Ascentis: Company Overview

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Ascentis Human Capital Management Software - Challenges

Challenges faced by Ascentis's marketing, sales, and customer experience, were not identifiable due to the lack of viable data. However, after a detailed analysis of the cons listed by its clients on software review sites, software customization issues, customer support, and multiple sign-on issues were identified as two customer-side issues faced by Ascentis. The research didn't find any ways the company is dealing with these issues.

Customer Challenges Faced by Ascentis

  • As inferred by the cons listed by its clients on software review sites, software customization was one of the recurrent issues faced by them.
  • Other recurring issues were multiple sign-on for different software of the company and customer support.
  • According to Connie H., Director of Marketing Resources Support at Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, "the interface is sometimes very slow to load for the HR admin" and "some of it's not intuitive."
  • Karen Sinette, Director of People Experience at Elevate97, says that "running reports is easy but saving in different formats and on drives away from the Ascentis server is not easy."
  • Anita S., from Business Health Solutions / Michigan Urgent Care & Occupational Health, says that "it is not a single-sign-on system" and "HR changes don't automatically update in Payroll."
  • A LinkedIn verified reviewer on Capterra says that "the transition was a nightmare" and "their team often did not understand our concerns and questions making the transition even more difficult than it needed to be."
  • Lance M, HR Director of Mid-Market, says in one line that "wish there were more resources available to learn about self-service."

RESEARCH STRATEGY

For this research, we started by doing a background study on company history. We learned that Ascentis is an established company with 35 years of industry experience. The company provides HR solutions and was recently named one of "2019's Best Places to Work" by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. We then went ahead and conducted a deep study of their press releases, to recognize any challenges the company identified surrounding marketing, sales, and customer experience. The press releases contained different instances related to the company's achievement and recent acquisitions of NOVAtime and Cincinnati Time Systems. However, no mention of any challenges were found associated with marketing, sales, and customer experience.

We next conducted an in-depth press search on the company, to identify any challenges being discussed in news and media associated with Ascentis' marketing, sales, and customer experience. We read articles related to Ascentis on news and media sites like HR Technologist, Field Technologies Online, Market Expert, Innovative Reports, Twin Cities Business Magazine, and PR Newswire. We found mentions of the company's recent acquisitions and expansion into new territories. We also found news reports on HR Software market, which informed us that the market is set to grow at a CAGR of 13% between 2019–2025. However, no article or post was found discussing any issues or challenges associated with Ascentis.

Due to the nature of the information required, our strategies were limited. Moving further, we scoured software review websites to find customer opinions on problems faced by them while using the Ascentis' software. We studied the reviews on sites like Capterra, Finance Online, Trust Radius, G2, CompareHRIS, and Software Advice. Most of the reviews were on a positive note. However, after close inspection of the cons presented by some reviewers, we identified that software customization issues and customer support were two recurrent issues mentioned by Ascentis' client. We have presented these findings in the above section.

We next went ahead to analyze the social media mentions of Ascentis. We hoped to find mentions of the challenges and problems faced by the Ascentis' customers. We found very few mentions of Ascentis, and they were mostly related to the news and achievements of the company. We didn't find any mention of any customer complaints or mentions related to the software on Ascentis social media channels. We concluded that not enough details are available related to the company's marketing, sales, and customer experience, to identify challenges associated with them.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Ascentis Human Capital Management Software - Press Search

Ascentis Human Capital Management Software (Ascentis) has received media coverage recently after being named one of the best places to work. The acquisition of various companies and the release of new products have also seen it feature in the media on several occasions in the last 36 months. The relocation from Silicon Valley to Minneapolis was another story that received significant media coverage. Links have been provided to the respective media articles, and the stories have been summarized below.

BEST PLACE TO WORK 2019

  • In June 2019, Ascentis was named by the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal as one of the best places to work.
  • This was in the Medium-sized company category. It was based on research by Quantum Research and the Business Journal.
  • Employees were surveyed on different aspects of the organization. These aspects included company culture, communication, leadership, and benefits offered.
  • The award recognized Ascentis' unparalleled dedication to delivering customer service and the huge commitment the company makes to its employees.
  • This story occurred recently and was selected because it appeared in a number of media stories at both a local and national level. It appeared in a range of finance and business media stories and publications.

ACQUISTION OF NOVATIME — ASCENTIS DOUBLES IN SIZE

  • In September 2018, Ascentis acquired NOVAtime. The acquisition saw the company nearly double in size as a result.
  • NOVAtime was based in Rancho Cucamonga, California. It specializes in developing software that allows companies to track employee attendance and the number of hours they are working.
  • Ascentis previously had 200 employees. The acquisition of NOVAtime sees the number of employee double to over 400.
  • Ascentis had partnered with NOVAtime in the six years before the acquisition. It is hoped that the acquisition will allow Ascentis to offer a broader range of services to its customers.
  • This story was selected because it received considerable media coverage on both a local and national level. It was also reported internationally in the United Kingdom.
  • The story also generated discussion online in several industry blogs and industry commentaries. It has also been noted in a range of databases, such as Crunchbase, that record financially significant information about companies.

ACQUISTION OF INTEGRATED TIME SYSTEMS

  • In April 2019, Ascentis acquired Integrated Time Systems.
  • Integrated Time Systems is a Wisconsin-based company that had been in the industry for over 70 years.
  • Ascentis recognized the reputation and dedication that Integrated Time Systems had to customer service over its history.
  • This acquisition was the third made by Ascentis in six months. It was reported as illustrating both the commitment and strategic investment that Ascentis has made to customer service and human resources' technology.
  • The purchase solidified Ascentis' presence and reputation in the Midwest.
  • This story was selected because it received considerable media coverage on both a state and national level.
  • The acquisition generated discussion in several industry blogs and commentaries and was noted in a range of databases, such as Crunchbase, that record financially significant information about companies.

LAUNCH OF NT8000

  • At the start of October 2019, Ascentis launched its NT8000 Smart Time Clock.
  • The product has been described as revolutionary, by a range of media outlets.
  • The premier smart clock will enable organizations to "control efficiency, cost and ensure compliance".
  • It will enable employees to easily access their information securely. The NT8000 will also streamline and strengthen the employee experience while reducing user error.
  • Protection from litigation, claims, and arbitration are some additional benefits offered by this new product.
  • This story was selected because it has received considerable coverage and discussion in a range of media articles. It is also generating considerable discussion in the industry because of the revolutionary nature of the product.

RELOCATION TO MINNESOTA

  • Ascentis was originally located in San Mateo, California. In July 2018, it moved its headquarters to Minnesota.
  • Ascentis believes that strong technology talent exists in the Midwest, which they intend to utilize.
  • They also believe that many medium-sized businesses' needs are not being met. The relocation will enable Ascentis to better meet the needs of this group.
  • The move had been signaled in the media for some time following the hiring of several executives in key positions, who originated from the Midwest.
  • This included Brian Provest, who was appointed CEO. He has over 20 years of experience in Minnesota business technology services.
  • This story was selected because of the coverage it received in the media, on both a national and local level.
  • Events leading up to the announcement, including the appointment of executives from the Midwest to key positions, added to the amount of coverage the relocation received in the media, making the relocation a significant event in the history and development of the company.
  • The relocation to Minnesota is frequently mentioned in other media stories about Ascentis, indicating the significance of the event. Examples of this include the media stories around the subsequent acquisitions made by Ascentis.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We extensively searched a range of industry publications and media stories to determine the articles that had been written about Ascentis in the last 36 months. We compiled a list of these articles. To determine five of the top articles, we considered the number of articles generated by each of these stories and the type of coverage (local, national, or international) received. We also considered auxiliary sources such as financial databases and industry blogs, commentaries, and reviews. Several financial databases had incorporated these articles into the information they presented on Ascentis. This illustrates the significance of the article and the level of engagement by those reading it. Some articles had also generated discussion in industry blogs and commentaries, further illustrating the importance of the story and level of engagement. We considered creating a significant impact on the industry and generating discussion as being relevant mechanisms to evaluate whether the article could be considered one of the top five articles in the last 36 months.

We then scanned social media to determine the amount of discussion and engagement that each story had generated. Unfortunately, there was almost no discussion at all on social media regarding Ascentis, except for the company generated stories that had little public engagement.

By cross-referencing all the aforementioned sources, we were able to determine the five stories that had generated the most press coverage and engagement concerning Ascentis. The detailed reasoning for the inclusion of each of the individual articles has been included in each respective section. We have also included links to other examples of the press generated by each of these stories to support its inclusion as one of the top five.


Part
03
of three
Part
03

Ascentis Human Capital Management Software - Growth History

Factors which affected Ascentis growth over the past decade include ease of use, excellent customer service, new architecture transitioning the solution to SaaS, and deep support for its users with five different channels/types of information. In 2017, Ascentis growth was boosted by the growth acquisition funding it received from Summit Partners and its acquisition of NOVATime, Cincinnati Time Systems and Integrated Time Systems.

Ten Years Ago — 2009

  • An examination of the Ascentis Website from 2009 shows that the company was a small software company on the west coast.
  • They had three offices with siloed functions.
  • The HR Division was located in Seattle, WA.
  • The Payroll Division was located in San Francisco, CA.
  • Payroll Customer Support services worked out of Sacramento, CA.
  • A search of news articles about Ascentis in 2009/2010 showed no items.
  • The number of clients was not mentioned on their website.

Five Years Ago — 2014

  • By 2014, Ascentis had four factors contributing to its growth. They are ease of use, excellent customer service, new architecture and SaaS offering, and deep support for its user with five different channels where users could seek information.
  • In 2014, Ascentis advertised that it had several solutions that were used by more than 1,500 clients in various industries.
  • Ascentis stated on its website that ease of use and excellent customer service were two factors that led to a high client retention rate.
  • The company moved its solution into the cloud and changed its solution into SaaS. SaaS proved to be attractive to many companies as it could be reported as an operating expense, not a capital expense.
  • Ascentis also offered free webinars on its website to assist users in using the product.
  • In 2013 Ascentis held a user conference/university for its customers. User Conferences are popular to software uses because it not provides insights into how other companies are using the software, but it also supports networking among users.
  • The company offered two ways for potential customers that were considering a purchase to make decisions. The first was a solution demo which provided an in-depth view of the solution. They also had a link to a formula which would allow a company to calculate how much money it could save by installing their solution.
  • Ascentis also offered a Master Class in Health Care Reform to assist companies in the Health Care vertical to understand the impact on HRM systems.
  • Ascentis also acquired Starfield TMS, a small-time management system in Texas.
  • The success of those activities became apparent when, in 2014, Ascentis product bookings were up by 59%, total recurring revenue was up by 45%, and total revenue grew by 42%.

Two Years Ago — 2017





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