Life @ ADP

Season 2 Episode 4: Let's Talk #ADPTech

Episode Summary

In this episode, Lohit Sarma, Senior Vice President of Product Development within our Global Product and Technology team, shares the impact of what ADP does, its tech transformation, and why now is an exciting time to join #ADPTech.

Episode Transcription

Kate: [00:00:08] I'm going to jump right in here because our guest this month is absolutely phenomenal. He's someone who I truly admire here at ADP. So, without further ado, because Ingrid, you have not met him yet. I don't think. You know, I'd like to introduce you and our listeners to Lohit Sarma, who is a Senior Vice President of Product Development within our Global Product and Technology team here at ADP. So, Lohit, welcome to the podcast.

Lohit: [00:00:46] Well, thanks for having me, Kate. Thank you for those really kind words and super excited to be here. Ingrid, nice to meet you. And congratulations on the success that the POD has been having. And thanks once again for having me.

Ingrid: [00:01:00] Hi, Lohit. Thank you, and yeah, it's super nice to have you here. Super nice to meet you. I have heard so many wonderful things about you. So, the honor, it's mine. And yeah, I know for a fact, when I first started here at ADP, you were leading some really cool tech projects here, but why don't you share with me and the audience a little bit about your career journey here at ADP?

Lohit: [00:01:28] Yeah, absolutely. So, my journey at ADP actually started with Lifion so in New York City, we were building Lifion, we started it in about 2015, 2014 is when I came in and we started looking into the problem, the space and the problem at hand. And we started Lifion around 2015. Early days, I was responsible for building out what ended up becoming the first local HCM platform within the industry, especially the enterprise space. And from there I transitioned to running the GPT org within Lifion, so we kind of scaled up the org to close to about 700 associates. We launched the product in about six countries, and I think the time of when I stepped out of Lifion, they were close to about 700 associates, extremely proud of the work that we did, at Lifion and the team and the work that the team continues to do today as well. They were able to we were able to attract talent from big tech, carve out a really niche brand for ourselves in New York City, won a bunch of awards, launched the product, which is super challenging, building an enterprise product round up. So, you know, along the way we had incredible support across from the ADP senior leadership team, from senior leaders across ADP because the way we wanted to do things we needed, ADP was going through a bit of a technology transformation.

Lohit: [00:03:00] And at that point for us to essentially say, hey, this is how we want to do it, we needed a lot of buy-in and support across the board. And we were fortunate enough to have leaders who bought into the vision and supported us. And then following that, I had the opportunity to step into this current role where I am leading the GPT org for EFS, which is our Employee Financial Services, is responsible for money movement and payments. And it's been a fascinating twelve months, lots of learning, lots of exciting products, each product that we release into the market. And yeah, it's been just been an absolute rollercoaster ride. I can't believe it's been eight and a half years. And I look back, you know, I still was looking at my badge the other day and I just looked at how young I looked. So, a lot of gray hairs since I've joined ADP. But but it's been an incredibly humbling learning experience and I'm super excited for what's ahead as well.

Kate: [00:04:01] And Lohit, super impressive. I mean, eight and a half years, it's it's it's amazing just to see the work that you've done and, you know, you were brought on to really stand up one of our major products and to see that happen, come to fruition. And then you've evolved into other areas within the tech Global Product and Technology area of ADP is really awesome. And so, listen, you know, I support tech. Tech is my passion. I hate to play favorites here at ADP, but here we are. So, let's talk tech a little bit. Talk to me about like what the Global Products and Technology team and organization is like. And, you know, let's think about perhaps people who are considering a tech career with ADP. So, some things that they might want to consider.

Lohit: [00:04:57] Absolutely. You know, the GPT group within ADP is probably second to none, especially in the same industry, just given the breadth of what we currently do across the entire market in the US as well as internationally. So, when I first came in, I didn't fully actually appreciate or understand the scale at which ADP operates, right? So only when I started the journey of building, HCM tech. And I first understand that I have a proper understanding of the problem space and a proper appreciation for what ADP does. So if you start thinking about the scale at which we operate, every product that we build, you've got to start considering how do you build this product at such massive scale and the amount of traffic and the amount of data that you've got to consume, it needs to really, really, really interesting technology challenges, not only from the engineering side but also in product UX, UX security engineering, which is probably often understated just given the work that we do. Security is paramount to everything that we do, right? Our clients trust us with some of the most sensitive information in the world. So, security engineering is a huge, huge focus for the company and our products. Reliability DevOps is just across the board. The challenges that one comes across is is probably right up there with some of the larger technology companies. And that's one of the reasons why we were also able to attract talent from big tech. You know, traditionally when people talk big tech, you've got the FAANG companies that folks talk about. But I would actually say in terms of just the sheer breadth and scale at which we operate; we're right there. Right. And that's one of the reasons why folks even come join us. And, you know, somebody is considering a career at ADP or in technology, I would say there are so many interesting challenges across the board that they could be a part of. And I highly, highly recommend folks consider ADP as a technology destination.

Ingrid: [00:07:37] Thank you, Lohit, that was super, super impressive. Some of the things that you mentioned, you talked about product, data, UX, security, right. Among some other stuff that we're doing here at ADP Tech. Which kind of leads me to the next question, right? If someone would ask you, what is it that you do at ADP, how would you describe to them what we do here at ADP?

Lohit: [00:08:05] Yeah. And, you know, very often I and I think this was we were recently at offsite and somewhat and I think I don't know if it was Carlos, it was Don who basically shared this anecdote, and people ask them, where do you work? And you say, ADP they hear, ADT, they go, oh, the home security company. And then you say, no, ADP most often or not, most people have heard us because they've often got paid by ADP. So, for the folks that don't, you know, often described, the way I describe what we do is we essentially are Human Capital Management software company. So, things from time, compliance, payroll, software for the HR department and the different variations of it, right? So, you've got stuff like HR, which is Human Resource outsourcing, you've got the PO business model. So, we offer the entire suite of HCM products from hire to retire, from cradle to the grave for for and four companies of all sizes across the globe, right. That's basically how I would describe what we do and where we where we play. It's again, you compare us to our competition. We basically don't have a real competitor who plays the scale at which we do. We have competition in each market segment. So, when someone asks me, hey, who are your competitors? I really have to break it down into saying, well, in this market segment we have X, Y, Z.

Lohit: [00:09:35] In this market segment, we have another set of players. So that's essentially how I would describe what we do. And what's exciting is about the things that we are doing on top of it is some of these newer products and BUs that we currently have. So, for example, what what I'm working on currently is on the whole money movement payment in space, right? So that's a part of HCM, but it's an adjacent business, what I would say in terms of offering a pay card, moving money that we do for at any given time, this is when people's minds are often blown. At any given point in the US financial system, ADP is moving about eighty to ninety billion dollars daily, right. So, when you start looking at and understanding the magnitude of what we do and how much we impact the US economy, people are just blown away and that's when it starts getting super exciting about just the sheer amount of data that we have and the things that we can do with that. And that's where we're concentrating a lot of our efforts on right now.

Kate: [00:10:48] And Lohit, you touched upon a couple of key points that we also discovered in our focus groups when we were launching the tech talent brand for ADP, and a lot of that was around our unmatched data set. You know, with the numbers that you just mentioned between, you know, the amount of clients we support, people we support globally, and the amount of money that is moving around just on a daily basis, right, you could probably argue every second of every day, you know, the work that we're doing here is just you know, there's real there's real validity behind it. There's real weight behind it. And I think that's also why during the pandemic, you know, we were really able to sustain, you know, we were an organization that many people were counting on during such a hard time within the world, you know, and the economy. So, a lot of great stuff there. And I want to lean in a little bit more too, you mentioned, you know, the amount of products that we have and, you know, moving money in all of that. You know, are there some products that you can share with our listeners that they may be interested in or a little bit about the teams within tech?

Lohit: [00:12:03] Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, I hope I do justice. And, you know, there's so many products that at some point if Don is listening to it, he may be like, this entire podcast could be filled if he goes through the list of products that we currently have and his entire product suite. But in terms of just some of the bigger products like Workforce Now is like the workhorse of the company in terms of just in terms of the sheer revenue numbers that it does. It's the biggest HCM software provider in the world today, as it stands, we're all super excited about Roll, which is our small business product, which is completely self-service, built serverless in the cloud and it's something that's super, super exciting. And then, you know, obviously Lifion, I'm going to be a bit of a homer and mention Lifion and continuing to see in threat of Lifion are our Wisely Pay card and we have Data Cloud which I think is you know probably one of the most exciting products out there just because of that, our data set is just unmatched in the industry, right? We've got the biggest data set and the things that we can do with our data is just unbelievable. And we've got a dedicated Chief Data Officer, Jack, who's just phenomenal.

Lohit: [00:13:20] And he's he's bringing a bunch of the data into a centralized place and building a business on top of it. So that's super exciting to be a part of that Org. Then you have the international products, right? You've got our IHCM our Global View Products. Then you also have our next generation time and payroll products where, you know, we've had we’ve had a workhorse payroll engine, but now we've built this next generation payroll engine along with Lifion, that's super exciting. In PI, we also have our next generation time engine in Intel. So, there's just a lot of exciting work going on in terms of what we've been doing over the past, especially in the past seven or eight years as we've been going through this amazing technology transformation journey where we've not only are modernizing our existing products, but we're also building brand new products ground up, right. And very seldom you see large enterprises being able to do both, modernize the existing user interface and products, as well as invest in brand new products over a sizable amount of time so that you set up well for the future. And I think we've accomplished over the past eight years from a technology transformation standpoint is very, very impressive.

Kate: [00:14:39] So Lohit, you mentioned modernization. You know, you've seen it firsthand, you've lived it firsthand. How has the modernization behind the products that we're providing clients and the technology that we're currently working on? How has that allowed ADP to attract top tech talent?

Lohit: [00:15:01] Yeah. And, you know, I've seen it firsthand while on Lifion, right, I mean, we were situated in New York, in Chelsea. We were about three blocks away from some of the big tech companies. And the way we work because I mean, because of our entire technology stack and the way we were going, the way we were going about building our product, the architecture patterns that we use, the cloud engineering that we were doing, the Devsecops, the product management practices, the UX practices, we were able to attract talent from big tech. I touched upon this at the beginning of the pod, and you know, because of because of us adopting some of these modern software engineering and modern product management, modern UX practices, we're able to not only hire but also retain and also contribute back to the industry. You know, you've seen while I was at Lifion, we were on stage at AWS, we had Jack last year on stage at AWS. We have people now contributing back to the open-source community, things that historically we probably weren't doing. We've been heavily, heavily investing across the board in the GPT organization in terms of pure engineering and pure product management practices. How do you how do you embrace where the industry is going? And that's reflecting well, that's also reflecting the quality of our product, right? I mean, that's one thing I've heard people and I would love a there's a video of that to show you text messages.

Lohit: [00:16:31] I've got unsolicited text messages from some of my friends in our friend circle who used so many of our products texting, saying, oh, man, these ADP products will just work so well. Now, the user experience that we've invested heavily in, you know, people across the board when they come across ADP products nowadays are just complementing our user experience. And it's something that, you know, historically for folks like me who've been here for a while, we haven't had that. But it's over the past two to three years. We're just getting folks who when they when they when they realize we work at ADP, they go, oh, man, your products have improved tremendously. And a lot of that has been because of what we've adopted over the past seven or eight years and what we continue to adopt, right. And because of us embracing some of these best software development or best product management practices, it's easier for us to attract talent as well. And it's really helped us tremendously accomplish what we have accomplished over the past eight years.

Ingrid: [00:17:31] Wow. That's that's like a lot of amazing information. And, you know, thank you for sharing. I honestly, I didn't even know half of the things that we are doing. And it's just so amazing to hear how we are in different products. You know, the transformation journey that you mentioned before, all these different teams and products that we have, I'm just like so amazed by everything that I have heard so far. And in addition to that Lohit, you know, in addition of all the innovation that we are doing here at ADP, what are those or what is something innovating that we're doing for our associates or even for the future candidates within the GPT organization?

Lohit: [00:18:21] Yeah Ingrid, that's a that's a great that's a great question because that's one of the things that I actually talk about doing when I get a chance to speak about ADP and why I am still here is just in terms of the investment in associates where we're investing our time and effort. Obviously, we want to build the right culture and stuff. But there was one particular area of focus that is really, you know, energized a lot of us. And I think it's the right thing for us to do. It's it's women in technology, right. And there's been a lot of focus and attention being given to this, where we've promoted a lot of female leaders within the organization to executive positions. There's a strong attention and focus across all the senior leadership team across the company where we are tracking metrics on this. It's super, super important to us and especially on the product and technology side, we're sponsors of the Grace Hopper conference. We're very active. When we go to Grace Hopper, we hire a bunch of female engineers, female product managers and women in technology, from that conference, we constantly even be recruiting actually at the university level at an internship program. We track those metrics as well, recently Anita B org did recently made ADP one of the top large companies for women to work in technology, right. So, there's just been such a large focus and attention given to this particular area and we're actually seeing the results. We still have some work to do, but if you actually look at our metrics, we do probably better than some of the larger technology companies in this area. And that's the attention and focus we're giving across the entire senior leadership team. You have a lot of focus and attention, but also, you've got you've got a program where we are giving some of our female leaders, other senior female leaders, we're allocating other female leaders as mentors to help them as they progress through ADP. And it's something that we are very serious about, and it's something that I think front and center, not only at the GPT level but across the larger ADP level as well.

Kate: [00:20:00] All right, so this conversation has been fantastic. Ingrid, Lohit, you both made a new friend today. How cool is that? And I hope that our listeners thoroughly enjoyed this conversation as well and felt that they also made a new friend today with you Lohit. Lohit, if there's anyone there that would like to connect with you. Do you mind sharing your your LinkedIn profile?

Lohit: [00:20:14] Absolutely. I mean, I'm always up for meeting great people, great technologists, great folks in the product technology space, in the startup ecosystem. My LinkedIn is Lohit Sarma. You guys can find me on LinkedIn. And for all the listeners out there today who are really interested in joining us in this amazing journey that we're on, please look up, if there's any job that interests you and any other division of the company that you want to be a part of, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn and I'm happy to connect you to folks internally.

Kate: [00:20:47] Thank you, Lohit.

Ingrid: [00:20:48] Thank you.

Kate: [00:20:48] This is Kate. 

Ingrid: [00:20:49] And this is Ingrid.

Kate and Ingrid: [00:20:50] And we are part of life at ADP, the podcast.