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Sage Payroll and HR Software Review


In terms of server platforms, Sage HRMS supports Microsoft Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, and also the DBMS platforms of MS SQL Server, MySQL, and Visual FoxPro. For object/data stream exposure (for integration) the system uses a SOAP-based Application Program Interface (API) and a Common Object Model (COM) API. (See below for more details of the system’s integration capabilities). For data entry, data queries, flow control, batching, Single Sign On (SSO), discoverability, and metadata, Sage Data (or ‘Sdata’) is utilized.

System Integration Capabilities

Unsurprisingly from a company with more than 230 products in its brochure, integration and inter-system partnerships are a priority for Sage. Partly due to the nature of the data, the integration and data sharing between the payroll and HR functions of the system is, as you might expect, seamless, as is integration with other Sage ERP areas such as Financials (including GL) and Timekeeping. Similarly, the payroll and HR software easily links up with other third-party systems (two of the most common and well-known being ADP and Kronos) and has an easily leveraged interface with third-party learning management systems. For further payroll-related functionality, add-on modules for employee benefit administration and enrollment are available and integration with payroll, HR, and employee self-service is , not to overuse the word, seamless. As to solutions not already supported, any solution that a client wishes the system to integrate with can be supported by using the application's integrated tools (discussed in more depth below).

Software Customization Capabilities

For workflow customization, integration, and business intelligence, Sage HRMS incorporates a number of useful tools and facilities, as follows:

  • HR Actions - one of the ‘endorsed solutions’ listed above, Delphia Consulting’s HR Actions is a paperless workflow tool allowing transmission of documents and information in line with pre-defined business processes in a paperless environment. In essence, this is the unseen engine powering virtually all of the manager-initiated transactions that pass through the manager self-service (MSS) module; and also acts as a data collection and clearing-house in response to input into ESS (employee self-service) forms. Containing over 400 configurable fields, the easy-to-use form builder operates with a wizard-driven interface to facilitate the creation of whatever self-service forms the client needs. HR Actions' workflow engine allows definition of business rules to determine the approvals required, the sequence of the approval chain and provides a detailed audit trail for each form routed for approval.
  • Sage OrgPlus - this organizational charting tool enables the creation of hierarchal relationship models. Key functionality includes: automatic chart creation (via a direct link directly to the Sage HRMS database); data management and organizational scenario planning (via data spreadsheet functions and links to other employee-related information files); a suite of business planning tools enabling the creation of "what-if" business scenarios by managers with dynamic drag-and-drop chart-building functionality; definition of email distribution lists by organization chart resulting in automatic email distribution of structure additions, changes, and vacant positions; a tree panel reorganization facility for quick addition, deletion, and editing of records without onerous navigation; and the ability to customize charts for maximum visual impact using either predefined templates or wholly customer-designed themes.
  • Sage KnowledgeSync - another ‘endorsed solution’, this application from VineyardSoft acts as Sage HRMS’s intelligent workflow and business process automation tool. Supporting Microsoft Exchange (Outlook) email, Internet (SMTP), and Lotus Notes Mail for both alerts and monitoring of incoming email messages, KnowledgeSync is able to match email/web info with contact records in Sage applications—updating contacts with email details, scheduling follow-ups, and creating accounts, contacts, leads, and transactions based on content received. Unlike similar tools on the market, KnowledgeSync’s interface is wizard-based and can be utilized by users without programming or SQL experience, offering simple, step-by-step instructions for event design, trigger definitions, and notification messages. Similar to HR Actions, KnowledgeSync provides a complete event audit trail, even where the workflows involve several, integrated applications or multiple Sage databases.

The Sage KnowledgeSync application also takes care of groupware integration by linking up with numerous email technologies (including Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes). However, this application offers nothing in the way of contacts, calendar appointments, and task syncing. That said, future product roadmaps suggest that this functionality is only a matter of time.

In addition to the customization possibilities afforded by these powerful tools, users are able to customize the Sage payroll and HR user interface (UI) via a number of configuration options to add organizational branding. However, Sage classifies such customization as an ‘upgrade-worthy’ change and only clients accessing the "Select" package can customize fields, screens, and dashboards.

As a final note on the issue of customization, Sage HRMS does not use a multi-tenant database architecture, and similarly doesn't offer Platform as a Service (PaaS) tools to support software customization in cloud or typical Software as a Service (SaaS) environments—where software customization is performed within the constructs of multi-tenant architectures and provisioned within layers of abstraction between data logic and application logic so as to not impact frequent release iterations and upgrades.

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