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Micah Fairchild Analyst Martin Schneider Talks HR & Payroll Technologies

3 stars Average rating: 3 (from 12 votes)
 By Chuck Schaeffer

Thought Leader Podcast Series

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The Payroll Software Impact from Cloud, Social, Mobile & Big Data Disruptive Technologies
Martin Schneider In this podcast discussion with analyst Martin Schneider, Research Manager of Enterprise Software at 451 Research, we explore how next generation and disruptive technologies such as the cloud, SaaS, social, mobile, and analytics are providing new opportunities for HR, payroll and business leaders, and impacting HCM, HR and payroll software applications.

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31 minutes, 50 seconds (31:50)


Key take away points in the HR & Payroll technology discussion with Martin Schneider:

  • The HR and payroll software industries continue to accelerate Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud and remotely delivered HCM, HR and payroll software solutions. HR and payroll software publishers are now delivering much simpler cloud HCM applications that may be procured and deployed without IT dependence. Cloud Payroll & HR are no longer a new and novel concept, and more mature business software applications have stabilized while implementation and operational risks have declined.
  • Small and midsize businesses (SMB) are leading in cloud HR and payroll software adoption, in large part because these smaller companies are not sitting on large sunk cost legacy systems. Cloud HR solutions also deliver benefits important to SMBs such as payroll software that is faster to deploy, simpler to operate, scalable on demand, less costly (particularly as IT resources are not required) and enables predictable IT investments.
  • A number of global enterprise software providers have procured their way into the cloud HR & payroll applications market. For example, SAP acquired SuccessFactors, Oracle acquired Taleo and Salesforce.com acquired Rypple. These cloud HR technology acquisitions suggest that the HR and payroll software technology market is growing and will become more competitive.
  • There are many HR and payroll services well suited for web delivery, such as employee self-service, manager self-service and learning & development. For many businesses, new cloud HR solutions act as stepping stones toward broader cloud HR adoption. Many Human Resources and payroll departments are acquiring SaaS HCM solutions for discrete components, and then expanding their use of cloud HR over time.
  • Payroll processing software is following a slightly different path in terms of transitioning to the cloud. While the advantages of cloud payroll services delivery are largely the same as they are for HR – and include benefits such as accelerated deployments, faster time to value, software ease of use, more frequent software releases, more business agility, a return to focus on core competencies, on demand scalability, lower acquisition costs and many times lower total cost of ownership (TCO) – even with those advantages, many businesses find themselves with a significant sunk cost investment in on-premise legacy payroll systems and no overwhelming requirement to make a change. SaaS or cloud payroll software adoption is in large part being influenced by company size, with SMB's acquiring cloud payroll systems at an increased pace, while larger companies attempt to maximize their prior legacy systems investments before making a change to a new technology. To aid these larger enterprise companies which see the advantages of cloud HR but are in no hurry to replace their existing on-premise payroll software investments, many payroll software publishers are offering cloud software add-ons and extensions which effectively creates a hybrid delivery model and allows companies to incrementally adopt cloud payroll and HR solutions.
  • HR, payroll and business leaders are increasingly incorporating aspects of social media for social HR and social business initiatives. As an example, managers are reviewing social networks in order to see which employees are responsible for creating customer advocates or earning favorable customer comments, reviews or even Likes for the company Facebook page, thereby gaining new and highly relevant performance measurement feedback that can identify a company's unsung heros. Customer response in these social network channels can also be effectively included into more dynamic and meaningful performance reviews, and offer an additional source to recognize and reward talent and performance.
  • In a manner similar to the way social consumers and customers accelerated the need for businesses to adopt social CRM strategies and technologies, we're now seeing employees acting as the catalysts for companies to adopt social HR technologies (rather than the companies themselves being the source of innovation). The rise of millennials and the next generation of workers understand the communication, collaboration and productivity benefits of social media in their personal lives, and expect similar capabilities in their work lives. Smart companies are using social HR for recruitment in order to reach candidates where they live, but are also going much further, by including social HR capabilities in the company culture and operations (for key functions such as recruitment, workforce management, employee and manager self-service, learning & development, and more) for staff satisfaction and business benefits.
  • Mobile HR applications are becoming the gateway for the knowledge worker of the future. With any time, any where, any device access and flexibility, mobile applications are increasingly achieving both higher employee satisfaction and productivity.
  • Mobile Payroll & HR applications are incurring a transition from first generation to second generation apps, where these newer mobile apps are purpose built to take advantage of specific mobile devices and operating systems. The improvements result in better utility and a more rewarding user experience. But now the next generation of mobile HR applications is underway with HR and payroll software publishers delivering mobile applications using HTML5. This newer presentation layer technology is designed for cross-device and cross-browser compatibility, as well as enable the software publishers to create a single mobile HR application that then runs on all or most mobile devices (i.e. write once, run everywhere), including tablets. Whether HTML5 HR mobile applications will achieve ubiquity without lessening utility and user experience remains unclear.
  • Big data and more accessible business intelligence applications are also seeing increased adoption by HR and payroll leaders. From an information analysis perspective, traditional business intelligence tools have been largely used for internal and structured data, in an arbitrary manner, to deliver rigid, structured and often generic performance metrics. While HR and payroll systems generate significant structured data, there are massive volumes of unstructured data online, such as in social networks. Big data tools and technologies are now offered through the cloud, more quickly deployed, more affordable and easier to use, thereby allowing HR and payroll managers to harness more data to make more informed HR and payroll decisions. In fact, many HR managers testify that adding new unstructured data doesn't just increase the size of the data pool, but also delivers more insightful data that aids more qualitative analysis.
  • It's important to not consider disruptive technologies individually, but rather understand the symbiotic effect available when integrating all four disruptive technology shifts—cloud, social, mobile and big data—as all four are converging in near parallel paths. Viewing these emerging technologies holistically offers a more significant business opportunity for innovative HR and business leaders to leverage these technologies in a broad and synergistic fashion. End


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Big data solutions are doing some really interesting things in leveling the playing field with Software as a Service and cloud models.

— Martin Schneider, Research Manager


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