce management and human resource management software and services space. 

After the companies merged, the former Kronos CEO, Aron Ain, became the CEO and chairperson of UKG. He stepped down as CEO on July 1, 2022, in order to become Executive Chairperson. He was succeeded by Chris Todd, who had been president of Kronos in 2018 under Ain. 

Of course, to understand the broader history of UKG one would have to look at that of each former company before the merger. 

Ultimate Software was founded in Weston, Florida in 1990 by Scott Scherr. They released the first version of their HRMS and payroll management suite in 1993. Of course, it was an on-premise tool back then. The company went public in June 1998.

Their main offering, UltiPro, was reintroduced as a cloud-based tool in 2002. This model allowed for even more growth for the company. In Q4 2017, they reported revenues of more than $940 million, they had more than 5,000 employees, and 4,100 customers in 160 countries. They were purchased by Hellman & Friedman Capital partners in 2019

Kronos Incorporated was founded in 1977 by MIT alumnus Mark S. Ain (Aaron’s brother). They were the makers of the world's first microprocessor-based time clock and made their first PC-based time and attendance tracking product in 1985. 

The time-tracking-focused company went public in 1992 and continued a steady record of profitability. They then went private again in March 2007, when it was purchased for US$1.74 billion by Hellman & Friedman as the lead investors and JMI Equity as the secondary one. 

Interestingly, the new company, UKG, has done some acquisitions of its own. The last one of these was in March 2022, when they purchased HR and Workforce Management suite Ascentis.

Company HQ

The company still keeps the headquarters from the two entities they were before the merger. That’s Lowell Massachusetts (Kronos) and Weston Florida (Ultimate Software).

Number of Employees

12,000+

Year Founded

Although the merger happened in 2020, it’s interesting to consider that Kronos Incorporated was founded in 1977 and Ultimate Software in 1990.

Amount Raised

FAQ

Is UKG Kronos? 

Kronos merged with Ultimate Software in 2020, resulting in the creation of the UKG company (Ultimate Kronos Group). Kronos Workforce Ready, the company’s flagship time tracking software product, rebranded as UKG ready.

Is UKG the same as UltiPro? 

Ultimate Software became the Ultimate Kronos Group as it merged with the company Kronos in 2020. UltiPro became UKG Pro, retaining much of the HCM software offering that made it so popular since the turn of the century with some added workforce management features. 

Does UKG do payroll? 

Whether it’s through UKG Ready or UKG Pro, their two main offerings based on the products they did before the merger, UKG is certainly able to process payroll. They offer the software tools to process it automatically, but they also provide expert assistance if needed.

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