The list of reasons to integrate your global payroll and human resource information systems is long and full of promising benefits, but the most basic incentive is to ensure that the two systems are using the same data. Integrated data delivers greater accuracy, improved visibility, process standardization, and more while minimizing risk, time, and cost. With all that potential, it appears integration is an obvious choice. However, it may not be best in every situation.
Beyond deciding whether to integrate, it’s important to assess your organization’s ability to achieve an effective integration. Considering the following three key questions can help everyone involved make the best choice for the future of your business.
1. What Do We Hope To Gain?
From Payroll to HR to Finance to IT, everyone involved in an integration project is likely to have their own goals for it. While it’s probable that the majority of aims will be met, it’s wise to set priorities and ensure everyone is working toward the same end.
A clear and compelling business case for the integration can serve as a helpful guide throughout the process, and the time spent developing the business case is ideal for discussing and prioritizing project goals. To get started, you first need to understand the details of your existing process, including hidden costs and data management procedures. Individuals and teams involved at each step of your payroll and HR processes can highlight pain points, hidden issues, and opportunities for improvement.
Potential benefits of integrating global payroll with your HRIS include standardization of both process and outcome, increased consistency and reliability of data and results, and more comprehensive and useful reporting and analytics. Integration can also lower costs, streamline calendars, and minimize errors. Identifying what matters most to your organization and why will help your project team plan and execute an effective integration.
2. Are We Prepared to Integrate Systems?
Integrating global payroll with your HRIS is a significant undertaking, requiring both time and investment. When considering whether to integrate systems, it’s important to be upfront and candid about your organization’s ability to execute an effective integration.
Do you know the total costs of your current process, including application licenses, processing fees, middle-ware, IT support, and other non-standard costs? Do you understand the specifics of your current data management processes and know which teams and individuals are responsible for what data? Your starting point and end goal should be clear among everyone involved before making a decision to integrate systems.
Finally, few things can influence the success of an integration project more than good project management. An organization’s investment in a project manager, whether internal or through an agency or certified integration, is an indication of their commitment to the project and, as such, deserves proper consideration. If your group isn’t ready or able to invest in a skilled, dedicated project manager, the truth is it may not be ready to take on an integration.
3. Is The Timing Right For An Integration Project?
The case could be made that it’s always a good time to integrate your systems, but in truth, timing is key to achieving an effective integration. Any major system or process change requires resources and commitment, and one without the other is not enough.
Resource management is key, so it’s important to understand the availability of the individuals and teams who would be involved in the change project. Depending on the anticipated duration of the project and whether it’s a phased approach, people’s availability may change considerably throughout the process, perhaps due to the nature of their job or to a more significant change such as a restructuring or acquisition.
It’s important to consider other needs or developments at a company level. If your organization is planning to expand into a new market, it might not be the time to add an integration to people’s workload. Competing priorities can also shake people’s commitment or simply distract them from the project. Looking ahead at larger company initiatives and objectives can help you plan an integration when you have the best chance for success.
Integrating payroll and HR is a key strategic step toward gaining the most from both systems and the valuable data they contain. Even more strategic is ensuring your company's ability and readiness for the integration before embarking on such an important project. Asking these questions can help set up your payroll and HR teams for an effective integration that will benefit your organization well into the future.
A version of this story was originally written for GPMI.