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Introducing the 3 Key Stages of Global Payroll Implementation

Oct 5, 2017 

In the quest for better business performance, large organizations must continually evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of their operational functions. When the focus is on payroll, their assessments rarely receive high marks.

Take another look, however, and many organizations will find that a transformation in global payroll can create tremendous value for the enterprise. By shifting from a fragmented approach (reliant on legacy systems and multiple disconnected vendors) to a single cloud-based solution, multinational companies can standardize their payroll processes, reduce errors, and achieve vastly higher productivity and efficiency levels over time.

The challenge lies in making that shift.

Payroll affects every employee in a multinational company, and the effectiveness of its operations can have a strong impact on functions ranging from HR and Finance to Business Development and Compliance. With so many stakeholders and considerations involved, organizations must approach global payroll implementation with a multistage approach:

  1. Planning & Preparation
    Building a Business Case, Establishing Scope, and Assembling Resources
  2. Evaluation & Selection
    Setting Objectives, Creating a Shortlist, and Engaging in the RFP Process
  3. Deployment & Onboarding
    Strategizing the Rollout, Maintaining Vendor Alignment, and Training Your Teams

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The First Phase

Much of the overall success of a global payroll transformation hinges on an organization’s initial strategic planning efforts. When companies underestimate the depth, breadth, and impact of change in payroll, they may neglect to perform adequate planning and preparation. As a result, they end up with much longer implementation timelines than would otherwise be necessary.

At minimum, there are three important areas for global companies to cover during the Planning stage. Across each of these areas, answering the right questions upfront will ultimately help organizations minimize disruptions and earn a better return on their global payroll investment.

Building a Business Case

Global payroll transformation begins in earnest only when there is buy-in for change across the organization. Acquiring that support demands a compelling business case – one that showcases the benefits of a new solution for every decision-maker and departmental stakeholder, at every organizational level.

As you build that business case, pay close attention to what each individual or group needs to understand about the value of a new solution.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP wants to know:

  • What problems with the existing approach demand resolution?
  • What are the costs of the existing model? What is the ideal budget for a global solution?
  • What long-term savings or value are achievable with a solution change?

PAYROLL MANAGERS & COUNTRY LEADS want to know:

  • How would a solution change minimize existing payroll challenges?
  • What expectations and responsibilities may change among in-house payroll teams?
  • What resourcing needs will change as a result of a switch?

HR, FINANCE & IT TEAMS want to know:

  • How much time and effort will transformation demand from connected functions?
  • What advantages will it deliver to their departments (i.e., data quality, resource use)?
  • What is the full scope of the implementation project?

Establishing Scope

Understanding the project scope is important for all individuals involved in a payroll implementation. Once your business case has resulted in an approved budget, you can pin down the global scope of your overall change initiative. Asking the following questions can help you determine which countries to onboard to a new global solution:

  • What countries comprise your end-to-end enterprise footprint?
  • How are payrolls being processed in each country?
  • How well have pay cycles in each country been managed to date?
  • Where has the organization experienced compliance gaps or legal penalties? Why?
  • Where has the organization experienced especially high costs? Why?
  • What are the most important issues to each country/region manager?
  • What countries are next on the organization’s expansion list?

Assembling Resources

Before moving to the evaluation phase, organizations should gain a firm understanding of all the individuals, departments, and information that will be working with the new vendor across the scope of the project, spanning all contracted payroll providers, all connected software solutions, and all internal constituencies affected by the implementation. Once you know the answers to the questions below, you can build out a project team and gather all necessary data and documentation.

  • How many payroll vendors is the organization currently working with globally?
  • When do the contracts expire with each provider? What does each contract entail?
  • Who manages the relationships with each provider?
  • What systems and entities house the historical and current data you’ll need to implement a new solution?
  • How available and accessible is that data? Who will need to participate in the project in order to acquire it?
  • How much manual effort will be required to organize your data for implementation?
  • Who will be tasked with organizing your data, and how much time will they need?

By investing the right time and resources in the first phase of your implementation journey, you’ll set both your project and your organization up for success.

Download the complete guide to The 3 Key Stages of Global Payroll Implementation now to explore the next phases and gain valuable tips for your implementation project.


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