The SaaShr’s 5th Annual Partner Community Workshop was held in Philadelphia, PA on September 19-21, 2012. Schellman Principal, Scott Zelko and I (Chief Marketing Officer, Avani Desai) attended as the Diamond Sponsor of the event. The conference was attended by over 150 SaaShr customers and business partners. SaaShr, a Kronos Company, is a provider of Software as a Service (SaaS)-based workforce management applications with a major focus in Human Resources (HR), Payroll, and Time and Labor Management. The conference had several content-packed sessions which focused on implementation, support, sales, and marketing strategies, and new this year, emerging topic areas, such as social media use and regulatory / contractual compliance.
Wednesday marked the official start of the conference. The conversation was lively as the attendees discussed with us various types of compliance reporting that they either perform or are being asked to perform; specifically SSAE 16 examinations. The attendees were very interested in what could lie ahead in their industry, which they described as an environment that is compliance heavy, under continuous scrutiny and intertwined with customer, business partner, and legislative requirements. We discussed some of the benefits of compliance reporting – meeting customer audit and compliance requirements, forging business partnerships, building trust with current customers, third party assurance, and competitive advantage. The attendees agreed and a CEO of an HR Service Bureau commented “An unqualified SSAE 16 report allowed our company, a small player in the market, to compete in the field with some very larger competitors.”
One of the highlights of the conference was when I had a chance to speak to the attendees during the Sponsor Circle. I discussed that companies today increasingly rely on the services of outsourced providers to perform certain tasks or functions related to their business. This is evident in the growth that the attendees have seen in their own companies – an average of over 10% annually. However, the inherent risk a user organization assumes in outsourcing business functionality is the dependence on the service organization’s capability to deliver services. I mentioned one efficient way for user organizations to get comfort and help mitigate these risks, is require service organizations to obtain third-party assurance concerning their internal control environment. Accordingly, service organizations should get ahead of the curve and be proactive by preparing for the assurance reports before they are asked. This resonated well with the attendees, as they thought about supplementary ways to compete in the market.
As the conference wrapped up, my favorite quote was made by an attendee who stopped by the Schellman booth and asked questions about our services. I mentioned SSAE 16, and he immediately said, “I need to get one of those Sassy 16’s done –the report knows it adds value, it is inevitable in today’s environment, it can help me grow, and also mitigate risk, so it has the right to throw a little bit of attitude around.” Point well taken.