What is Rippling?

Written by Brandon White on August 22, 2020

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Rippling is a software provider that enables smaller organizations with a combined platform for HR, payroll, benefits, and basic IT administration. They recently raised $145M in funding, naturally drawing the attention of the business community. 

So, what benefits does Rippling offer organizations? Who can gain from their offering that has clearly been deemed valuable by Silicon Valley investors? We’ll get into all of that and more.

Rippling’s Value to Very Small Organizations

Founded by Parker Conrad, previously the founder of Zenefits, Rippling aims to help very small business owners streamline the hassle of managing HR and IT. For SMBs, HR and IT needs can be relatively low. Yet, there’s work to be done, and it often becomes tedious for a business owner to manage either of these functions. Rippling’s target organizations often don’t have an IT admin or HR person. The result is that the burden to manage these issues falls to the business owner.

What is the main value that Rippling provides? Rippling allows very small business owners to input their employee’s data into their point tool to run payroll and benefits, as well as order technology like laptops and software. Small business owners can then save time by managing their employee’s needs in one spot and force their end users to update data rather than needing to track it down themselves.

Where’s the money going? The up front pricing of Rippling is the software, which starts at $8 per month, per user. However, customers also pay fees on payroll service and benefits. In cases where small businesses want to purchase their hardware and software through Rippling, they can do so, and Rippling will take a cut of those payments. Adding up all of the services and fees, it can be a hefty sum.

Should You Combine HR and IT?

The concept of combining HR and IT has existed since the time there were networks and line-of-business applications. Even enterprise-class organizations such as Workday and Okta have flirted with the concepts of combining the functions of HR and IT. Others such as BambooHR and Namely have integrations — and, of course, organizations such as Zenefits and Gusto also target their approaches to benefits and HR for small businesses.

The concept works well in a very small organization where the owner is responsible for both the HR and IT functions. Here are the main reasons this might work for your organization:

  • Your organization is 10 people or fewer
  • The owner is in charge of IT and HR
  • You’re willing to sacrifice some in-depth features in favor of one point tool to cover both areas
  • You’re not expecting imminent growth

The main limiting factor in what kinds of organizations will most benefit from Rippling is headcount. Even with double-digit personnel, the IT and HR needs become more unwieldy for a single tool and end up requiring their own, purpose-built software often spurred by the hiring of people to take on either the HR or IT functions.

Plus, as organizations grow, their processes and approaches evolve to be more customized to their specific needs and industry. These changes often require sophisticated software and flexible solutions to customize workflows. Organizations often require more complex healthcare, insurance, and payroll services as they mature, so they’ll seek out pure play providers that can better meet their needs. 

A great example of this is Workato’s case study of Grab and their integration of separate, best-of-breed HR and IT systems. As a fast-rising startup, Grab had already invested in IT and HR technology (JumpCloud and Workday, respectively) to support their full needs. When they wanted to integrate these systems to increase efficiency, the answer was using Workato as the bridge to their two advanced systems.

Even if your organization is currently under that 10-person line, another factor to consider is projected growth. HR and IT are both critical to scale an organization. As such, it might be beneficial to see Grab as a model for how to approach your HR and IT technology. If you set up technology that can support you in all phases of growth, you’ll be prepared for ongoing success.

Final Thoughts

For very small businesses that aren’t intent on growing significantly, Rippling may be just what they need. With Rippling’s dramatic influx of capital, it seems as though some Silicon Valley investors do believe that this combined HR and IT software solution for a certain target segment has merit.

For those organizations with more sophisticated IT needs like Grab, solutions such as JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service® end up being a strong option for both identity and device management. The cloud directory platform can integrate with a variety of different HR solutions, including Workday, to give IT admins flexibility of choice in their HR, benefits, and payroll services. This may be especially relevant to those organizations that are growing, have international operations, or just have more sophisticated needs.

To learn more about the HR and IT spaces and how you can drive optimal workflows, get a demo of JumpCloud to learn more. You can even sign up for a JumpCloud Free account, which enables you to use the full platform’s functionality and manage 10 users and 10 systems free forever. If you need a hand in getting started, we offer 10 days of 24×7 premium in-app chat support. We don’t even ask for a credit card.

Brandon White

Brandon is an enthusiast, solutionist, and JumpCloud’s Technical Evangelist, active in journalism and IT in cities across the US for over 25 years. Pick his brain on Slack in the JumpCloud Lounge: http://ow.ly/seTs30qO7WX

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