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5 considerations when integrating global payroll in the cloud

Apr 20, 2016 

In a recent blog post, we looked at the significant opportunities created by integrating payroll systems with HR, and how doing so in the Cloud makes it much easier and possible in a shorter time frame. This post explores some of the key areas you need to consider.

Cloud integration covers a number of approaches. These include pre-built APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) developed by vendors for solutions that commonly work together; as well as platform integration tools, such as iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service), that enable users to develop custom integrations.

These approaches make integration with Cloud-based and on-premise solutions simpler, quicker, more robust and cost effective than many of the traditional, more expensive approaches.

But just because integrations can be achieved more quickly in the Cloud, it doesn’t mean they should be approached in a haphazard fashion. Integrations should always be strategic and carefully considered to avoid complexity and unnecessary costs over the longer term.

 

5 key considerations

There’s no doubt that Cloud integration tools are growing in popularity. But, while there are many pros of using the Cloud to bring together your hybrid mix of global payroll systems and other HR & finance systems, it’s important not to just integrate as and when the need arises. Strategy, rather than pragmatism, wins the day when it comes to the integration of global payroll with other business software.

So, when evaluating a specific integration requirement for your wider strategy, here are 5 key areas to consider:

  1. Global payroll processes: Integrations are designed to streamline your business processes - but over time, the continual creation of individual interfaces can actually make your processes more complex. So make sure your integration strategy is always focused on simplifying your global payroll processes, not complicating them.
  2. Future software updates or changes: Updates or changes made to payroll or HR software may mean that you’ll need to re-write interfaces, so ensuring you’re on top of any planned updates is essential.
  3. Cloud integration tool selection: Choosing the right tool to suit your needs is critical to minimize your cost of ownership, while ensuring you can execute your integration projects when required. Consider things such as skills (in-house or a partner), which tools have been used for similar integrations, what ‘properly-built’ APIs already exist, what methodology best fits your organization and so on.
  4. Data prioritization: With the new possibilities of integrating global payroll and HR systems, it’s tempting to bring in more data into the your core system of record. But it’s likely to complicate rather than improve things if you bring in all of your global payroll data (both central and local data). While essential for running payroll, much of the data won’t be necessary for most other activities, like HR reporting. So, identify the subset of data that will really add value and determine how this fits with your wider integration strategy.
  5. Data privacy and country-specific requirements: Depending on the countries in scope, there are potentially going to be changing local legislative, regulatory and data privacy issues to consider. So, ensure you’ve thoroughly investigated and looked ahead at these areas before defining your integration project.

 

Phased delivery through the Cloud

Leveraging the flexibility of the Cloud to execute your system integration projects not only cuts costs and the time to value, it also facilitates the possibility for a phased deployment of global payroll.

Another key benefit here is the opportunity it presents to consolidate payroll vendors over a period of time, but doing so through a far less risky process. You can retain your highest-performing providers, while allowing other contracts to run their course before rolling out a new solution with your preferred partner/s.

Ultimately, your competitive advantage will only come from successfully integrating Cloud-based applications, on-premise software and mobile solutions with global HR and payroll service delivery – but to do so without a well thought-out plan is fraught with risk.

As the technology evolves, more and more hybrid integration opportunities will emerge. And when it comes to integration trends, there is no doubt the trajectory is headed fast toward the Cloud. However, an incremental approach still requires a carefully defined long-term roadmap with your specific goals, requirements and milestones all mapped out.


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