UKG & Google Cloud Partnership: A Bet to Power Generative AI

UKG, building on its practice of leveraging AI across its human capital management (HCM) and workforce management solutions, recently announced an expanded partnership with Google Cloud to use generative AI to create more powerful business insights.

With the move, UKG, a Brandon Hall Group™ Silver Smartchoice® Preferred Provider, strengthens its position as a market leader by combining Google Cloud’s GenAI and large language models with its own AI models and Great Place To Work® proprietary data to create more conversational interactions with their HCM solutions.

“We believe GenAI can be a tremendously powerful tool that changes how people go about analyzing information and insights at work,” said Hugo Sarrazin, chief product and technology officer at UKG. “Our collaboration with Google Cloud will help employees and leaders make better decisions, have more productive conversations, and anticipate how today’s choices can impact tomorrow’s operations and workplace culture overall.”

GenAI is a hot topic in HR, with 91% of respondents in a recent Brandon Hall Group™ study indicating the technology has utility at work. While many organizations surveyed were mostly familiar with GPT3 by Open AI, at least 50% of respondents said they are using — or soon would use — some form of GenAI for:

  • Enhancing and scaling training activities
  • Improving employee engagement and experience
  • Accelerating training content development
  • Supporting predictive analytics
  • Assisting employees in filling out forms
  • Writing and updating job descriptions

“The moment you understand what generative AI is, the concept is so inviting that you want to understand it,” said Luis Fernando Gonzalez, Global Development Manager for Director for Cemex, a leader in producing and supplying cement products.

Partnerships like UKG-Google Cloud are important because, while HR and learning leaders and practitioners are optimistic about the future value of generative AI, they are also concerned about the source of information it draws from.

“Is it from a respected scientific journal or news source? Is it from Wikipedia, which can be easily manipulated, or a self-published book by a radical author?” asked one HR leader who is experimenting with generative AI at a property management company. “One concern is that we could hit a point where we over-rely on what we get from these technologies without understanding where the information is coming from, which could lead us in some wrong directions.”

The model deployed by UKG and Google Cloud may ease these concerns. UKG says they are using Google Cloud’s Vertex AI, designed specifically for enterprise use, rather than the consumer versions of GenAI, such as GPT3 or Bard. This also allows UKG to create a multi-model approach, where Vertex AI provides the foundation and UKG’s AI models and data are layered on top. Customer-specific models and AI training are then layered on top of that, creating an experience that end-users can be confident about.

“Our expanded partnership with Google Cloud is another chapter in our commitment to providing organizations around the world with the opportunity to move from a good workplace to a truly great workplace for all,” said Chris Todd, CEO at UKG. “We are committed to exploring how all emerging technologies, including GenAI, can enhance the workplace experience for everyone.”

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Claude Werder



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Claude Werder

Claude J. Werder Senior Vice President and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group Claude Werder runs Brandon Hall Group’s Talent Management, Leadership Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) practices. His specific areas of focus include how organizations must transform culturally and strategically to meet the needs of the emerging workforce and workplace. Claude develops insights and solutions on employee experience, leadership, coaching, talent development, assessments, culture, DE&I, and other topics to help members and clients make talent development a competitive business advantage now and in the evolving future of work. Before joining Brandon Hall Group in 2012, Claude was an HR consultant and also spent more than 25 years as an executive and people leader for media and news organizations. This included a decade as the producer of the HR Technology Conference and Expo. He helped transform it from a small event to the world’s largest HR technology conference. Claude is a judge for the global Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards and Excellence in Technology Awards, contributes to the company’s HCM certification programs, and produces the firm’s annual HCM Excellence Conference. He is also a certified executive and leadership coach. He lives in Boynton Beach, FL.