Innovation, Tech Trends, Machine Learning
If Picasso were to be alive in 2022, would he use Artificial Intelligence technology to make art?
AI Art: Will it Disrupt the World as We Know it?
By Amy H. Chiu, Tech Brand Content Developer
I can’t help but wonder, if Picasso were to be alive in 2022, would he use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to make art?
With a background in visual arts, I spent sleepless nights in the art studio, sketching and studying every brushstroke. Every step in the art creation was filled with unexpected beauty. A small drop of black ink could alter the entire canvas. In traditional art forms, there was no control + z key to undo changes.
I remember Adobe visited my art community years ago and showcased a variety of digital tools from Creative Cloud. The tutorials broadened my horizon and challenged my definition of art. I experienced the power of switching pen tools and colors on the screen, including the accuracy and consistency of texture in design. The techniques would have taken hours and days in a hands-on studio, considering mixing colors, cleaning the tools, and using multiple mediums come at a cost.
Little did I know, that was just the beginning.
Fast forward to 2022 – all it takes is a few keywords and programming languages to create art.
Several weeks ago, a Colorado-based artist sparked controversy when they submitted a piece created using artificial intelligence (AI) and brought home a $300 First Prize.
By harnessing the power of machine learning algorithms, artists can now create works that would have taken hours and years to complete with traditional mediums. That said, what are the pros and cons of relying on algorithms? Let’s look at what we know about AI art and its impact.
What Defines AI Art?
AI art is any artwork created partially or entirely by artificial intelligence. In most cases, AI art is generated by algorithms, meaning artists write code or use software for the machines to learn. The algorithm then captures the style and aesthetic the artists want by reviewing thousands of existing paintings before generating one.
One of the most famous examples is “The Painting Fool,” a software that generates artwork digitally and paints in various styles. It was created by Simon Colton of Imperial College, London. Further reading: Painting Fool’s portfolio reveals artificial artist.
The Algorithm to Make AI Art
When you make AI Art, you will encounter a class of algorithms called Generative adversarial networks, or GANs. They are composed of a generator and a discriminator. The generator creates images from scratch while the discriminator evaluates them and determines whether they’re real. Both the generator and discriminator get better at their respective tasks, resulting in increasingly realistic fake images.
In other words, one may generate photographs of human faces and realistic images of animals that don’t exist in the world. GANs also translate images from sketches to color photographs and texts to images. For example, users may put in: “a small bird is purple with green and has a very long beak,” and get realistic photographs that match the description in the output. Read more examples here.
If you want to try GANs, here are a few steps. Step one is selecting several authentic images for training. Next, generate a few fake images using the generator. Step three is training the discriminator to use both real and fake ones. Lastly, generate more fake images and train the full GAN model using only counterfeit images. You may find detailed instructions and working python code here.
The Scary Side of AI Art
Technologies are evolving. They are convenient yet dangerous.
My biggest concern as a creator is to see people lose their respect and appreciation for artists. Although one may romanticize and say art is about the process and the original ideas behind it, the result matters, especially for agencies that hire graphic designers and advertising experts.
“Art? I can do that in 20 seconds with a detailed description in AI.” Hearing comments like this has impacted the motivation and the reality of artists. That’s when I think about the cost and effort art students pay to attend art schools.
What will the Dean tell future art students on their graduation day? ‘Good luck finding an art job out there and doing better than AI’? Although this may sound a little extreme, the concern remains as there are already limited career opportunities in the field.
My best friend attended the Otis College of Art and Design to become a fashion designer. The annual tuition on a full-time basis for 2020/2021 is $69,532. She always drew fashion illustrations on tablets and paper. Every shade and every detail mattered. Handing in the illustration collection late could result in a lost opportunity in a competitive internship.
If AI could do what she learned in four years and at a much faster speed with more pattern selections, was it worth it for her to pay the tuition and go through the training?
The Cost of AI Art
With AI Art in place, how does one price the work? Is it based on the artist’s fame, artwork’s material, time spent, or simply how “good” the art looks?
In 2018, an algorithm-generated painting sold for $432,000 at Christie’s, one of the world’s largest auction houses. The ‘painting’ was created by a designer using a computer. The news sure sparked intense conversations in the art communities. How should AI impact the value of the art generated? Should it be worth less? Then again, look at the price of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Need we say more?
AI-generated art challenges the definition of what we call ‘art.’ Consider how NFTs and AI art are created and sold. Both use algorithms, which are a set of rules. How they are applied can produce different and unique results, sparking inspiration and controversial debates. Only time will tell what else AI can do in the realm of art, but one thing is for sure: it has brought us closer to the future.
AI Art Continues to Evolve
AI art is still relatively new, and there’s much we don’t yet know about it. However, AI is profoundly impacting the art world—creating new types of artwork and how experts judge artwork in competitions.
“I see the power in AI Art, and that makes me want to support and protect traditional artists even more,” Srinivas P., the Sr. Mainframe Developer, said. “There could be a different category for AI-generated artwork in future competitions.”
Srinivas and I also connected with Sangeetha G., an artist specializing in character drawing. “Live art competitions would be great opportunities for people to see the value of traditional art. Creating-in-progress is something computers do not show.”
Computers didn’t develop the painting concept solely on their own. AI still requires human involvement before generating the result. The algorism can take a photo of a seascape and apply the style of van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” If the user is unhappy with the result, edit the input by changing a few words and generating the “perfect” one.
It’s fair to ask: are we creating art or playing a puzzle game?
For now, the ability to produce something entirely new from scratch separates us from machines. In the future? Maybe not so much.
Senior Leaders, Future of Work, What We Do
A podcast episode for those interested in the importance of data, humanization, and digital disruption trends in the workplace.
Humanization and Digital Disruption Trends in the Workplace with Don Weinstein
Don Weinstein, Corporate Vice President of Global Product & Technology, spoke on Now of Work, a weekly podcast hosted by Jason Averbook and Jess Von Bank.
The episode is excellent for anyone interested in the importance of data, humanization, and digital disruption trends in the workplace.
“We hire data journalists who took all the pay equity data that were hard to unpack and put them in infographic style,” Don said. “We didn’t advertise; instead, we stepped back and watched what happened. We had over 1,000 clients discover it.”
Imagine seeing two employees with the same job, skills, and experiences but different pay. Don’s team found more than 75% of the clients, meaning over 1,000 organizations, acted, and made pay adjustments for over 210,000 individuals.
The power of data collection and engaging apps are changing the workplace across generations. “We’d like to do our part and give back to the community,” Don said.
When it comes to conversations on current challenges, Don shared with hosts Jason and Jess his insights on hybrid work. The key elements to consider include getting the taxes and pay right when employees work in different cities and states.
On top of hiring remote workers, Don emphasized the importance of onboarding and engagement.
“We’ve been studying engagement for over 20 years,” Don said. “Last year was the first we’ve seen the honeymoon effect, meaning employees tend to have the highest engagements during their first-year arrival at the company, went away.”
As ADP continues to hire globally, Don encouraged the teams to be focused. The responsibilities include training managers, engaging, and providing for hybrid workers.
Welcome to PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report. I’m Mark Feffer.
My guest today is Bob Lockett, chief diversity and talent officer at ADP. He’s responsible for the company’s diversity and talent strategy and oversees performance management, leadership development, engagement and culture, among other things.
We’re going to talk a lot about data and its relationship with DEI, from helping determine where a company’s at, to initiating new programs. That’s on this edition of PeopleTech. Bob, welcome. It’s great to meet you.
How does one attack the task of leading on diversity for a company the size of ADP?
Well, Mark, the first thing I’ll tell you, it’s a very challenging task, because you have so many different constituents and everybody wants their own piece of the pie. What about us? What about us? What about us?
As you can imagine, DEI is a very emotional topic, for that reason. So, the approach that I’ve taken, that we’ve taken at ADP, is really tied to doing a couple of things.
Number one is using the scientific method. You know that thing, Mark, that we learned about back in middle school, that many of us did those experiments?
You would say, develop your hypothesis. Then from the hypothesis, you allow data to prove or disprove your beliefs. And then once you do that, then you really define the problem.
After you define that problem, then start to put plans in place to achieve the outcomes. You tweak as you go, as needed, based on feedback.
So what we’ve done is taking that exact approach and say, let’s take the emotion out of it as best we can. Let’s focus on the data. Let the data be our guiding light, to help us understand where we need to focus and what we need to do.
Now, this doesn’t just apply from a US standpoint. Think about it. This is a global opportunity that we’ve embarked upon. The way I view it is, there are needs everywhere, for people to feel like they are seen, valued and heard for all that they are.
So, not only do we think about diversity… You can measure diversity very easily. You can look at demographic data. How many of these do you have? How many of those do you have?
You can measure equity by looking at pay, but the key is also to measure inclusion. So, we take this holistic approach, all data driven.
The inclusion piece is all sentiment driven, but it’s really leveraging the scientific method and leveraging data, to help tell our story.
Can you expand a bit on how data is used in DEI work? I mean, you mentioned that this is a pretty emotional subject. It always strikes me as interesting when you apply data to an emotional subject. How do they work together? So can you talk about that?
Sure. I could tell you the stories of how we landed where we are, with some of our things.
The first thing that we did as an organization, when I took over the role, I wanted to understand how we looked, because I have a vision that our associate population in our company is reflective of the communities in which we operate and the clients that we serve. That’s very specific and very clear.
How do you test that, your hypothesis about that? How do you make it a realistic vision?
We looked at about three or four different datasets. One dataset was a census data. And as you know, the census data doesn’t mean that everybody’s working.
So, we looked at the census data and we say, “What’s the representation for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, white women, everybody in our organization?” Let’s lay that out to understand it.
Then we looked at the Bureau of Labor statistics data. Of the people in the workforce, let’s take a look at how that compares and then let’s compare that against our information.
So, we compared it against our information, I’m talking specifically in the US and said, “Huh? Where do we have gaps?”
My hypothesis was that we didn’t look like the communities in America, but the reality of it was, we did. So, I was really impressed. I was like, wow, this is great news.
But as you look at the data, we also found that when you look up in the organization, you don’t have parity in representation for two populations in particular, which were African Americans and Hispanics.
We said, they represent 15% of the overall workforce in the US, for Hispanics. Let’s say it was 11% for African Americans.
Well, we noticed a gap in our company of about four percentage points each way, for African Americans and Hispanics.
We said, well, we should close that gap, because as you come to an organization, you also want to be able to see if there are opportunities for you to advance.
If you don’t see anyone that looks like you, in management level positions, then you start to wonder if you have a real future there. So, that was our quest.
This is how we use data to really understand and tell our story and to put plans in place to do it.
Now, notice the nuance here. Because again, if you go back to my original hypothesis, that we didn’t look like that, we did, but then we pivoted very quickly, because the data told us a different story. We said, that’s where we’re going to focus our efforts.
Now, some people use, Mark, data to try and boil the ocean. You can’t do everything. You can’t be all things to all people. That is a recipe for failure, particularly in DEI.
So, that’s why we have a very narrow focused approach. We have multiple initiatives that we work on, but suffice it to say, that was our main effort, for us to be able to say, we’re moving the needle when it comes to leadership representation in our company.
Now, do you think your company is an outlier in that, or do you think that more corporations are starting to get on board with the idea of using data in this regard?
Yeah. I think it’s a mixed bag, Mark, is probably the best way to describe it. Most organizations will take a look at their data. They’ll focus on where they think their opportunities are.
But it depends on where they are in their journey, their DEI journey, which I always talk about, that not everybody’s at the same place.
For us, I believe we’re an outlier. We’re an outlier because if you think about DEI, it’s one of our values. The things that really resonate in our organization, is that each person counts. In order for each person counts, by default, you have to have a DEI strategy.
Some organizations don’t put as much interest or effort into it, so there at varying stages.
It became a great corporate buzzword two years ago. Prior to that, many organizations weren’t making headway, with respect to that. So, my belief is, we’re certainly an outlier with our use of data.
Of course, Mark, that is our middle name. So, we use data to make sure that we can tell our story, to solve the problem, to understand all of those things. We’re all about measuring success. How do you measure the effectiveness of what you’re doing?
Having said that, I think we’re a bit of an outlier. I think there are other organizations that are doing great things, but I think there are some that are not doing anything because they don’t know where to start.
If that’s the challenge for them, then a great place to start is, understand your data at least. Then, think about where you want to have an impact.
Can you think of any particularly surprising things that you’ve learned from data?
I can give you a couple of examples of things that I think we’ve learned. Number one is that it’s never enough. Here’s what I mean. We had to put plans in place to do this.
I’ll just give you this example, Mark. We launched our talent task force. It was a specific focus on the African American and Hispanics/Latino community.
Well, as soon as we put that out, the first question that came was, hey, what about the Asian community? I said, “Huh? I’ve got a story for you. Asians represent 5% of our population, but yet they represent 8% of leadership.” So, there’s no problem there.
Then the next call came from the LGBTQ+ community. I said, “Huh? Tell me what the data says.”
The reason we couldn’t make a decision and put a plan in place to improve representation for that community, is because we didn’t have any data. So, that’s one of the things that will surprise you about that.
And when you don’t have enough of it, everyone wants to do these things, which is back to my point about, people get involved in this. They want to represent their constituents.
But at the same time, without the data, you can’t get involved and create corporate programs to improve something.
The second piece still ties to self-ID. If you take this to a global scale, so typically in numerous countries, they don’t collect the same data that we do in the US. They don’t collect it because their philosophies are different. It could vary, country to country.
However, there’s renewed emphasis on understanding your workforce and being inclusive. So, just imagine, you’re a multinational corporation and you don’t understand the dynamics that exist in operating in Tunisia or the dynamics that exist in operating in France or Italy and who the underrepresented groups are. So, we’re trying to capture new data.
That’s one of the surprising things, is that we’re beginning a journey globally, to do a self-ID approach.
It’s not just us, by the way. There are multiple companies now showing renewed interest in this, to say, how do we understand our workforce? How do we become more inclusive, so we can appeal to the needs of various communities where we operate?
Are you satisfied with the kind of data that’s available to you today? What could be better?
Yeah. I’m in a unique position, Mark. I tell people this all the time. At ADP, because we’re a data company… again, it’s in our middle name, I have the unique opportunity that we have our own department that does all of the analytics, pulls the data, does the comparative analysis, the sensitivity analysis to whatever we want to do.
Now, for companies that don’t have that, we do have a diversity dashboard, that gives them insights into their own information, that they may not have thought about before.
They may not have the luxury of having a large DEI department, like we do. They may not have the luxury of having the analytic capability, but we can provide them with some insights about how their organization looks, what their leadership makeup is. Oh, by the way, with pay equity too, we can take a look at that data as well.
So I think I’m in an enviable position. I’ve got all the data that I need. The key for me, is staying focused and executing, to ensure that we make a difference with our DEI efforts.
What are your overall goals for your DEI efforts? I mean, what kind of changes are you hoping to enable or enact? What has to happen for you to be able to get there?
Yeah, it’s a great question, Mark. I’ll go back to my vision. The vision that, we want our associate population to be reflective of the communities in which we operate and the clients that we serve.
That is the most important thing, because I believe that the efforts that we take to do that, will have a great cyclical impact on the environment.
Here’s what I mean. I’m not in the DEI business because I’m a social justice warrior. I’m in the DEI business because I believe that there are economic opportunities in a capitalistic society, that we can get everyone to participate in and grow the pie. I firmly believe that.
In many cases, it starts with employment. So, what do we do as part of our DEI, some of the work that we’re doing? Well, we want to hire in those various communities.
We have outreach efforts to every community, to make sure that we’re attracting the best and the brightest for our organization.
Then of course, once you get there, you have to walk the talk. So, culture is really important, Mark, in this space, to ensure that if you said you’re going to do it, then you have to do it.
My saying is, don’t talk about it. You have to be about it. So, if you’re about what you said you are, by bringing everybody together and giving everybody an opportunity, so they can be their true authentic selves, then that makes a tremendous difference.
So, that’s the talent piece of it. Getting them in, giving them the opportunities to grow and develop, and then seeing them get promoted and being able to contribute.
Now, I also talk about DEI from a business practice standpoint. Oftentimes in the past, organizations that I’ve worked for, DEI was all about some of the HR practices, which I just talked about briefly. It was all about talent practices,
But I also incorporate business practices. Business practices are really about, well, how do we tap into the ecosystem of businesses and communities?
Oftentimes, you have underserved communities, that don’t have the same opportunities to understand things.
Give you an example. We have a company that we partner with. What the founder shared with us, was the fact that for many minority-owned businesses, they only have one way to finance their business. That’s through loans from family members or debt.
So, they don’t get the full spectrum of how to do revenue-based financing for their business, or how to think about the debt market very differently, that others have had exposure and access to.
So, giving them exposure and access to the full gamut is really important, but that also requires some education. So, we partner with organizations, to do that, just so businesses can finance it.
Now, selfishly, because I am a capitalist, I believe that we should be able to capture some of that market.
We should be able to say, we’ll help them. There’s no guarantee that they’re going to come back and nor is there an expectation, but just imagine if we’re the ones that help them understand how to run payroll.
I said, “We want you to focus on your business. If you make pizzas or if you have a restaurant, we want you to focus on what you do best. Let us do what we do best, which is run payroll, help you do time and attendance and help you with all of those other things. That’s what we do”
So, I think it’s important for us to extend our reach into the underserved communities, such that we can help raise the tide for all boats. That’s really the impetus here.
Say, if we do this the right way, DEI becomes much more holistic, so it’s focused on the economic empowerment.
If you do that by getting people great jobs, what do they do? Well, they go spend money in their communities. If they spend money in their communities, businesses grow. And if businesses grow, for us it’s a great thing, because that means you have more people to pay from your payroll systems and the like.
So, this ecosystem approach that I think is really critical and important, when we think about DEI.
Now, the other piece, Mark, that I’ll share with you about DEI is, I’ll share two other avenues of this.
One is the environment. Our environmental practices now, have become relevant in the DEI equation.
Let me back up and give you the broader view. Most companies talk about ESG, environmental, social and governance. The environmental piece is really critical. That’s where you have, what are you going to do for greenhouse gas emission reduction?
This S is all DEI. The G is board governance or governance of whatever programs that you take a look at. So, that’s something else you have to consider as you think about DEI.
We have practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The good news for us is that, we don’t manufacture anything. Probably, our facilities and employees driving to work are our largest contributors to this. But what we also focus on is, what can we do to meet target? We put together plans to do that.
The last thing I’ll mention is what we’re doing as an organization, to make a difference, as we think about DEI and the like.
We have the ADP Foundation. We make contributions to a variety of 501(c)(3)’s nonprofits, to help support them in the communities in which they operate. So, there’s this holistic view that we have about, we can do well and do good at the same time.
Bob, thanks very much. We appreciate your time today.
My guest today has been Bob Lockett, chief diversity and talent officer at ADP. This has been PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report.
We’re a publication recruiting daily. We’re also a part of the Evergreen Podcasts. To see all of their programs, visit www.EvergreenPodcasts.com.
To keep up with HR technology, visit the HCM Technology Report every day. We’re the most trusted source of news in the HR tech industry. Find us at www.HCMTechnologyReport.com. I’m Mark Feffer.
Life @ ADP, Voice of Our People, What We Do
A podcast episode for applicants interested in the scale ADP operates at, including the leadership teams’ strategies and their focus on data security.
Life @ ADP S2EP4: Let’s Talk #ADPTech
Our hosts, Ingrid and Kate, invited Lohit Sarma, a Senior Vice President of Product Development, to the show to chat about what’s happening in #ADPTech.
Lohit’s ADP journey began in 2014 when he helped build our Next Gen team, Lifion, in New York City and scaled up the organization to about 700 associates.
“I can’t believe it’s been eight and a half years,” Lohit said. “It’s been an incredibly humbling learning experience, and I’m super excited for what’s ahead.”
The episode is great for associates and applicants interested in the scale ADP operates at, including the leadership teams’ strategies and their focus on data security. Lohit spoke about various areas in #ADPTech, from User Experience (UX), Security Engineering, to Site Reliability Engineering.
“Our clients trust us with some of the most sensitive information in the world,” Lohit said. “Security engineering is a huge focus for our products. Reliability DevOps is just across the board.”
You wouldn’t want to miss out on the episode, especially if you are interested in learning more about ADP’s Next Gen products and ADP’s role in the US financial system. From launching the iHCM, a cloud-based platform that simplifies Payroll and HR management in one scalable, compliant solution, to our next-generation time and payroll products, ADP has transformed into a technology company.
“We attract talents based on our adaptation of modern software engineering, product management, and UX practices,” Lohit said. “We’re able to not only hire but also retain and contribute back to the industry.”
From sponsoring the Grace Hopper Celebration to hiring female engineers and managers, ADP’s leadership team is building a culture that welcomes and nurtures tech talent. Further reading: Seramount Names ADP One of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women.
In addition, ADP is continually enhancing and evolving the way we do things. “We’ve been heavily investing across the board in pure engineering and management practices,” Lohit said. “That’s reflecting the quality of our products.”
Life @ ADP is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google, iHeartRadio, and Amazon Music. Listen to the full episode here or on your preferred podcast player!
Learn more about what it’s like working for ADP here and our current openings.
HCM Technologies, Women in STEM, User Experience, Product Management, DataCloud
Innovation, Tech Trends, Machine Learning
If buying an NFT does not give you the right to reproduce and sell copies, what exactly do you own?
NFTs: The Price of Bragging Rights
Why would someone spend $2.5 million on a Link to a JPEG?
You might have already seen examples of NFTs like funny ape drawings or celebrity avatars used as an account holder’s picture on Twitter. So, who would buy a personalized digital token of a dancing bear in a tutu? Is it worth $2.5 million dollars? What value are you really getting?
First, a quick definition of an NFT:
Non-fungible token (NFT)
Units of data that are stored on a blockchain. People can buy and sell NFTs; they can be associated with unique digital files such as photos, videos, and audio.
What is the difference between buying an oil painting at a gallery and buying a bunch of 2D digital pixels?
Here’s the definition of ownership.
If you purchase a painting from a gallery, you get to take it home and hang it up in the physical world we live in. You OWN the original painting. All others may have photos or even reproductions, but they will never have that one piece of unique physical canvas. For example, Picasso’s original artwork will always be Picasso. People cannot recreate the same exact painting.
If you purchase an NFT, which could be anything from JPEG to a screenshot of a tweet, it does NOT make you the owner of the “art,” it only gives you the right to claim partial ownership. Buying an NFT does not give you the right to reproduce it and sell copies. Buyers showcase immutable public transactions on the blockchain to prove ownership. Read more: NFTs – what exactly do I own?
It’s worth pointing out that although the owner has the right to use the NFT EXCLUSIVELY, a copy of the digital art can literally ‘look’ as good as the original when people take screenshots to copy and paste the images. With a right-click to save, the copies of digital files are precisely the same as the original NFT. It comes down to the owner bragging about whether they own the original NFT.
For NFT creators, you have the right to reproduce, distribute copies, and display the work in public. However, the NFT royalties work differently. Creators earn royalties through subsequent sales in the secondary market. The transaction occurs without the need for any intermediaries. Remember, not every NFT generates royalties. Everything needs to be written on the smart contract; otherwise, the creator has no claim. Read more: What are NFT royalties?
Why do people go crazy over these?
Let’s break it down.
An NFT gives you a token of ownership on the blockchain. Rather than supporting an artist by donating to them on PayPal or BuyMeACoffee, you can support them by purchasing their NFTs in exchange for documenting your purchasing record on a public, visible ledger. A second benefit, buying an NFT may appeal to collectors who gain pleasure from owning rare, digital goods. A third benefit is that each NFT has a market value, and anyone can buy/sell NFTs. For starters, it is more accessible than investing in the housing market. New to NFTs? Here are some options to store them.
Risks in NFTs
But before you dive right in, consider the risks of buying and selling NFTs. If you want to purchase one to support an artist, ask if the value you derive from ownership aligns with what it means to own an NFT. There are business opportunists who create NFTs from written codes, disregarding the meaning of art creation. For example, the 10000 Lazy Lions NFTs with different combinations of eyes, clothing, and mane are made from randomly generated codes instead of careful craftsmanship from artists.
Another danger is the way we are using NFTs. Before the pandemic, everyone from organizations to influencers jumps on trends trying to chase the cash. For example, agents have produced NFT from past photographs and artwork of the famous deceased to “celebrate” their legacy using them in the NFT market.
Many are predicting this could be the next housing bubble. Has it started to crash? What do you think? Something to consider before purchasing that dancing bear in a tutu.
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We’re hiring! Learn more about what it’s like working for ADP here and our current openings.
Voice of Our People, Career Insights, What We Do
“At ADP, the doors to learning are always open. We work and win as one. All it takes is one’s curiosity to learn.”
My Career Journey: Learn and Grow Together at ADP
Viplove S. is a Senior Architect responsible for Architecture, Standards, Governance, and Talent Management, supporting products for National Accounts Services clients in Hyderabad, India. To him, happiness means spending time with family, giving his best at work, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Outside of technology, Viplove enjoys exercising, singing, dancing, reading, and writing stories. He once walked the entire Manhattan Island length, around 18 miles!
Coming to ADP
Since I stepped into the Information Technology (IT) industry, ADP has been one organization I was always curious about. What appealed to me the most was ADP’s strong focus on people. After fifteen years of working with multiple service organizations, I decided to knock on the door I had walked by all these years. An opportunity to learn about a new industry and its leading products was too exciting for me to pass.
I joined ADP a little over two and a half years ago. As I look back at my enriching journey, two contributory factors stand out: People and Learning. Without People, there would not have been much learning. I have worked with many amazing people in my career, but here at ADP, every day gives me reasons to thank a fellow associate. Whether developers, testers, Site Reliability Engineers (SRE) members, managers, architects, or senior leaders, I am grateful for learning with them every day.
My Career Journey
I initially started as part of the Global Enterprise Technologies & Solutions (GETS) department, which supports IT operations for ADP. The teams I work with are responsible for developing and maintaining 50+ applications used by ADP associates and 100+ integrations among internal ADP systems and external vendors. It is easily one of the most complex systems I have ever worked with, and my job was to transform it digitally. I was fortunate to have people around me who were not only knowledgeable but also extremely helpful.
Two years ago, my team and I moved to the Global Product & Technology (GPT) business unit as part of the Product Development organization that supports large national accounts. For me, this move opened a world of opportunities. My manager helped me seize one of those opportunities. He challenged me to reach beyond my scope of work and help another team. Sometimes, saying “yes” is all it takes.
And it did. That “yes” triggered a domino effect for me. That door opened another, and I worked with multiple product teams across ADP. Because of that, I am proud that my journey has led me to become a Chief Architect for our GPT National Account Services team in India. In this role, I’m responsible for the architecture and quality of ADP’s top products in HR, Payroll, Time, and Talent for our largest clients.
Architect Mentorship Program
Another part of my new responsibilities is helping other associates grow. We recently kicked off an Architect Mentorship program for my business unit, the National Account Services Architect Academy (NASAA). As a part of this program, we shortlisted 11 talented associates who have demonstrated excellence in their projects and aspire to be architects. Each of the mentees is assigned a mentor who is currently in an architect role within the organization. The mentorship is multi-fold:
1) The mentees go through a hand-picked Udemy curriculum that covers the fundamentals of being an architect, the various technologies that support our products, and the soft skills essential for the architect role.
2) Mentee and mentor connect weekly. The mentor guides the mentee on their learning, shares real-world experiences, helps solve problems, provides feedback, and more.
3) The Academy meets monthly where a senior Architect Leader (from outside the business unit) shares their career journey with the mentees and how they solved large-scale business problems.
4) The program culminates with the mentees picking a real-world business problem, working on architectural artifacts to solve it, and presenting their work to senior leaders.
Mentees graduate from the Academy in a grand ceremony. After graduation, they are assigned architectural responsibilities within their projects as on-the-job training. The idea is to produce well-equipped architects through this program within one year. Having benefited hugely from my mentors and colleagues, I am excited and committed to the mentorship program’s success.
Designing for People
ADP has taken giant leaps in its transformation into a Technology company. One of the things that makes it possible is our commitment to people. Domains and technologies are out there for anyone to learn. But the 59,000+ ADPers helping 920K+ clients in more than 140 countries give our company the foundation to stand tall among its competitors. Our network is strong and built on core values, including “Each Person Counts” and “Integrity is Everything.”
Supporting & Learning Culture
At ADP, the doors to learning are always open. If you are curious, nothing can stop you. What makes ADP stand out from the other organizations I have worked with is our culture of “learning and growing together.” Despite being a multi-national company, we don’t have boundaries separating us.
Our excitement and cooperation are the same whether speaking to an associate in India, the U.S., or Europe. We work and win as one. If I need information or to learn something, I can reach out to anyone, whether I’ve worked with them before or not. All it takes is a quick ping on our collaboration platform. We are all connected! All it takes is one’s curiosity to learn.
I’m endlessly excited and curious about our vast HCM industry and all the exciting technologies we use as part of our products. Between that and my ever-helpful colleagues, I keep learning.
ADP Tech, Hyderabad, Integration Architecture, Mentorship, Career Growth
Impact, Innovation, Brazil Labs
We look forward to South Summit Brazil 2023, where top speakers worldwide share their expertise and leaders look for business opportunities.
Porto Alegre: Home to ADP Brazil Labs
Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, is home to one of ADP’s Technology and Innovation labs in the South of Brazil. The city has an estimated population of 1,492,530 (about the population of West Virginia in the U.S.). Known for offering tourism and leisure time, Porto Alegre features several urban parks with green areas that attract those looking to enjoy nature and history.
In 2022, Porto Alegre celebrated its 250th birthday with enthusiasm and vitality. The city is constantly developing and becoming a hub for generating new technology-based businesses and attracting and retaining talent. Join our community to follow our events and what we are developing at the Labs.
May 2022 – South Summit Brazil
The first South Summit Brazil took place in Porto Alegre as the world continued to recover from the global pandemic. The global entrepreneurship and innovation event started in Spain ten years ago and is now an international conference.
The public and private sectors, academics, and other institutions collaborated to make it happen, all contributing to positioning Porto Alegre as a global innovation player. The numbers were awe-inspiring, with 20,000+ visitors representing more than 50 countries, 500 presenters, and 1,000 submissions to the startup competition.
We look forward to South Summit Brazil 2023, where top speakers worldwide share their expertise and leaders look for business opportunities. The summit will take place from March 29 to 31 next year. Learn more about the event here.
Introducing Instituto Caldeira
Instituto Caldeira, also known as the “Boiler Institute,” is a non-profit organization for creativity and communication. The hub provides an opportunity for people to network together to improve the new economy and innovative ecosystem of Porto Alegre and the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
It was founded by forty-two major companies in 2017 that refurbished the old industrial complex for innovation activities and the new economy. The complex still houses the boilers imported from Europe back when prominent businessman AJ Renner started it over 100 years ago!
With only a little over a year of operation, it has already hosted an impressive number of activities. The Boiler comprises more than 22K sqm of space, 42 corporate founders, 330 affiliated companies, 700 startups in the ecosystem, and 15 national and international associated hubs.
ADP Brazil Labs Offsite
In early June, Julio Hartmann, VP of ADP Brazil Labs, and his Senior Leadership Team (SLT) team met for a strategy meeting at Instituto Caldeira. It was an excellent opportunity for the team to get together in person after two years of working remotely. Everyone was impressed with Instituto Caldeira’s structure and the initiatives, looking forward to expanding collaboration in the future.
Julio began the leadership offsite by discussing the content from the Global Product & Technology (GP&T) Leadership Summit. Julio proposed a transformational strategy for the Labs to connect better and leverage the external ecosystem. The plan included presentations from some development leaders about their groups, from Workforce Now (WFN), DataCloud, NextGen (core platforms and Centers of Excellence), and myCareerConnect, to ADP Ventures. There were also presentations about cross-organizational areas and initiatives, such as Product, UX, Agility, Innovation, and the Machine Learning CoE.
Data Science Guild
The Data Scientists from the Brazil Labs worked together in the Data Science Guild, an internal group created in 2018. They meet biweekly to discuss recent papers on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). The meeting helped them share knowledge and work together more effectively, including Data Analysts and Data Engineers from various ADP product teams like Roll, DataCloud, myCareerConnect, WFN, and Marketplace.
Innovation time was a moment for the leaders to think about how the companies stay relevant in the future, reinforcing the innovative culture throughout the labs. The leaders plan to accelerate new opportunities from various sources, including employee ideas, discoveries from client needs, and technological advances.
UX at Brazil Labs
The leaders from ADP Brazil Labs met with the User Experience (UX) team to understand the balance between UX and other areas, including the development concept guided by Triads that gave our digital product development a more organized structure.
The team talked about how the area has been growing quickly in recent years and an overview of team size and the project distribution. The leaders and the team ensured the UX team had the resources for product decision-making.
It was exciting to see the Brazil team’s participation grow within our global UX equation. We grew approximately 150% in the number of projects we participated with even more planned for the future. For example, we launched a local talent strategy and workstreams initiative, aligning with the GPT talent vision and Objectives and key results (OKRs). The positive result has led us to work hard on structuring and supporting our strategies.
Porto Alegre, Instituto Caldeira, Data Science, South Summit, South Summit Porto Alegre
Voice of Our People, Career Advice, Career Insights
“To me, ADP is a tech-first company where innovations are always welcomed and are prioritized first.”
To Boomerang or not to Boomerang: How to Determine if Returning to a Company is the Right Choice?
According to a recent article, The Rise Of Boomerang Employees During 2022, published by Forbes, experts noticed a rising number of boomerang workers—meaning people who left their jobs and are returning to the same company.
We recently met David C., Senior Director of Application Development, at our tech New Hire training and discovered his boomerang story and learned more about his career journey. With more than 20 years of experience in a wide range of technologies, including DevOps Solutions, Datacenter Architecture, Product Architecture, Storage Architecture, Cloud Architecture, virtualization technologies, Active/Active, and Standard Disaster Recovery Solutions, David shares key elements to consider before returning to a company.
Coming to ADP
David’s ADP career began in 2000 when he worked as a consultant in product engineering, installing web-based applications into the hosting center. He had different roles throughout his career and landed in Development, leading MyADP/Mobile DevOps teams.
“I went from analyzing products for installing, building, and testing Disaster Recovery Sites to working for client support, infrastructure, deployment delivery, automating process, and moving to AWS,” David said. “It’s always fulfilling to grow with different teams at ADP!”
His team worked to support production clients and development groups for deployments, delivery, performance, and monitoring, where they tracked the daily health of all environments residing in the hosting centers.
Migrating all our data center from Roseland to Bridgewater in 2002 was a memorable milestone in his career. “I was so proud to receive the President’s Award for growing our data centers to support our products,” David said.
Over the next few years, he worked with more teams and helped launch the MyADP product. David was extremely honored and proud to be nominated for ADP President’s Club hosted in Spain, where they celebrated Sales and IT’s achievement in 2014.
Taking a Turn
David’s career journey took a turn in 2019 when he left ADP to work in DevOps for a bank, supporting more than 150,000 users. The new environment was a growth experience for him.
“I’ve learned about supporting structure, especially crisis management and reliability-related topics in the banking industry,” David said.
A significant difference he noticed between working for a bank and ADP was our environment and emphasis on tech. “I value our focus on tech. To me, ADP is a tech-first company where innovations are always welcomed and are prioritized first,” David said.
It was difficult for him to leave ADP after 19 years, and he’s so glad to be back. “I came back after two years at the bank. The leadership teams at ADP always make me feel included. Friendships and the culture were the biggest reasons I decided to come back,” David said. “The bonds you build at work are irreplaceable.”
Boomerang Self-Assessment Questions
We were curious about David’s decision-making process before he returned and asked him to share some insights.
He gave us these five questions to ask before returning to a previous employer:
1) Why did you leave the company?
2) Has the direction of the company changed since you left?
3) Were you concerned about the company’s previous direction? What were the concerns?
4) What role are you taking when you return? Are you moving to a position you previously couldn’t?
5) Do you see yourself growing in the new position? Does the path lead you to the future you envision?
You might be interested in exploring other good reasons for returning to your former employer. Recommended reading: What to Do When You’re Returning to a Company You Used to Work For by Harvard Business Review.
Returning to ADP
David took a big step by returning, and he’s happy to grow his career within DevOps as they build the infrastructure for automation. When we asked for details on why he returned, he shared with us how amazing it was to see the teams expanding in a great direction. During his two years away, the team continued building a solid support system for clients. Every day was a learning experience through virtual, in-person networking and mentorship.
“As an associate, I enjoy working at an organization where they value each employee, providing guidance and support programs,” David said. “I was especially grateful for ADP’s support in my education. I worked full-time while taking classes online and graduated with an Associate Degree in Business Administration.” The balance between family, work, and personal growth is the foundation for David’s passion as a Senior Director of Application Development at ADP.
Welcome back, David!
Learn more about working at ADP here and our current openings.
Women in STEM, Voice of Our People, Impact
“It’s about receiving guidance from nutrition coaches on maintaining a healthy, personalized diet in life.”
I Became My Own Nutrition Coach
Dan W. is a Principal Data Scientist who supports sales and marketing initiatives across different businesses. Her team provides data insights, builds predictive models, and turns them into actionable information to support business decisions. This is her seventh year working at ADP! Dan came for the opportunity and stayed for the people. As an immigrant from a foreign country, she feels supported and looks forward to inspiring other women technologists with her story.
My ADP journey began in 2015 when I worked as a business intelligence manager in worldwide sales and marketing. I built predictive models and conducted deep analysis supporting all business units. My team then moved to Global Product & Technology (GPT), where I got promoted to my current position as the principal data scientist. I’m always proud to build impactful models for solving real-life business problems.
I’ve come a long way as a woman technologist who became her own certificated nutrition coach.
I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about where to start when it comes to making positive changes for your health. Throughout my journey, I experienced rewarding feelings of finding the healthy mindset and approaches that worked for my body. In this blog, I’ll share my story of how I became a certified nutrition coach.
Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease. I suffered from chronic inflammation and symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Doctors told me I would be on medication for the rest of my life, and the news struck me. I felt defeated and did not want to rely on medicine. After connecting with a friend who teaches pharmacy and a professor who studies nutrition, I received support and learned about what nutrition human bodies need to stay healthy.
It was a long discovery process when I spent time on myself, monitoring both physical and mental health. I am incredibly grateful for my church community and family members who encouraged me to dive deeper into different learning opportunities. I decided to participate in the weight-loss program while enrolling in two nutrition certificate programs.
I first took weekly seminars from NutraMetrix Educational Institute and went through in-person training by health professionals every other year to get recertified. To gain more experience working with different clients’ needs, I completed another two-year Family Wellness Coach program at Whealkon Nutraceutical College and graduated in December 2021.
After hundred hours of training, I became a certified nutrition coach. Not only did this decision change my life, but also it gave me an opportunity to support others in need. As a nutrition coach, I remind myself, my clients, and my family of three best practices to achieve wellness goals:
1) Practice Healthy Eating Habits
Ask yourself: why do you want to achieve these health goals?
The diet changes start in daily behaviors. I help people understand their goals and have conversations beyond exercising and nutrition, including sleep schedules and how they feel about their lifestyles.
2) One Thing at a Time
It’s impossible to see immediate changes overnight. I find asking diet-related questions in systems helpful. As a coach, I switch focuses between the food quality and the quantity of each meal, depending on the client’s health condition.
3) There is No “Best Diet”
Every case is different. My goal is to find what works the best for everyone, making individuals feel strong and healthy based on the diet approach they choose to pursue.
I provided customized wellness coaching and weight management consulting in a family doctor’s clinic before the pandemic. It feels amazing to contribute to the community, including running wellness seminars, hosting 12-week weight loss programs, and providing 1-1 nutritional consultation. I plan to host more in-person events in the future!
In my six years of practice, I encountered patients with common health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. One can overcome these conditions with weight-loss training while maintaining a healthy diet. Coming up with customized nutritional goals for them always brings me joy as I see their health conditions improve, building friendship and support along the way. If you are interested in learning more about what nutrition coaches can do, you may find this article helpful: How are Health Coaches Trained and Certified? Is Hiring a Health Coach Right for You?
Looking back, working as a data scientist has prepared me with essential skills in pursuing nutritional health. The common ground in both roles is excellent communication, efficient negotiation, and customized analysis.
In our current world, we see artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere as people adapt to their digital footprints. It makes our lives easier by speeding up communication across nations and time zones. As a data scientist supporting sales and marketing, I encourage associates to learn teams’ needs and strategically develop a plan to fit those needs. My advice for those new to the field is to focus on gaining experience in analytical and communication skills. They are also essential as I switch roles, working with different groups of people.
I used to be “shy” in starting conversations, but my experience as a data scientist has allowed me to take in stories through a new lens. I practice the same mindset in working as a nutrition coach, stepping out of my comfort zone to conduct health seminars at the clinic. Working with patients has also improved my presentation skills, which I can apply to the tech workforce.
Regarding my health condition, I am happy to say I no longer need medication. I focus on making intelligent decisions in healthy eating behaviors and taking responsibility for my health goals. I am proud of my journey and will continue to help others in need, especially women who suffered from fatigue during the pandemic.
When giving nutrition advice, I am mindful of people’s financial situations. The same thought process applies to working as a data scientist, analyzing circumstances for different clients. Both roles build my confidence in identifying the needs and proposing customized plans after assessing them.
As a data scientist, I compare solutions and propose the best ways to reach business goals in given timelines. Mentoring new data scientists and identifying their needs has been a wonderful experience. I see myself continuing practicing analytical and interpersonal skills in tech and in nutrition coaching, achieving both health and career goals.
Learn more about what it’s like working for ADP here and our current openings.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
“Be creative and trust your solution. Always believe in your idea, work, and team’s dedication.”
GPT Associates Win Big at +Hackathona PUCRS in Brazil
ADP’s Global Hackathon is an exciting time for all ADP associates to be a part of hands-on innovation, no matter where they are. Hackathons serve as a way for participants to dive deep into their creative spirits and innovate in a start-up, sprint-like atmosphere. Beyond ADP, numerous hackathons cover a wide gamut of subjects. Two GPT associates recently shined, coming in second place, at the +Hackathona PUCRS, a 24-hour hackathon in Brazil’s Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) University.
Manoella J., Associate Developer, and Waldyr S., Software Development Intern, partnered on an exciting top-of-mind topic for our products: accessibility. The theme of the event was creating a healthier and more accessible internet. The two focused on mental health and created a browser extension that identifies offensive words and replaces them with their definition, reframing context and reducing negative mental health impacts. We spoke with Manoella and Waldyr to learn more about their experiences participating in Hackathon.
Q: What encouraged you to sign up?
Manoella: I am a student who enjoys problem-solving at PUCRS, and I saw the event’s publicity. As someone who’s always looking for opportunities to innovate, I signed up!
Waldyr: My friends were interested in participating, and we got together to form a team. I hadn’t participated in a Hackathon before, so there was a lot of excitement (and anxiety!).
Q: What was the most difficult part? How did you overcome the challenges?
Manoella: The most challenging part was adapting the extension to change the word on external sites. To overcome this obstacle, we focused on researching bibliographies and collaborating with the IT community to find a possible solution.
Q: How did you feel when you heard that you won the challenge in second place?
Manoella: I was pleased and proud of our team. We worked hard for 24 hours to deliver a well-structured, efficient and viable project. It was great to get recognized for sure!
Waldyr: It was a surprise! Even though we believed in our solution, there are other teams that presented great ideas with great experiences as well. We’ve learned a lot connecting with everyone. On top of that, this was our first time participating in the Hackathon and our results exceeded my own expectations.
Q: How did ADP support your participation throughout the Hackathon?
Manoella: At ADP, I have daily contact with good development practices, code optimization, and code versioning—these helped maintain clean and well-presented code for our team. The Hackathon highlights the value of teamwork for me!
Waldyr: When I joined ADP, I learned about agile methodologies—we use them to organize and divide tasks. By understanding these methods at work, I brought what already knew to Hackathon. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve gotten along the way. Here we are, so glad to share our story with fellow associates!
Q: Participating in Hackathon can be intimidating. What advice do you have for future participants?
Manoella: Be creative and trust your solution. Creativity is essential to developing a solution that draws attention to your project. Always believe in your idea, work, and team’s dedication!
Waldyr: Everyone should try it at least once! It’s quite different from what I imagined, doing it with friends there for the same reason as you. We went to learn, have fun and meet new people—reaching second place was a bonus.
Learn more about working at Brazil Labs and visit Who We Hire.